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Route 23

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Route 23
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Audio CD, February 22, 2005
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Route 23 + Chatham County Line + Wildwood
Price for all three: $42.30

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Amazon.com

Though there are no brothers by birth in this North Carolina bluegrass group, the imprint of the Louvins, the Stanleys, and even the Everlys in their harmonies suggests the reedy strength of blood ties. The quartet began as a side project for some members of Tift Merritt's band, who subsequently decided to devote their full creative energies to this acoustic offshoot. With songs of fishin' holes ("Make Some Pay") and old-time religion ("Take Heed"), the material of frontman/guitarist Dave Wilson evokes a rural South steeped in nostalgia. Yet there's a timelessness in the balladry of "Dark Clouds," "Louisiana Freight Train," and "Saro Jane," while the threat of the superhighway on the title track suggests a past that can never be recaptured. Best of all is "Arms of the Law," a cry-in-your-beer lament with a deadpan drollery ("You're in the arms of another/And I'm in the arms of the law") that's difficult to resist. A pair of instrumentals ("Gunfight in Durango" and "Sun Up") spotlight the lively interplay of John Teer on mandolin and fiddle, Chandler Holt on banjo, and Greg Readling on bass and pedal steel, while a bluegrass revival of the pop oldie "Born to Be with You" brings the band's second release to a rousing finale. --Don McLeese


Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 22, 2005)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Yep Roc Records
  • ASIN: B0007KTBDU
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #129,326 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By hyperbolium on September 21, 2005
Format: Audio CD
This Raleigh, NC band is influenced by the string-band sounds of bluegrass, but their guitar-mandolin-banjo-fiddle-bass line-up is extended by touches of pedal steel and harmonica, and their harmonies are often more Everly-sweet than hill-country blue. These aren't criticisms so much as a suggestion of what distinguishes this group from their stage-mates at summer festivals. There's a lot of folk influence in Dave Wilson's songwriting, and the playing feels more back-porch relaxed than straight-ahead bluegrass combos; when they breakdown for an instrumental it's more like a cantering hootenanny than a hot-picked gallop.

The album's filled with great original songs that peer toward the future. "Nowhere to Sleep" seeks to resuscitate a relationship, "Louisiana Freight Train" dreams of the romance at rail's end, and "Arms of the Law" ponders the mental prison at the conclusion of a jail sentence. The album's title song is the set's highlight, a sad tale of those deserted by the "progress" of new highways; you can just about hear the tumbleweeds blowing along the Mother Road. The lone cover is a banjo-lined, harmony-rich version of Don Robertson's "Born to Be With You" that's scarcely recognizable as the mid-50s hit by The Chordettes. [©2005 hyperbolium dot com]
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By BluegrassFan on August 26, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Should be noted that these guys picked up the Best New Bluegrass Band award at Rockygrass Bluegrass Festival in 2004(personally a better festival than Telluride now). The title track hasn't left my head for days, along with the great track 'Saro Jane'. Definitely try and catch the CCL live show and pick up their first disc, a treat for the ears.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By J. Ross on March 1, 2005
Format: Audio CD
With their youthful exuberance and joyful spirit, Chatham County Line's second album, "Route 23" continues where their June, 2003 debut left off. The Raleigh, N.C. bluegrass quartet continues to feature guitarist Dave Wilson's lead vocals and prolific songwriting, along with. John Teer (fiddle, mandolin, vocals), Chandler Holt (banjo, vocals), and Greg Readling (bass, pedal steel, vocals) who has apparently replaced bassist Ned DuRant. Readling, a very capable multi-instrumentalist known to friends simply as "G," appeared on CCL's debut album playing accordion and piano. Wilson's singer/songwriter and folk rock sensibilities are easily translated into strong contemporary folk-inspired bluegrass. On the title cut, Wilson paints a picture of a small town bypassed and left to languish after a new highway is routed around town. In some songs like "Nowhere to Sleep" and and "Make Some Pay," Wilson can be rather wry-witted. In another like "Louisiana Freight Train," he can tell a grievous story of abandonment. "Ruination" speaks to effects of outside influences, particularly evil forces. Holt's "Sun Up" and Teer's "Gunfight in Durango" demonstrate the band's prowess with original feisty banjo (with Scruggs tuners) and fiddle instrumentals. Guest Caitlin Cary provides harmony vocals on two cuts.

Despite the band's modernistic interpretation of bluegrass, they consider themselves "new traditionalists" because they have great admiration for the seminal tradgrass players, sounds and themes. With a vibrant signature sound, Chatham County Line's music is breaking down barriers between folk, country and bluegrass genres. Exuding confidence, the band has been seen with Arlo Guthrie at the Woody Guthrie Folk Festival in Oklahoma.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Rankin Fred on July 28, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Somehow I expected something different from this album after reading reviews. It is a modest, rootsy country album with plaintive, emotional vocals. On the other hand, the playing is a bit rudimentary and the production by Chris Stamey is not up there with his best work. This young band has potential to be better than this. They also need to cheer up a little.
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