Homebrew | MUSIC: Homebrew | Indy Week

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Chatham County Line stacks harmonies like the triple-decker sandwich of your dreams, but the Raleigh-based bluegrass quartet also makes its mark with versatility and exceptional songwriting. On Route 23, as on their self-titled debut, lead vocalist/guitarist/chief songwriter Dave Wilson and the rest of the gang carve out as much breathing room as possible within the rather strict confines of bluegrass. Thus, the stunning five-minute (a Homeric effort in the high and lonesome world) centerpiece "Louisiana Freight Train" gives way to a quick-hitting instrumental, and the randy romp "Engine 709" shares space with "Born to Be with You," a pop song previously reconstructed by Dave Edmunds. The writing centers on the open road--or, just as often, the open rails--and nothing makes a bigger impact than the title track, in which a new highway sounds the death toll for a rural route service station. Chatham County Line makes the timeless feel fresh courtesy of old-fashioned charm and sophomore enthusiasm.

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