Flyer Profile: Chatham County Line

Chatham County Line is one of the headliners of the 2011 Fayetteville Roots Festival.

There’s a really good band coming to Fayetteville this weekend.

In fact, there are more than 30 talented acts set to play the second annual Fayetteville Roots Festival Aug. 26-28, but one of the groups we’re really excited to see is North Carolina-based Chatham County Line.

The band formed more than a decade ago in Raleigh, NC, and have been touring the country like crazy over the past several years playing their own brand of smart, well-constructed Americana music.

They recently released their fifth studio album, the critically acclaimed Wildwood, in 2010. The record debuted at No. 3 on the U.S. Bluegrass charts, and stayed in the top 12 for seven weeks.

Chatham County Line is set to play the Friday night “Friends of the Festival” backstage concert at the Garner Farm, as well as the Saturday concert at the Walton Arts Center.

We got in touch with banjo player Chandler Holt from the band, and he was nice enough to answer some questions.

FF: What have you been listening to lately?
Chandler Holt: Lots of CDs that people give us on the road. Personally, I’m digging back into my Leo Kottke collection. Nick Lowe, as always, is getting some spins. Neil Diamond’s Hot August Nights seems to be stuck on my turntable for the past couple weeks. That’s just laziness more than anything.

FF: What’s been going on musically with you guys? Writing? Recording?
CH: We’ve been loosely working on a batch of new tunes. There’s one that we’ve been playing at shows. We’ve got a live CD/DVD/documentary project that is going to be released on Yep Roc in the coming year. Not sure exactly how it’s going to ultimately be presented but it should be really cool.

FF: Is it difficult to write on the road?
CH: For me personally, it is very difficult. There just isn’t enough time in one spot to really sit down and focus. To me, it seems like Dave can kick out a tune anywhere, anytime. He’s that good.

FF: Have you ever been to Fayetteville (or Arkansas?)? If so what’s your impression of the place?
CH: We’ve not been to Fayetteville. The only time we’ve played in Arkansas has been Fort Smith. It was really fun, maybe too fun. Those folks know how to party on that downtown strip. The night we were there, we crossed paths with some Circus folk and it’s a blur from there.

FF: Some friends of ours from Little Rock were label-mates of yours on Yep Roc. Are you familiar with the American Princes?
CH: I think we may have played a SXSW thing with them once and I remember hearing their record and digging it.

FF: What are some bands you’ve played with or seen over the last year that folks may not have heard yet but need to check out?
CH: The area we call home is chock full of great bands that we share the stage with. Some of my favorites are The Jackets, Justin Robinson & the Mary Annettes, and Birds & Arrows.

FF: If you guys weren’t touring around playing music most of the time, what else might you be doing?
CH: Greg’s building furniture, kitchen cabinets and speaker cabinets. Dave has been building some killer amps and reverb tanks. (Greg is building the cabinets for them.) I recently got one of the reverb tanks and it is killer. Teer is playing snooker and I’m trying to balance gardening, golf and songwriting.

FF: I read a quote from Dave saying, “We may never grace the cover or Rolling Stone…but that’s not something we care about.” Is it just me, or does it seem like commercial success and quality music are mutually exclusive these days?
CH: Not sure because I really don’t know what Rolling Stone covers these days. Every time I open it up I can’t find an article because there are so many ads for jeans and cologne. I thought it was a music mag? I guess that answers your question?

FF: Looks like after the festival, you’ll be on the road for a while. Any shows or cities that you’re looking forward to?
CH: Heading west is always a lot of fun for us because we don’t do it much. We’re playing some great clubs on the tour for sure and every town is interesting, especially if you’re from Durham, NC.