Chris Williamson to Backline

South Carolina’s Backline has announced a change in personnel going in to 2020. 

Bassist and founding member Jason Belue is leaving the band to attend the CRAS Recording institute in Tempe, AZ. The band has brought in Chris Williamson, formerly of Volume Five, as their new bass man.

Jason says that it has been a life-long dream to become a certified recording engineer and open his own studio, but is sorry that he has to leave the  band to achieve it.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed being a member of Backline. We’re more than just a band, we’re best friends and family. They are top notch people and artists in my book. From the stage, to 1:00 a.m. Jenga games during studio sessions, to non-stop laughs on the road to the next show, I’ll carry these memories with me wherever I go. Lord willing, in September you can find me in Arizona at the Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences. Keep in touch! Travis, Katelyn, Zach, Milom, Clint, and Chris, I love you guys and wish you nothing but continued success! Special thanks to Kandi, Travis’ wife and our manager, who always worked relentlessly to make sure all the business and details were taken care of so we could concentrate on making music!”

Williamson has been involved in bluegrass since he was 13 years of age, playing professionally since he finished high school. Following stints with the Shoal Creek Band and Randy Kohrs & the Lites, he partnered with Shane Blackwell in 2008 to start Volume Five. There he remained for the next 10 years until Chris and his wife, Brittany, welcomed their daughter, Indy, and he left the road to spend more time at home with his family.

Then in July of this year, Backline asked Chris to fill in with them at the Anderson Bluegrass Festival, and afterwards, asked him to join the group. That required him to leave band he had started playing with, but he says couldn’t turn down Backline.

“It was right at the year mark when Backline was looking for a fill in bass player. After rehearsal, I was so impressed with every aspect of the band. They are great musicians and great people. As it turned out, they were looking for more than a fill in. The hardest part was giving up the Mountain Bridge band. They treated me like family and it was a blast, but Backline’s offer was too good to turn down. I’m very excited to be in the band and can’t wait to see what the future holds. Thanks to all my friends over the years who’ve helped me along the way.”

Williamson joins Katelyn Ingardia on guitar and lead vocals, Travis Tucker on reso-guitar, Zach Carter on banjo, Milom Williams on mandolin, and Clint White on fiddle.

Tucker says, “I hate to see my friend of almost 20 years leave, but I’m excited to see what the future holds for him. Although JB leaving us creates a void, I am very happy that Chris has decided to join us. His playing style and personality fits us like a glove”

You can learn more about Backline by visiting their web site.

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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.