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Chatham County Line: Of Touring And Tightropes

Interview and photos by Daniel Coston

September 7, 2015

Less than a year after releasing their sixth album, Tightrope, Chatham County Line is already hard at work on their next album as they prepare for their show at Neighborhood Theatre on September 12.

“We recorded tracks all last week in Kernersville, NC” says guitarist and main singer and songwriter Dave Wilson. “Hopefully, we can dresss them up, and put them out to the people sometime next year.”

Formed in Raleigh in 2001, the band’s current lineup (Wilson, John Teer on violin and mandolin, Chandler Holt on banjo, and Greg Readling on stand-up bass) has been together for over 12 years, to the point where the band’s positioning around one microphone seems quite seamless.

“We’re enormously comfortable performing, the way we play live,” says Wilson. “Going into the studio, the biggest transition point on day one is feeling as comfortable while using a bunch of different microphones. But transitioning back from the studio to the stage is never a problem.

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Photo by Daniel Coston

“When you play music as much as we have together, you kind of know understand where they’re gonna go. When they make a move out of the box, you kind of know what they’re thinking. We hope to bring to the stage in Charlotte. We love playing there, and love the Neighborhood Theatre. The crowd’s always respectful, and just ready to here what we’ve got going on. We’ll be playing some hits, and some misses, and playing some of the new songs. You feel the energy in the audience. It’s a lot of familiar faces that you see coming back year after year.”

With the quartet playing Charlotte on a semi-regular basis, one might think that the group has committed themselves to touring more. “We really haven’t become busier,” counters Wilson. “We just have focused our energies a little stronger. As the years have gone by, we’ve figured out what cities respond to what we do. And that’s allowed us to streamline our touring for other projects, home lives, kids and other things. It keeps the sanity level really nice.”

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Photo by Daniel Coston

One of the places that has responded the most to Chatham County Line has been Norway, where a 2008 album with Norwegian music legend Jonas Fjeld was nominated for a Spellemannprisen (Norway’s equivalent of a Grammy).

“It’s really expensive to go over there and tour,” says Wilson about Norway. “It’s not a hugely populated country, so it’s hard to sell a lot of tickets. But we are going back to Europe in the fall.”

The band will tour Belgium, England and the Netherlands in early December, before returning home for their annual Christmas shows around the Southeast United States.

Chatham County Line has also kept an eye out for other emerging groups throughout the region, including North Carolina.

“There’s some great bands out there,” adds Wilson. “We’re definitely stoked to see Bombadil again at the Neighborhood Theatre. We’ve followed all of their different changes, and lineups, and we’re excited to see another collection. They’ve got some great tunes.”

The band also continues to bring the state flag of North Carolina with them on the road, displaying it proudly at every show.

“When you turn around, you remember where everybody you love resides, and why you’re out do this is love for music that were born and created out of the earth in North Carolina,” says Wilson. “It’s a great bed for artistry. Visually, musically, literary arts. Everything we’ve got here, the diversity is so amazing.”

Catch Chatham County Line on September 12, 2015 at Neighborhood Theatre.

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