Chatham County Line
Sharing the Covers
Yep Roc Records
Ripping Up The Bluegrass Rule Book.
An album of all covers by any artist can go one of three ways:
1. Why bother?
2. Some good, some bad.
3. Yes, yes, yes!
Chatham County Line, from the mountains of North Carolina, U.S.A., are decidedly in the multiple affirmative. From the amusing album cover on the front — which was most likely an interesting photo shoot — to the songs inside, both familiar and rare.
I appreciate that they decided to forego the easy to pull off and predictable novelty cover of an established modern pop song, (such as a bluegrass rave-up version of Ariana Grande’s “Thank U, Next,” or “I” by Kendrick Lamar done up as a dirt floor country stomper.)
Instead the guys choose to take chances with tougher material such as the Ventures “Walk, Don’t Run” and a beautiful take on John Lennon’s “Watching the Wheels,” as well as a solid re-imagining of the Rolling Stones old standby “Last Time” which ups the bluegrass element without losing any of the rock ‘n’ roll.
Tom Petty’s “You Don’t Know How it Feels” is bound to be a crowd favorite, but my favorite, beyond a doubt, has to be “I Think I’m in Love” written by Beck and originally on his The Information album from 2006.
Understated isn’t usually a bluegrass staple, but this song is just that, wonderfully understated and perfectly dynamic in its simplicity, and Chatham County Line expertly pulls it off. The boys are expert pickers but know when to smartly hold back. And did I say the harmonies throughout are deliciously pure?
We also get wonderful renditions of Wilco, the Delmore Brothers, and James Hunter songs here as the Chatham County boys know full well how to make someone else’s tune their own. They’re on tour right now to support this album, see them live if you get the chance, they’re fun, full of energy, and highly entertaining onstage.
Roy Peak www.roypeak.com
Released 08th March 2019