Chatham County Line at the Birchmere Wednesday, Dec. 19

All other string instruments should step aside for the banjo’s moment. Thanks to new releases from banjo-heavy groups like Mumford & Sons, Old Crow Medicine Show, and The Avett Brothers, that twang is making its way into the ears of listeners who, a few years ago, might have thought the banjo only belonged at a state fair 70 miles east of Nowhere, Miss. Even lifelong banjo enthusiast Steve Martin is getting in on the action; since 2009, he’s presented an annual prize for banjo excellence. Benefiting from this excess of string-band riches are smaller acts like Chatham County Line, a North Carolina–based bluegrass group. Don’t walk into the band’s Birchmere show tonight expecting overall-clad guys in boots and straw hats, though; theirs is a new kind of bluegrass, slightly more dressed up but still as frenetic as the traditional stuff it springs from. The energy may rise even higher tonight when the band plugs in for its annual series of electric shows. There’s a good chance it will be way more fun than a drunken bar singalong of “Wagon Wheel.”

Chatham County Line performs at 7:30 p.m. at The Birchmere, 3701 Mt. Vernon Ave., Alexandria. $22.50. (703) 549-7500. birchmere.com.

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