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Q&A with The Letter Jackets

The Letter Jackets is the rock side-project of Chandler Holt and John Teer of Chatham County Line. Teer wanted a rocking band and had been jamming with fellow Letter Jackets members Roger Gupton and Evans Nicholson when Holt asked to sit in on a session and bring in some songs he’d been working on.

That encounter, which installed Holt on acoustic guitar and vocals, gave birth to what was known as The Jackets. A few years later, the band is now The Letter Jackets. In light of the band’s current cache of CD release shows they’ll be playing around the state, Holt spoke to Diversions staff writer Bo McMillan about the band’s sound, its future and its inspirations.

DIVERSIONS: Did you write the songs for this band with a specific rock feel, or did they just not happen to work with Chatham County Line?

CHANDLER HOLT: I don’t really set to write a tune to any one style. I definitely notice when I write that there are these consistent themes that run through the tunes.

To me, it felt kind of like ‘50s, ‘60s-style rock. I love that kind of music, vocal and harmony-led music with lots of simple hooks.

DIVE: What bands would you say inspired your writing?

CH: Definitely I think The Everly Brothers has probably been a pretty huge influence on me.

I love those dudes, I wish I could sing anywhere near as high as either of ‘em.

Early Beatles, I’m really into that and still am.

Other than that, I don’t know man, any of those brother bands, any of that ‘50s and ‘60s stuff. The Jayhawks — they’re from the ‘90s — that’s a more modern influence.

DIVE: How does playing live differ when you’re on the vocals and guitar, instead of the banjo?

CH: It’s a complete night-and-day experience from Chatham County Line for me, and I think that’s what’s really neat about it.

It’s cool, man, it’s different. Singing into the style of mics we use for a rock band, as opposed to those we used for Chatham County Line — it’s just a whole ‘nother kick.

DIVE: Where exactly do you see The Letter Jackets going in the future?

CH: I think for right now the goal is just to play as many shows as we can. Chatham County Line isn’t going to be slowing down any time soon.

Right now I’m pretty hot to play the good CD release shows we have coming up, and try and broaden the fan base and get people familiar with it, ‘cause no one has really heard of The Letter Jackets yet.

I think we’re dedicated, and we totally hope to make a second record. I think the future looks good right now.

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