Black Music Matters Festival

Chatham County Line

Route 23 – 2005 (Yep Roc)

Reviewed by Kevin Oliver

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CDs by Chatham County Line

On their second album, Raleigh, N.C.-based band Chatham County Line solidifies its reputation for authentic bluegrass sounds with a youthful energy that comes from being a part of the vibrant North Carolina Triangle music scene.

In fact, except for the music contained inside, this disc could have come from any given Carolina indie-rock band. With production by Chris Stamey, ex-Whiskeytowner Caitlin Cary and ex-Let's Active legend Mitch Easter also popping up in the credits, it is a bit of a shock when the quartet comes out with a hardcore bluegrass track like "Dark Clouds" that wouldn't sound out of place on a Del McCoury Band album. It's their live shows that provide the group's bluegrass bona fides, as they subscribe to the same one-mike technique that has made McCoury and family such riveting performers.

The strength of CCL's repertoire lies in the story songs from guitarist Dave Wilson, whose sweet lead vocals fall between early Dylan and recent Kevin Kinney - about the same territory that tales like, "Route 23" travel through on their way to an ever-widening state of modern bluegrass.