Chatham County Line – Philadelphia – Rittenhouse Square, PA – 2005-08-24

Chatham County Line
Where: Philadelphia – Rittenhouse Square, PA.

When: 2005-08-24

When I heard North Carolina band Chatham County Line would be planning a free show in Rittenhouse Square I couldn’t have been happier. I’ve been hooked on the group’s recent release, Route 23, for a while now, and I’m certainly not one to pass up a free show featuring a band I like. The show was part of the Philadelphia Weekly’s summertime Concerts in the Park series, which oddly enough I had never heard of despite living in this area for the past 12 years.

For those not from the Philadelphia area, Rittenhouse Square is city block-sized park surrounded by some of Philadelphia’s most expensive houses and apartments. The park sees all sorts of people passing through on a daily basis, from the wealthy residents to the homeless and every type of person in between. Lots of folks come here to picnic, paint, people watch, and just relax – and the night of Chatham County Line’s performance was no exception.

Unfortunately, due to traffic and lack of parking in the area, my husband and I arrived late. I’m guessing I missed just the first few songs, but my husband (the one doomed to drive in circles for an hour) missed the whole thing. What I did see of Chatham County Line’s set was superb. As I had heard, the foursome plays around a single microphone with everyone singing. They treated the crowd to some new material as well as plenty of songs from their first album and gems like “Engine No. 79” from their second disc.

Chatham County Line also covered a Jimmy Rogers tune and snuck in at least one of the instrumentals from Route 23. Although the crowd wasn’t particularly lively – I’m imagining most folks there weren’t familiar with the group – the band still put on a great show. The great harmonies and all around stellar musicianship found on their recordings were amply present in their live show, which only furthered my interest in the quartet. I hope to see Chatham County Line plays in the area again soon, but this time in a more structured venue without tons of screaming children running around.

Due to the ill-fated parking situation, I left just as headliners The Avett Brothers took stage. The strains of their music I heard as I walked away were very much in the same vein as Chatham County Line, but unfortunately that’s about all I heard. Despite the mishaps, of the evening it was well worth venturing out to the park to see Chatham County Line play, and I couldn’t have been more pleased with their set.