Chatham County Line Jump Boundaries at Station Inn
Despite having just spent hours driving through inclement weather from Richmond, Va., the four members of Chatham County Line walked into Nashville's Station Inn wearing warm smiles, sharp gray suits, white shirts and black ties to play the final showcase of this year's Americana Music Festival.
"We're sure glad to be in Nashville," front man Dave Wilson told the don't-let-the-party-end crowd that had gathered for the midnight concert. "We just arrived here 90 minutes ago. We know you have a lot of requests and we're anxious to play each and every one of them."
While the image of band members gathered old-style around a single microphone may give the look of traditional bluegrass players, don't be deceived. Those who listen know that Chatham County Line's sound is full of richly textured lyrics and intricately woven instrumentation that some would argue shifts it more toward alt country.
"We've never really seen ourselves as a strictly bluegrass band, but one that adheres to the instrumentation and performance style of the genre while using our own script," Dave tells The Boot. "When we play a classic bluegrass festival, we offer a different flavor for the ear than what is usually presented."
"I feel that instrumentation's job is to support the song and the words as much as it can, and these artists seem to embrace that ideal," Dave explains. "There are hundreds of bluegrass bands that fill the classic niche. We feel that it is our job to follow our heart and muse, while adding to the great cannon of songs that exist in that realm."
Much to the delight of the crowd, the band played a mix of original songs -- 'Out of the Running,' 'Saturdays and Sundays' and 'Wildwood' -- intertwined with tunes such as Lucinda Williams' 'I Lost It.'
"We don't use a set list on a regular basis," Dave says. "We prefer to shoot from the hip, according to the audience."
It's likely this night's audience was as lively as any the band has encountered since it formed a decade ago. Cries for various songs -- both made famous by Chatham County Line and others -- often seemed to pelt the band as they deftly moved from one song to the next, leaving little time for banter.
That same excitement over the band's playing and deep catalog kept the audience in its seats well into the early morning hours.
When the band's current tour behind their July release 'Wildwood' concludes, the members will regroup for an annual holiday show that splits the set between acoustic and electric featuring pedal steel, electric bass and drums, thanks to a few guest artists. For continuing information on these concerts and projects, check the band's website.
Fans can look forward to even more music from the boys in the not-too-distant future. A live album is expected next year, and then they'll begin work on a new studio album.
Chatham County Line is currently touring Europe with its next US show September 30 in Wilmington, N.C. For a complete list of dates and cities, check here.