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Chatham County Line gets wild

By Brian Baker, July 2010

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It's a big enough challenge for a band to work side by side with a producer, but that challenge becomes more complex when the producer is also a member of the group. Wilson was forced into the duality of being on the inside and the outside of Chatham County Line simultaneously, but he came through the process relatively unscathed and with a great album under his arm.

"It was probably the little judgment calls on which take to use," says Wilson of his biggest production dilemma. "I'm not as objective about my voice so, listening back at the end, choosing which take was best, I really had to try to step outside myself and listen as an impartial listener. But I understood how the process worked, So, we just kind of motored through it."

There might also have been the possibility that the rest of the band would not respond to Wilson in his role as producer, but he notes that his band mates have had more than enough experience with him in similar circumstances, so that was not much of a concern.

"I'm pretty much a control freak anyway, so it was just an extension of that," says Wilson with a laugh. "I feel really lucky because all of the guys have great tendencies when they play and most of their natural instincts are correct. And there wasn't a new Hitler in the control room, it was the same old me."

From the safe distance of the completion of "Wildwood," Wilson is distinctly proud of the hard work that he and Chatham County Line expended on their songs and the results they achieved as a result. He's also pleased that they relied on themselves and not technology to get exactly what they wanted for "Wildwood."

"One of the biggest challenges was that we really wanted to cut it live, as if we really had a handle on what we were doing," says Wilson. "We're not studio musicians. We can't just go in there and bust out the perfect take, and we didn't want to do a bunch of ProTools editing on people's individual parts. So we decided to keep everything that happened at a moment in time, so everything is pretty much live."

Part of Chatham County Line's long production process involved re-recording the album over and over again and then sitting down and dissecting the end product. That diligence really paid off on "Wildwood," an album that stands with the best work CCL has done to date.

"Before we went in to record, we basically spent weeks making fake records of the same songs and listening back and making decisions. It was a long pre-production process. If you think about a piece of artwork and people putting hours and hours and dedicating themselves to a single painting, and we felt like we wanted to give our audience the same dedication with this record and not have it be some cast-off songs or throwaway stuff from playing on a street corner. We wanted it to be as solid as we could make it with four guys."

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