Chatham County Line
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Entering their second decade as an ensemble, Chatham County Line elegantly reconcile the past and future, tradition and innovation, on the fittingly titledTightrope, available May 20, 2014 on Yep Roc Records. The sixth studio album from the Raleigh-based four-piece follows 2010′s winsome, soulful Wildwood and the career-spanning concert album and film undertaking Sight & Sound, which was released in 2012. “With anything you’ve done for a while,” Wilson explains, “a period of reflection helps you identify your strengths. Doing the live album did that, and we do that every night with the songs we choose to play at a live show. We usually don’t use set lists, we just play the songs that come to mind. That really helped us prepare for this record.”
Stirring, provocative, and disarmingly poignant, Tightrope was born out of a year’s worth of intense focus, during which the band examined their own legacy while carefully honing new material. All the while, the band’s four members – Wilson (guitar), John Teer (mandolin, fiddle), Chandler Hold (banjo), and Greg Readling (bass, pedal steel, piano) – welcomed spontaneity and the sometimes palpable will of the songs themselves into the process.
Produced by Wilson and Chatham County Line, Tightrope benefits from an unusually rich, resonant sound that blends each member’s contributions into a powerful, dynamic whole. The poetic insight of the album’s eleven original songs is grounded by Chatham County Line’s ongoing commitment to classic stringband instrumentation. Tightrope also marks a return to Sound Pure Studios in Durham, NC, where the band recorded their third collaboration with Norwegian songwriter Jonas Fjeld. This unlikely partnership began in 2005, and has surpassed all expectations, resulting in chart-topping certified-gold albums in Norway, successful tours, and two Spellemannprisen (Norway’s equivalent of a Grammy) nominations. Chatham County Line’s ability to sincerely render Fjeld’s music while still imparting their own perspective is testament to both the band’s open mindedness and their deep roots in traditional stringband forms.