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Earlier this year, veteran bluegrass musicians Mike Auldridge, T. Michael Coleman, and Moondi Klein relinquished their tenure in the Seldom Scene to focus on their other band, Chesapeake. Formed with Jimmy Gaudreau (Tony Rice Unit) two years ago, Chesapeake performs fresh, challenging takes on traditional and contemporary material. Only distantly related to the “high lonesome” sound, the group’s musical voice is unique in the often predictable realm of acoustic music. On Full Sail, the band’s second release, Chesapeake’s vocals shine. Supported by tight harmonies, Klein’s operatically trained tenor draws the listener into the stories and lyrics of songwriters from Tim O’Brien to Steve Gillette. On ballads such as Norman Blake’s “Last Train From Poor Valley,” the band’s vocal strength can overshadow the subtlety of its musicianship. Gaudreau’s cross-picked mandolin and Coleman’s fretless and five-string bass lines provide a musical sophistication that is often lacking in other performers’ covers of vintage country songs like “Are You Tired of Me My Darling?.” Mike Auldridge’s legendary talents texture each song’s arrangement, whether he is playing dobro, lap steel, or pedal steel. The band’s instrumental virtuosity is foregrounded on faster pieces such as Ricky Skaggs’ “One Way Track,” the only tune that resembles WAMU-variety bluegrass. Chesapeake’s greatest strength is its uniting of folk, rock, and country to offer new insights into familiar material. Full Sail should appeal to both folk and acoustic-rock audiences, as well as anyone who has enjoyed a Thursday night with the Seldom Scene at the Birchmere.—