VISITING ACT ‌ Across the Line 

N.C.'s Chatham County Line venture South

click to enlarge Chat 'em up: Chatham County Line's Carolinian style is ace
  • Chat 'em up: Chatham County Line's Carolinian style is ace

Raleigh-based quartet Chatham County Line last played Charleston in September, opening up for the Avett Brothers at the Music Farm. "We're psyched to get down there, you know, kind of get back to us, not supporting some crappy other acoustic band," says CCL songwriter and guitarist Dave Wilson.

Their website lists this first show after their Christmas break as "without the stinking Avett Brothers."

So, what's the beef? When Wilson caught up with City Paper on the phone last week, it became quickly evident that any jesting fingers are heavily dipped in sarcasm sauce. CCL has played Charleston behind (or in front of?) both the brothers and Sam Bush, and are more than excited to headline a Saturday gig on their own.

Young bluegrass groups are springing up all over the country, with the Carolinas as a hotbed that's produced the Biscuit Burners, Steep Canyon Rangers, and now CCL. Their crowd-around-the-mic style sets them apart, as well as Wilson's high croon and skillfully crafted original songs.

Around 2001, Wilson shifted his songwriting from a rock-oriented style to "more of a bluegrass vein" and gathered some friends to pluck banjos and fiddles around them to "see what they sounded like," according to Wilson. "Next thing you know we're at some dive bar in Chapel Hill playing five of my songs and 40 bluegrass standards."

Between now and then, they've already played MerleFest and earned a following across the nation, as well as in Holland and Norway. They've collaborated with Jonas Fjeld, "the Sting of Norway," and the live shows recorded in the land of the cold last year are being released by Sony/BMG later this year.

The Pour House keeps booking Saturday night bluegrass and the crowds keep coming – this should be no exception. CCL's building a well-deserved name for themselves quickly, and they're only getting better. "We're just thanking our lucky stars," says Wilson. "It's all strange luck and happenstance." –Stratton Lawrence

Chatham County Line perform on Sat. Jan. 13 at the Pour House (1977 Maybank Hwy., 571-4343). Cover is $8. 10 p.m. See www.chathamcountyline.com and www.charlestonpourhouse.com for more.


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