Give yourself the musical gift of a Chatham County Line Electric Holiday Tour show this weekend

If, like me, you missed a chance to catch Chatham County Line’s “electric” show, you’re in luck.

The Raleigh, North Carolina-based acoustic string ensemble played the set last year at MerleFest and the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA)’s annual festival.

But they’re far from done.

These harmonic boys, whose music has been described as falling somewhere between Del McCoury and the Jayhawks, are back in Richmond, Virginia; Washington, D.C.; and Saxapahaw, North Carolina, over the next three days.

Trust me, you don’t want to miss this show.

The three-hour long extravaganza showcases the group’s multiple talents in ways I’ve never experienced, and I’ve had the pleasure of seeing CCL perform many times at MerleFest, Red Wing Roots Music Festival, IBMA and  in between over the past decade.

The hour-plus acoustic set kicked off the “Electric Holiday” evening with some tunes from CCL’s most recent album, “Autumn,” (which I reviewed here and makes a great Christmas gift imho) as well as some chestnuts (see what I did there?) including “Route 23” and one of my personal  favorites, “The Carolinian,” which I believe must be a requisite tune for the Richmond set list as well.

And while a few seasonal tunes are thrown in here and there, don’t expect this to be a “holiday” music show. As frontman Dave Wilson (singer, songwriter, guitar, harmonica) described it, “It’s more of a three-eggnog set,” which delighted the hometown Raleigh crowd Wednesday night at the Lincoln Theatre, where the show kicked off this week’s aforementioned four-city “Electric Holiday Tour.” 

Wilson said the group debuted the Yep Roc Records album “Route 23” back when many in the audience were still in elementary school.

Following a brief intermission, the “electric” set lit up the group, with a little help from some friends, including Jay Brown on bass and Evans Nicholson on drums as well as the packed house. The raucous electric set is clearly a nod to the band members’ former selves, when they all performed in rock groups before coming together as CCL.

One of the highlights for me was the band spreading out (they typically gather around one big microphone on stage) and switching places, such as Wilson playing electric guitar and drums (briefly), and bass player Greg Readling hitting the Hammond organ. And while Chandler Holt stuck with his always impressive work on the banjo and guitar, John Teer (mandolin/fiddle) showcased his impressive musical chops on not only the mandolin and fiddle but also the electric guitar.

Wilson told the crowd, who clearly didn’t want the group to stop playing, “We just love doing this.”

Indeed. So run, don’t walk and grab your tickets now before they are gone like Santa up the chimney.

This is one “holiday” tradition you won’t want to miss.

This review was originally posted on MusicReporterBlog.

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