Yep Roc Records
This sixth studio album from Chatham County Line demonstrates increasing musical growth for the Raleigh, N.C.-based band. Dave Wilson (guitar and harmonica), John Teer (mandolin and fiddle), Chandler Holt (banjo and guitar), and Greg Readling (bass, pedal steel, and piano) blend their harmonies and classic string-band instrumentation with a few variations.
“The next generation is coming,” Wilson said. “We’re maturing in the world and seeing things through a different set of eyes, and that materializes in a lot of these songs.” Leading off the 11 cuts, all written by members of the band, is “The Traveler,” which has been in the band’s repertoire for three years. The band re-recorded “Will You Still Love Me” with a new set of lyrics than what fans heard on their 2010 CD, Wildwood. Readling’s keyboard sets the perfect somber tone on “Final Reward,” one of two elegies to fallen soldiers. In the other, “Hawk,” a fighter pilot who befriends a young boy, survives the war’s destruction only to die from a debilitating disease. The title track began as an instrumental that Chandler had written, but the image of a tightrope walker came to Wilson’s mind as he listened to Holt’s winding, chromatic banjo.
Produced by Wilson and CCL, Tightrope is a dynamic balancing act, from the laid-back grooves to the hard-driving tunes. (Yep Roc Records, P.O. Box 4821, Chapel Hill, NC 27515, www.yeproc.com.)BC