Chatham County Line

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Chatham County Line
Chatham County Line circa 2022
Chatham County Line circa 2022
Background information
OriginRaleigh, North Carolina, United States
GenresAmericana, Bluegrass
Years active1999–present

Chatham County Line aka "CCL" is an American Americana musical group. Formed in Raleigh, North Carolina, in 1999 from members of the band Stillhouse, the band has released ten albums on the Yep Roc label (whom they were linked with by the producer Chris Stamey[1]), and have become popular in Europe[2] as well as their native United States.

The members met in 1996 when lead singer-songwriter Dave Wilson led the Country-Rock band Stillhouse. Wilson is the son of Charlotte poet Dede Wilson and was living in the Blue House, a Raleigh crash pad and romper room for the area's hottest young musicians. The other original CCL members are mandolin/fiddle player John Teer, upright bassist/pedal steel wiz Greg Readling, and banjo picker Chandler Holt (since retired). Wilson and Readling were playing in the Blue House as "Stillhouse" when Teer and Holt became intrigued "to hear these guys playing original country music that didn't suck" as Holt recalls. Holt and Teer befriended Wilson at the Blue House and began sitting in with the band. Wilson, over a beer one night, asked the others if they were interested in starting a bluegrass band.[3]

Chatham County Line frequently opened shows for Tift Merritt's band The Carbines as both Greg and Jay Brown (original Stillhouse Bassist) were members. Chris Stamey saw them open a show, offered to record them, and landed them a record deal with Yep Roc Records. The band then went on to create seven original studio albums, one live film/audio collection, and an album of covers: Chatham County Line in 2003, Route 23 in 2005, Speed of the Whippoorwill in 2006, IV in 2008, Wildwood in 2010, Sight & Sound in 2012, Tightrope in 2014, Autumn in 2016 and Sharing the Covers in 2019 before the retirement of original member Chandler Holt. The Album Strange Fascination arrived in 2020 and features Sharon Van Etten singing harmonies on the title track. The band, which used to perform gathered around a single microphone, now performs live with a drummer and features pedal steel and electric guitar on stage.

The IV album includes a track, "Birmingham Jail", that tells the story of Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson, and Cynthia Wesley, who were killed in the 16th Street Baptist Church Bombing. In The Washington Post, Allison Stewart writes:

The Raleigh-based bluegrass upstarts stock this tale of the 1963 Birmingham bombing with such gut-wrenching imagery, it's like they're trying to be depressing. You won't hear a more moving song all year.[4]

In addition to their ten solo albums, Chatham County Line have recorded three albums with Norwegian country musician Jonas Fjeld and were additionally brought on as the backing band on Winter Stories Fjeld's collaborative album with American singer Judy Collins. To date, the band have achieved four number one albums on the Top Bluegrass Albums chart.


Title Album details[5] Peak chart
US Grass US Heat
Chatham County Line
  • Release date: June 3, 2003
  • Label: Bonfire Records
Route 23 12
Speed of the Whippoorwill
  • Release date: May 30, 2006
  • Label: Yep Roc Records
Amerikabesøk (with Jonas Fjeld)
  • Release date: March 4, 2008
  • Label: Yep Roc Records
Brother of Song (with Jonas Fjeld)
  • Release date: February 23, 2009
  • Label: Sony Music Norway
  • Release date: July 13, 2010
  • Label: Yep Roc Records
3 33
Sight & Sound
  • Release date: July 10, 2012
  • Label: Yep Roc Records
Western Harmonies (with Jonas Fjeld)
  • Release date: October 7, 2013
  • Label: Sony Music Norway
  • Release date: May 20, 2014
  • Label: Yep Roc Records
3 47
  • Release date: September 2, 2016
  • Label: Yep Roc Records
Sharing The Covers
  • Release date: March 8, 2019
  • Label: Yep Roc Records
Winter Stories
(with Judy Collins and Jonas Fjeld)
Strange Fascination
  • Release date: April 24, 2020
  • Label: Yep Roc Records
"—" denotes releases that did not chart


  1. ^ AMG entry Allmusic; Retrieved on 2007-09-11
  2. ^ Kevin Crowe, "Chatham County Line Plays a Modern Kind of 'Grass," Metro Pulse, 2007; Retrieved on 2007-09-11. Accessed at the Internet Archive, 2 October 2015.
  3. ^ CMT Biography,; Retrieved on 2009-11-24
  4. ^ [1][dead link]
  5. ^ Discography; Retrieved on 2007-09-11

External links[edit]