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Album Review

Chatham County Line's second trip to the well proves to be just as refreshing as their first. Route 23 travels the same dusty back roads in the same open-top convertible, singing harmony-filled acoustic bluegrass songs that would do Bill Monroe proud. Recorded primarily around one microphone by producer Chris Stamey, the group croons and stomps with an authenticity that belies their young age. The mournful title track serves as an early highlight, with songwriter and vocalist Dave Wilson recalling the feeling of his own father's hardware store (here transposed to a service station) being left behind after the State re-routed the highway away from his place of business. This theme of a lost yesteryear knits its way through the entire album, carried by freight trains, reenacted in gunfights, and preached from the pulpit. Bright banjos and mandolins ring across these tracks, punctuated by the band's now-trademark harmonies and decidedly lo-fi studio techniques, making for a warm journey back through winding roads and Philco radios.


Formed: 1999 in Raleigh, NC

Genre: Country

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Merging a traditional bluegrass sound and first-class picking with pithy songwriting that often confronts personal issues and political matters head on, Chatham County Line are a North Carolina foursome who first came together in 1999. In the mid-'90s, guitarist Dave Wilson was a member of a country-rock band called Stillhouse, whose sound merged Gram Parsons and Neil Young, when he met Greg Readling, a pedal steel player who could also handle upright bass. Both were interested in the possibility...
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Route 23, Chatham County Line
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