Bluegrass sextet Sideline has been on a roll since “Thunder Dan,” the 2018 single that earned them the top spot on Bluegrass Today’s year-end airplay chart — and the Song of the Year trophy at 2019’s International Bluegrass Music Association Awards. They’ve released a string of hit singles, including the chart-topping “Crash Course In The Blues,” “Return To Windy Mountain,” “Digging My Own Grave” and a special version of “I’ll Live Again” that featured legendary southern gospel bass singer Ray Dean Reese, all drawn from the group’s latest album, Breaks To The Edge. Now, fresh from a visit to the recording studio, Sideline is back with their first new bluegrass single for the year, “Fast As I Can Crawl.”
Starting with the ringing notes from Steve Dilling's banjo, “Fast As I Can Crawl” reveals itself as purely bluegrass, brought to life with Sideline’s trademark drive, timing and finesse. The song offers a portrait of a man whose bad choices in love have left him in a state of desperate regret — a story often told throughout bluegrass history, but rarely with the sense of urgency and consummate skill Sideline brings to the job. New member Zack Arnold (mandolin) convincingly voices the narrator’s despair, with polished harmonies provided by Dilling and another newcomer to the band, guitarist Jacob Greer, while virtuosic solos are delivered by Dilling, Arnold, lead guitarist Skip Cherryholmes and yet another recent arrival, fiddler Jamie Harper.
“I think ‘Fast as I Can Crawl’ really puts our best foot forward as individuals and as a collective unit,” notes Jason Moore, who supplies the band’s rhythmic foundation on upright bass. “It also truly represents how we feel about the direction of our music: it’s straightforward and to the point — and that is Sideline!”
Cherryholmes adds, “When we heard the demo for this song it had Sideline written all over it. With the aggressive rhythm, high tenor vocal, and the chance to feature every instrumentalist, the arrangement almost wrote itself. We started our studio session with it, and the vibe of the session was nothing but awesome from there.”
From its pleading chorus — ”Forgive me and you’ll see me on my hands and knees, coming back as fast as I can crawl” — through the shimmering cascades of notes served up in every solo, “Fast As I Can Crawl” is, indeed, a perfect example of the Sideline sound: simple, to the point, and always supremely powerful.
Listen to "Fast As I Can Crawl" HERE.
Sideline is a pedigreed six-piece powerhouse whose style has set the pace in Bluegrass for over two decades. Founders Steve Dilling, Skip Cherryholmes and Jason Moore can all claim their own historical significance to the genre as members of highly awarded groups, multiple Grand Ole Opry appearances and years of national and international touring. What started as a side project for the seasoned players soon moved to the front and center and they began to record and release albums in earnest. This year, Sideline won the IBMA Song Of The Year Award for their hit single, "Thunder Dan."
To listen to Sideline reminds the fan of why so many people fall in love with Bluegrass in the first place; pulse-pounding drive, songs sung from the heart, perfected timing and dynamics as well as a visceral emotion in the rendering. A band that was started as an off-season fun experiment has become a full-time dream team of players and singers.
The band, recorded or live, move dynamically from well chosen, hard-hitting neo-traditional covers of classic songs to new material curated by a band with a perfect sense of who they are and what they have to say. Combine all this with their on-stage energy and finesse as well as their powerful and affecting harmonies, and you have the embodiment of the North Carolina Bluegrass sound. Sideline has released 4 national projects and records for the highly awarded Mountain Home Music Company based near Asheville, NC.