An Interview with David Crowder

During a busy summer, Worship Leader’s Alex MacDougall  was able to catch up with David Crowder. Winding up the “American Prodigal” tour, Crowder has been in studio recording the next project, due for release in November.

Worship Leader (WL): We haven’t seen each other since the National Worship Leader Conference back in May.  Thanks again so much for helping out, and for your willingness to participate on panels and in workshops, and of course, leading worship.

Crowder: We were really glad to be there, and we had a good time. People were great there.

WL:  The Fall issue of Worship Leader focuses on the topic of ”tradition”.  How has tradition shaped your music and how has it shaped you as a person?

Crowder:  That’s a great question.  One of the things when I heard that word immediately I thought, my mom.  I don’t think she quite comprehends what tradition means because every year at Christmas time she says, “We are starting a new tradition this year”.  But then the next year we don’t do it. (laughs). My mom is the sweetest, so I hate to kind of poke at her. Tradition has to be something established and that continues, and that we can remember. What I’m trying to do with my music, even though I’ve borrowed from Southern Gospel or Gospel in chord forms, is to make sure that we’re comfortable enough and we have handles. And we know what we’re getting into but at the same time bringing something that is current and maybe even outside of our Christian music traditions. So that would be my understanding of tradition and how it’s been helpful to my music.

WL:  And that leads into my next question. Has leaving the David Crowder Band connected you to stronger ties within the great traditions of Americana Music? Did you grow up listening to classic bluegrass and country in your home?

WL:  Tell us about the new project.

Crowder:  This is the third installment of my “solo” recordings, and I’ve had three projects to “say” something. I was really trying to tell the story of home, and how our displacement began.  Our story is trying to get back into communing with our maker. And I was using a prodigal story to tell that.  I first talked about it in a very big, “zoom out Google maps” way.  And then a little more kind of personal direct prodigal.  This record is called,

I Know A Ghost. I grew up with a Texarkana Southern Baptist upbringing. However, my parents were always chasing wherever the Holy Spirit was active, and so I had a very eclectic upbringing in the church.

If you say “Holy Spirit” people outside of the church get a little uncomfortable. But when you say,“Holy Ghost”, there’s this historic aspect that’s got a non-threatening dynamic to it. So basically, this is the storyline: Jesus died in front of his friends, and then jumps back out of the ground in front of his friends. And then says, hey, I’m going to jet, but I’m going to leave my ghost for you. I’m going to haunt you. (LAUGH) I’m going to haunt the church. And that’s going to be your comfort. Recorded in Atlanta, I Know A Ghost has a definite urban feel.  It has more hip-hop in its underpinnings, and so I’m very excited. And then, of course, I can’t help it but I’m doing it with a banjo and a fiddle, and a mandolin over the top of the music.


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