After spending most of the summer touring in support of their latest release, Chatham County Line returned home to Raleigh to stun yet another crowd. You might expect a band to be worn-out and weary by the end of such a tour, but Chatham County Line came together for a truly excellent evening at the Fletcher Opera Theatre.
Most of the evening's material came from their highly-acclaimed new release Wildwood and their 2008 release IV. The group also threw in a few older favorites, such as "Route 23," "By the Riverside," and "Speed of the Whippoorwill." Hearing the old thrown in among the new simply highlights how much the band has grown throughout their time together.
I've come to believe that there is no such thing as a bad Chatham County Line show, but even so, this one was absolutely one of the best I've seen. Fletcher Opera Theatre suited them perfectly, being a little formal yet casual and laid back at the same time. Each note rang clearly throughout the theater, with the added bonus of people not elbowing you in the ribs as they make their way through the crowd.
A poignant moment came as Dave Wilson stepped out on the stage alone to perform the first encore. He performed "Porcelain Doll," off of Wildwood, and dedicated it to bassist Greg Reading, whose wife is expecting a child any day now.
As Wilson and company launched into "End of the Line" for their final encore, the whole crowd got to their feet. Several danced, a few sang, and everyone clapped. It was obvious what everyone was thinking: Chatham County Line was glad to be home, and the people of Raleigh were happy to have them back, even if only for a little while.
The band called on former everybodyfields frontwoman Jill Andrews to open the show. She performed a beautiful forty-five minute set, a good bit of which several stragglers and other late arrivals missed. It was certainly their loss. Andrews' first full-length isn't due until early next year, and judging by what she played, it looks promising.
Chatham County Line takes a break until mid-September, at which point they will make their way across the Atlantic to tour parts of Europe. Wildwood is available now on Yep Roc Records. Last night's show was also filmed, but the band never gave a reason as to why. Here's to hoping that something comes of it very, very soon.