Track Premiere: Old Guitar Case from Sideline

To celebrate today’s release of Ups, Downs, and No Name Towns, the latest album from Sideline, Mountain Home Music is offering a free listen to the putative title track to our readers.

The group chose their name some years ago when they got started as a part time side project with banjo man Steve Dilling, late of IIIrd Tyme Out, bassist Jason Moore, who had left Mountain Heart, and Steve’s son-in-law, Skip Cherryholmes, who had been a part of the hugely successful Cherryholmes family band. Dilling had even used this band name while he was still with IIIrd Tyme Out for short regional tours during the month of December, when 3TO typically took time off to be with their families.

Of course these days Sideline has a bustling business, taking their aggressive stage show on the road to appreciative audiences all over the country. And the band is nothing like a sideline, being a full time profession for its six members.

This morning’s feature track is one called Old Guitar Case, from which Sideline drew both the new album title and the cover graphic, a song written by Jack Shannon that Cherryholmes tells us epitomizes how the past 18 months have gone for the band, personally and professionally.

“In the musical slump caused by the shutdowns of 2020, Sideline decided to pull together and start on a new project. We had time, we had each other, and we decided to put it all to work in a way we had never done before. The inspiration and variety that make up this project really relate directly to the ‘Ups and Downs’ we were dealing with in real time. Working together to find ways to survive and remain relevant, while receiving dozens of calls day after day for canceled work — this became a whole new full-time, emotionally exhausting job.

I truly feel that all of these experiences played the biggest part in the development of the music for this project. It affected every bit of attention and care to capture each performance exactly how we felt it, all the way down to the cover concept. In so many ways this tattered old guitar case represents the beating our band and career took through the pandemic. The fact that it still stands symbolizes our resilience and ability to persevere. Ups, Downs, and No Name Towns is by far the most musically developed project we’ve recorded to date, but it is also the most connected and inspired effort we’ve ever experienced, personally or musically.”

Old Guitar Case is sung by Sideline’s second guitarist Jacob Greer, supported by Dilling on banjo, Cherryholmes on lead guitar, Moore on bass, Aaron Ramsey on mandolin, and Jamie Harper on fiddle.

Have a listen…

Ups, Downs, and No Name Towns is available now from popular download and streaming sites online. Audio CDs can be ordered directly from the Sideline web site. Radio programmers will find the tracks 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.