Chatham County Line

Chatham County Line

4.0 1
by Chatham County Line
     
 
Whereas the majority of contemporary bluegrass albums are cleaned up and refined to the point of sounding a little sterile, on their self-titled debut, Chatham County Line demonstrate the importance of a warm and organic recording environment and how it leads to a naturally soulful end result. Centered around a single microphone,

Overview

Whereas the majority of contemporary bluegrass albums are cleaned up and refined to the point of sounding a little sterile, on their self-titled debut, Chatham County Line demonstrate the importance of a warm and organic recording environment and how it leads to a naturally soulful end result. Centered around a single microphone, the band plays acoustic bluegrass instruments in the traditional style, but there's a sly wink in the music -- like in the trunk of their 1946 Nash Rambler there may be some Lynyrd Skynyrd and Allman Brothers records underneath the Bill Monroe and Flatt & Scruggs LPs. Any nods to rock & roll are successfully stifled in their songwriting though, as the band specializes in purely honest and irony-free honky tonk bluegrass, earnestly sung and expertly picked as if "marketing strategies" and "the 18-24 demographic" never existed. In fact, if the sound quality weren't so terrific, it would be easy to convince any of the O Brother, Where Art Thou neophytes that this in fact is a lost recording of Jimmy Martin jamming with the Osborne Brothers backstage at the 1967 Bean Blossom Festival. The tearfully beautiful "WSM (650)" recounts vocalist Dave Wilson's childhood memories of growin' up poor with only the light from the Grand Ole Opry coming through his family's old RCA radio to keep him warm. While the subject could seem trite or even mocking, the band's reverence for the institution of old Nashville and the memories of childhood keep the song faithful to the writer's intentions. Similarly, the epic story-song "Song for John Hartford" is not only a passionate tribute to the fiddle player, but contains enough historical information that it should be taught to third-graders along with story problems and the names of the planets. Other highlights include the mouth-watering "Bacon in the Skillet," the pleading "Sightseeing," guaranteed to get any man out of the doghouse, a reverent cover of Bob Dylan's "I Shall Be Released," and damn near every other track on the record. The album falls into the category of "carpet music" because it is wall-to-wall good, covering everything from beginning to end with no marks where the seams meet and no holes in the weave -- just a solid, beautiful collection of terrific songs and equally terrific performances.

Product Details

Release Date:
01/06/2009
Label:
Yep Roc Records
UPC:
0634457219922
catalogNumber:
2199
Rank:
124853

Related Subjects

Tracks

Album Credits

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

Chatham County Line 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Total Playing Time - 52:22 -- Chatham County Line is a Raleigh, N.C. bluegrass quartet that brings a refreshing sound to the genre, largely as a result of guitarist Dave Wilson's lead vocals and prolific songwriting. A strong and energetic contemporary folk-inspired influence permeates this project. Besides Wilson, the group includes John Teer (fiddle, mandolin, vocals), Chandler Holt (banjo, vocals), and Ned DuRant (bass, vocals). Besides picking bluegrass, Wilson also plays electric lead guitar for Tift Merritt and the Carbines. Multi-instrumentalist John Teer, who's been playing fiddle since age three, has also played electric guitar (with Thad Cockrell and the Starlite Country Band). With his custom Nechville banjo, Chandler Holt provides some solid 5-string work on this album. Ned DuRant bought his first electric bass at the age of fourteen and has performed in a variety of bands. Their diverse musical backgrounds are clearly reflected in this young band's modernistic approach to bluegrass, and their desire to break down some of the barriers between folk, country and bluegrass genres. Guests include Greg Readling (accordion, piano), Tift Merritt (vocals on two cuts), and Lynn Blakey (vocals on one cut). Wilson's songs tell of hobos, pretty women, trains, the delights of home, and he even sings a self-penned tribute to JohnHartford. Lyrics are included in the album's jacket. "Sightseeing" and "Bacon in the Skillet" are personal favorites with their uptempo bluegrass feel. With "Brings My Tears," Wilson also writes a murder ballad with a contemporary perspective and sound. For their debut, Chatham County Line chose to record their music together, live in the studio, with minimal overdubbing of the fiddle on some cuts. Wilson penned ten of the cuts, and Teer and DuRant contribute one apiece (the instrumental "Butterwheel" and train song "Legend of Old 99," respectively). The band also covers Bob Dylan's "I Shall Be Released." Chatham County Line presents their music with a lot of attitude and exuberance, and this "minimalist, live-in-the-studio" debut should win them a multitude of fans. Bands like C.C.L. are youthifying bluegrass, livening the music up a bit. With a few more years of experience, and a quality studio project also under their belts, Chatham County Line will really go places. (Joe Ross, staff writer, Bluegrass Now)