Coming off a recently released live album recorded in Raleigh, Chatham County Line will bring its eclectic take on acoustic bluegrass to Cat’s Cradle on Saturday. Mandolin and fiddle player John Teer talked to Diversions writer Alex Dixon about plans for a new studio album, playing in the Triangle and old, abandoned gold mines.
Diversions: What sets Chatham County Line apart from other bluegrass and Americana bands?
John Teer: Well, basically what we do is original material. We set ourselves apart by just being ourselves. Our lead singer, Dave Wilson, is the chief songwriter and he writes the tunes and brings them to the table, and we all contribute and put everything in this gumbo of the tune that we’ve worked on, and then we start making the music. In the very beginning, we were wanting to be a very traditional old-school-style bluegrass band and then eventually we played the style of music we had a fondness for. We all have similar taste in music. It just led us on the path to what we do now, which is play original, acoustic music.
DIVE: Is the Triangle one of the band’s favorite places to play?
JT: We definitely have a great fan base here in the Triangle. It’s great to travel the world and get really great responses wherever you go, but then come back home and have our home fans still cheering for us. We love being from the Triangle.
DIVE: Do you prefer playing mandolin or fiddle, or do you enjoy them both equally?
JT: With the band, I have to play more mandolin because it kind of takes the place of a drummer. So I have to keep that chop. I like playing both, but with the mandolin, I get to sing a little bit more and I really enjoy singing. I love playing guitar too, but I don’t get to play it in this band.
DIVE: What’s your favorite memory from being on tour?
JT: Years and years ago when we first got started, we won the RockyGrass band competition. We were excited and we were barely scraping by and didn’t have a place to stay in Colorado and this nice lady offered her place and it turned out it was this old, abandoned gold mine, and it was just the coolest thing to see this ghost town of a gold mine where she lived. We got to hang out there for a couple days and wander around and see the remnants of what used to be there and hear all the stories.
DIVE: Are there any plans for a new studio album?
JT: We’re hopefully looking at getting in the studio sometime this fall. We’ve got a lot of new tunes we’ve been working out and that Dave’s been writing. We hope to get something out early next year. At the same time, we are doing a Christmas tour, which we do every year. We do the CCL acoustic set first and then the second set we invite our friends up to come play with us. We play some CCL tunes and kind of electrify them just for fun.
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