Black Music Matters Festival

Chatham County Line

IV – 2008 (Yep Roc)

Reviewed by Jessica Phillips

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CDs by Chatham County Line

Since their self-titled debut album released in 2003, Chatham County Line has blurred the lines between bluegrass, folk, rock and Americana. On their latest, the group joins a host of artists intent on incorporating new sounds into bluegrass. Chatham County Line shows that they are influenced as much by folk legend Bob Dylan and rockers The Band as Bill Monroe and the Stanley Brothers.

"Chip of a Star" features some of the most melodic hooks on the album. The lyrics are a bit nonsensical and Dave Wilson's lead vocals occasionally echo Five for Fighting's John Ondrasik, but it's a nice opener overall.

"The Carolinian" is easily one of the best and most traditional cuts. The song's catchy folk melody and simple yet poignant lyrics tell a story of love and longing on a train bound for Carolina.

"Let It Rock," with its bluesy and relaxed groove, is another standout. John Teer's mandolin serves as the main percussion here, while Chandler Holt's banjo line replaces a traditional guitar solo.

"Clear Blue Sky," "I Got Worry," the darkly intense "Birmingham Jail" and the aching "One More Minute" are also worthy.

Produced by Chris Stamey, "IV," ushers in new ambience to the CCL sound. While not all the songs are gems, there are more hits than misses.