Chatham County Line - Wildwood
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Wildwood (Yep Roc, 2010)

Chatham County Line

Reviewed by Kevin Oliver

Never a pure bluegrass act, North Carolina's Chatham County Line have yet to totally forsake their roots in the music of Bill Monroe, either. The band's strength has always been that it records compelling contemporary tunes in a timeless style that appeals to listeners young and old; this latest set of songs continues that trend, echoing the folk and roots side of everyone from Bob Dylan to Uncle Tupelo.

Ringing In My Ears, for example, is a clever Dylanesque run-through of lyrics from a litany of pop and country hits, while The Ghost of Woody Guthrie takes the Bob theme all the way back to its precursor and inspiration.

Dave Wilson isn't the greatest singer in the world, but it is his imperfect tenor that lends the band some traditionalist heft; add in the rest of the group and the tight vocal harmonies on songs such as the gorgeous title cut would be the envy of many a young bluegrass act.

Songs such as Out of the Running are no Stanley or Monroe retreads, but with this album, Chatham County Line have managed to keep the spirit of those patriarchs alive in their music while picking their own path through the wildwood to that place where great American bands grow.

CDs by Chatham County Line

Strange Fascination, 2020 Share the Covers, 2019 Tightrope, 2014 Wildwood, 2010 IV, 2008 Speed of the Whippoorwill, 2006 Route 23, 2005

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