What Chatham County Line lacks in microphones they make up for in enthusiasm.
The Raleigh, N.C.-based string band will make its central Pennsylvania debut this weekend at the Elk Creek Cafe + Aleworks. In keeping with the bluegrass tradition, the group performs around one microphone — what John Teer (fiddle and mandolin) describes as “a dance.”
“It’s a unique treat to see a band without any cables performing all acoustic and working around one microphone,” Teer said. “We bring a lot of emotion and energy into the songs and utilize each other’s talents on each instrument.”
Teer and bandmates Dave Wilson (guitar, vocals), Chandler Holt (banjo, guitar) and Greg Readling (bass, pedal steel) recently finished a series of shows opening for fellow North Carolina musicians the Avett Brothers. Teer said the bands have known each other for about 10 years but never shared a stage together until a few weeks ago.
“They have an amazing fan base and really treated us with a lot of respect,” Teer said. “We also had a few epic ping pong matches before the show. They’re big into that.”
Each member of Chatham County Line plays multiple instruments, depending on the effect they want each song to achieve. For example, Teer said he utilizes the mandolin’s percussive ability to keep a beat during faster songs and brings in the fiddle to add depth to slower instrumentals. Harmonies also are a key part of the group’s songs, he said.
Teer said the band’s set list would be focused on material from its 2014 album “Tightrope,” with perhaps a few new songs thrown into the mix. They hope to record a new album before the end of the year, and have started performing some new material prior to recording.
Thanks to bands like the Avetts and Mumford and Sons, Americana music has found its way to larger audiences over the past few years. Will Chatham County Line be joining those ranks anytime soon? Teer said they are going to take things as they come.
“We just go with the flow and do what’s right,” Teer said. “We think we have something very original and unique. You never know ... doors open when you least expect them.”