REVIEW: New Chatham County Line album is heart-stirring, foot-tapping

May. 29, 2014 @ 11:16 AM

Just in time for summer days of winding country roads, swimming at the lake or just listening in your car on the way to work, Chatham County Line delivers another winner with “Tightrope.” Their sixth studio album just came out this month, and the band performs Friday night at the Carolina Theatre in Durham.

The band has kept its original four-man lineup for the past decade as its music has grown. Again on Yep Roc Records out of Haw River, CCCL is under the broad spectrum of Americana. It has just enough energy that you can dance to if you want, or tap your feet while sitting in a rocking chair on a front porch.
Chatham County Line makes you need that front porch, that gathering of friends playing old-time string instruments, that evening you wish you could bottle up in the ubiquitous Mason jar.
Chatham County Line’s 2010 album, “Wildwood,” gave listeners the easy weekend soundtrack with songs like “Saturdays and Sundays” and “Crop Comes In.” In 2012, CCL released a live album and concert DVD from a show in Raleigh. The Carolina band members are from Charlotte and met in Raleigh in their 20s. CCL is Dave Wilson
(vocals, guitar), John Teer (mandolin, fiddle), Chandler Holt (banjo) and Greg Readling (bass, pedal steel, piano).
“Tightrope” was recorded at Sound Pure Studios in Durham. The album has a good bit of love songs, like “The Traveler,” for those who wait while someone else is out on the road. “Should Have Known” and “Tightrope of Love” take on the ups and downs of love.  “Ships At Sea” is reminiscent of “Porcelain Doll” off “Wildwood” because it’s about love for a child. “Ships At Sea” will tug at any parent thinking about that time when their child grows older and starts to leave the nest.
With “Love I Found,” put this song on when you have people over for a backyard cookout or dinner inside. It’ll keep the enjoyable vibe going.
If you dwell in the songs of “Tightrope,” some can be tear-jerkers. “Hawk” is definitely one, about an elderly man who was once a 17-year-old airman during World War II. Listen after everyone has gone home and you’re sitting on the porch alone. Close your eyes and let the words and music move you. If you’re listening to the CD, it is followed by “Sixteen Years,” another pensive, reflective tune. Now that you’re thinking about your life and life in general, move on to “Will You Still Love Me,” which asks if young love will grow into old love. Then cry in your beer over “Final Reward,” about a soldier’s funeral. Once the emotion has flowed out in that sitting, listen again for the tunes and appreciate Chatham County Line for their talent to move you emotionally with their words and music, both with hearts filled and summer everlasting.


WHO: Chatham County Line

WHEN: 8 p.m. Friday
WHERE: The Carolina Theatre
309 W. Morgan St., Durham
NEW ALBUM: “Tightrope” on Yep Roc Records.


On Twitter: @dawnbvaughan