Archive for the ‘Sideline’ Tag

Sideline- Front and Center review   Leave a comment

Sideline

Sideline Front and Center Mountain Home Music Company

Well, there’s thirteen hundred and fifty two
Guitar pickers in Nashville
And they can pick more notes than the number of ants
On a Tennessee ant hill…       
John Sebastian, 1966

The same could be said for North Carolina, home base of Sideline.

With three of the original members of this ‘sideline’ band of musical buddies remaining, the invigorated group has evolved from an occasional  novelty to full-time bluegrass force.

Steve Dilling (banjo), Jason Moore (bass), and Skip Cherryholmes (guitar and banjo)have developed Sideline into as strong a bluegrass outfit as one encounters. With charting hits and a touring slate including some of the most significant festivals, the sextet has moved to the fore.

Front and Center features recently departed, but expertly featured, fiddler Nathan Aldridge as well as mando player Troy Boone and Bailey Coe—limited to vocals, lead and harmony—who joined the group early last winter.

Three of the album’s most obviously appealing songs are character studies of prototypical bluegrass variety, in spirit, words, and instrumentation.

Already a chart-topper, “Thunder Dan” recollects a succession of untoward events culminating in an unresolved climax; I’ve never fully understood the desire to normalize anti-social behaviour within bluegrass, but it appears to be part of the ‘outlier’ tradition. Good song, if you don’t think about it too much, and Boone’s approach to the song is well-considered.

“Lysander Hayes” is that immature and impulsive someone we would rather avoid, despite his song’s galloping, engaging groove; Moore’s bass choices throughout this one are notable . My favourite may well be “Bluefield WV MTN. Girl” which concisely (see what I did there!), but rather superficially describes—as per tradition— the object of the singer’s desire as the one “who always stood beside me when the times got tough and hard…wouldn’t trade her for the world.”

Individual singer credits are not provided (sigh!), but Cherryholmes reveals his soul in the gentle meditation that is Gordon Lightfoot’s “Song For A Winter’s Night;” his guitar playing here and elsewhere is classy, never showy. “Memories That We Shared,” a Marshall Wilborn composition  originally found on the Johnson Mountain Boys’ Let The Whole World Talk album, has long deserved a contemporary update, and the version Sideline has recorded does the song justice.

 “Frozen In Time” is the type of song that is overdone in the bluegrass world—revisiting the home place long left behind—but the performance is excellent, and Coe’s vocal ability is showcased; Mark Brinkman is a terrific songwriter, and the quality of his lyrics brings this familiar topic to life. “Old Time Way” is a very appealing romp through classic sounds, with a bit of “Groundhog” bouncing about the edges, but I am fully confident no one needs to hear “Cotton Eyed Joe” ever again.

A pair of religious songs are included. The four-part harmony of “I Long to See His Face,” with Coe taking the lead, is an impressive and traditional-sounding performance, but “Satan’s Chains” is even more attractive. The harmony on the chorus of this song—coming from Ralph Stanley and The Isaacs—is most striking.

Sideline is not out to redefine bluegrass: it is music that is rooted in the vibrant, front-loaded music of the ’90s—IIIrd Tyme Out, Lonesome River Band, and the rest of the untucked. They do it well, and there is much within Front and Center for bluegrass listeners to enjoy.

Advertisements

New bluegrass from Sideline   Leave a comment

Sideline has a new album coming soon. Entitled Front and Center, the album will serve as the group’s first for Mountain Home and I am fortunate to have a copy in-hand. The album has at least five top-notch songs that I can recall after only a pair of listens. The best may be one entitled “Lysander Hayes” while “Old Time Way,” if memory serves, borrows the “Ground Hog” instrumental refrain. The group has released a pair of videos in advance of the album release in late April. “Thunder Dan” currently sits at #2 on the Bluegrass Today chart; Gordon Lightfoot’s “Song for a Winter’s Night” may not prove to be as chart-friendly simply because it isn’t as mainstream a song. Popularized in bluegrass by Tony Rice, this take features Skip Cherryholmes in the lead position.

 

Posted 2018 March 11 by Donald Teplyske in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , ,

The Pine Hearts & Sideline albums reviewed   Leave a comment

distantlightsfrontTwo recently written reviews have been posted over at the Lonesome Road Review. The Pine Hearts are an acoustic trio from Washington (http://lonesomeroadreview.com/2013/10/01/distant-lights-by-the-pine-hearts/) and Sideline is Steve Dilling’s side project (http://lonesomeroadreview.com/2013/10/01/session-1-by-sideline/). Both albums sidelinearrived in my mailbox unheralded, but have received numerous plays in my truck and while working in the evenings.

Thanks for visiting Fervor Coulee. Donald

@FervorCoulee