Friday, November 6, 2009

20 Days in November - Day 1: Chatham County Line

There is a really great music schedule in the Northern Virginia\Washington DC area this month, and as a result, we are attempting to see a live performance each day until we head out of town for Thanksgiving. Our first stop is to local Jammin' Java to see Raleigh based Chatham County Line - as they swing through the east coast. I knew it was a wise choice as soon as I pulled into the parking lot and couldn't find a space. Yes, the venue was crowded - hadn't seen this many people at Jammin' Java in quite a while. Now Chatham County Line is profiled as a bluegrass band, but by the end of the night I concluded that designation resulted from the fact that they play instruments associated with bluegrass. But there's some roots, blues, folk and a hint of alt-country in their repertoire - plus the occasional stomp - that jolts your attention. What's also quite unique about the band is that they situate themselves on stage surrounding an old-school microphone - something you'd see at a 1950's radio show. This positioning really produces a tight sound - figuratively and literally; particularly the harmonies from mandolinist and fiddler John Teer. Rounding out the band are Chandler Holt on banjo and Greg Readling on upright bass. Dave Wilson fronts the band and does most of the songwriting and tonight he introduced a few new songs - some without names. Next week they head to the studio to start recording. Of their previous material, "Carolinian", "Birmingham Jail", and "Country Boy/City Boy", all from IV, were my favorites - with "Birmingham Jail" telling a vividly gripping story. Let's hope their 5th album will be as good as IV. It was also nice to get out and attend a show populated with other music lovers. Tomorrow night - The Infamous Stringdusters at Iota.

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