Release Date: Sep 2, 2016
Record label: Yep Roc
Genre(s): Bluegrass, Country, Folk, Alt-Country, Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Contemporary Bluegrass
Chatham County Line are often openers for the Avett Brothers, and it’s no wonder considering that the two bands have much in common when it comes down to it: both hail from North Carolina and both took the early bluegrass, country, and folk stars of the 1900s music into consideration when developing their initial sounds and finding their first inspirations. This writer in particular was able to see the two on the same bill during his first big-time theater concert in 2015, and was personally able to take in the warmth and authenticity of Dave Wilson (guitar), John Teer (mandolin, fiddle), Greg Readling (upright bass), and Chandler Holt (banjo) as they delivered expert plucking and harmonies to the few thousand in the Tucson audience that night with all of the masterclass gusto that one would expect from a top-notch bluegrass band. While some bands, Avetts included, have tended to skew from the traditions of their folksy roots to err into more glamorous pop and rock territory over the years—which isn’t always necessarily a bad thing—Chatham County Line has deftly stayed their course steadily and truly as a bonafide bluegrass band from start to finish.
A staple of the Yep Roc roster since 2005, North Carolina's Chatham County Line often get labeled as a bluegrass act, though that's only a small part of what they do. More than anything, they're an Americana string band focused around the subtle songwriting talents of singer/guitarist Dave Wilson, who also acts as producer on Autumn, the group's eighth LP. In the album's press release, Wilson compares his band to both an old bowling alley and a hardware store in that they reliably deliver a familiar experience that keeps customers coming back year after year.
North Carolina’s Chatham County Line excel at the ability to create an affecting sound while still maintaining a low-cast gaze. That’s never been more apparent than on Autumn, an album that makes an immediate impact despite the subdued textures that supply its ample allure. Although they’re often been referred to as a bluegrass band, there’s little evidence of that here.