Chatham County Line: Speed of the Whippoorwill

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In a countryside crowded by young bluegrass bands with impressive chops, Chatham County Line, a quartet from Raleigh, N.C., is poised to become the standard bearer. Lead by the songwriting and plaintive tenor vocals of guitarist Dave Wilson, Chatham County Line calls to mind the raw energy of a 1930s jug band while displaying the vocal and instrumental precision of traditional bluegrass masters many years their senior. “Speed of the Whippoorwill,” the band’s latest release, is infused with train imagery and a sense of wanderlust. The band shines on the title track, a tale of a man’s hard work on the railroad and his yearning to return home to his love. “Lonesome in Caroline,” recorded live in Norway, is a lonely man’s anthem, while “Rock Pile” draws on the spirit of Johnny Cash as a convict is drawn to freedom by the call of a passing train. Modern in production but traditional in scope, “Speed of the Whippoorwill” is an impressive work.

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