Chatham County Line

IV | Yep Rock
By TED DROZDOWSKI  |  April 2, 2008
3.0 3.0 Stars

Over four albums, this quartet from Raleigh, North Carolina, have retraced the evolution of bluegrass, beginning as a traditional mountain-music group and arriving with IV as a bold and beautiful acoustic pop outfit still faithful to their roots. This disc’s instrumentals, like the banjo blazer “Clear Blue Sky” and the mandolin charmer “Paige,” fly old-school colors. Even the sweetest pop numbers, which are given a little extra honey by producer Chris Stamey of the db’s, are constructed around vocal melodies supported by close-harmony singing and arrangements that owe as much to the Stanley Brothers as to the Rolling Stones. And there ain’t no drums here, thanks. Yet “Chip of a Star” is ornately modern and textural thanks to flat-top and steel guitars that churn and sigh beneath leader Dave Wilson’s sweet lilting voice while benefitting from careful mixing and judicious use of electronics. And there’s plenty of dirt in the grooves — especially in the gritty civil-rights-era tale “Birmingham Jail” and the thumping heartbeat of the blues mantra “I Got Worry.”

CHATHAM COUNTY LINE | Club Passim, 47 Palmer Street, Cambridge | April 10 | 617.492.7679

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