Wiffer Creek is actually North Chatham singer-songwriters Charles Pettee and Doug Bremseth, who've played acoustic music together (mostly bluegrass-based) for nearly a decade. Bremseth relocated here from Fresno, Calif., to take the banjo seat with Chapel Hill's The Shady Grove Band, for which Pettee served as mandolinist, co-lead singer and chief songwriter for 20 years. Physical problems forced Doug to give up the five-string, but he continues to sing, write and play guitar.
While the cover songs show their influences: Bill Monroe, The Grateful Dead, John Prine and Billy Ed Wheeler, the duo's heart lies in their originals. "Where Else Would We Go?" and "Those Who Seek" demonstrate the growth in Pettee's writing, fueled by the spiritual turn he took after becoming a dad. But his standout song is "Oh, Forefathers," a gem taken by the erstwhile geologist from a rare outcropping--that of bluegrass social commentary. Bremseth proves a more conventional, but no less successful, composer: His instrumental title track is as powerful a piece of music as the classic "Monroe's Hornpipe." Although both vocalists are good, not outstanding, singers, their lovely arrangements and strong musicianship more than compensates.