Ain’t No Sin from Darren Nicholson

Mountain Home Music has a new single on offer from Darren Nicholson, a good old fashioned moonshinin’ song from his upcoming second project with the label since taking his leave from Balsam Range.

Darren says that this one, Ain’t No Sin, looks at bootlegging and its surrounding culture from a different perspective than most songs on the subject, one that examines the process from the point of view of the poor mountain folk who invented it.

Ain’t No Sin is our raucous, tongue-in-cheek story of mountain folk separating sin from survival. I wrote this with Charles Humphrey III, and it’s even more ironic as I’m currently several years into sobriety myself.

It is a fictional tale of people who did what they had to do to provide for their families and communities. The moonshiner way of life was embraced and woven into so many rural circles. Heck, my dad made illegal whiskey to survive — and he made it for everyone from the grannies to the politicians to the preachers. In many cases, the quality of their liquor and how it benefited both producer and consumer, was a point of pride for certain areas. What many people fail to realize is that corn liquor production was a way for people to earn a living when times were hard, like during the Great Depression. Early on, it wasn’t a hobby so much as a way to supplement one’s income as a necessity. 

Where the ‘sin’ part comes into play is when one can acknowledge that whiskey by itself is not a sin; rather, it’s the overindulgence in, or the behaviors resulting from, too much to drink which are viewed as sinful. This song speaks to the ones who find it most sinful: the ones who can’t control the distribution of it or profit from it.

I hope all who listen have fun with this track. That’s the intention!”

Nicholson turns the story into a driving bluegrass number with support from Kristin Scott Benson on banjo, Colby Laney on guitar, Deanie Richardson on fiddle, and Zach Smith on bass. Darren sings lead and plays mandolin, with harmony vocals from Kevin Sluder and Jennifer Nicholson.

It’s a good’n. Have a listen…

Ain’t No Sin from Darren Nicholson is available now from popular download and streaming services online. Radio programmers will find the track at AirPlay Direct.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.