Darren Nicholson’s “Ain’t No Sin” is a tongue-in-cheek tale

Article Contributed by Mountain Home … | Published on Friday, March 8, 2024

Though it has all the trappings and spirit of a well-worn bootlegging story of corn liquor and moonshiners (think “Mountain Dew,” “White Lightning” or “Dooley”), Darren Nicholson’s first single of the new year digs a little deeper than its upbeat, elemental bluegrass feel might at first suggest. Backed by an all-star cast that includes two award-winning instrumentalists in Kristin Scott Benson (banjo) and Sister Sadie fiddler Deanie Richardson, the singer-songwriter-mandolinist delivers a propulsive original that almost subliminally leavens its classic lyric touches and tale with a bit of clear-eyed, historically informed realism.

“'Ain't No Sin' is our raucous, tongue-in-cheek story of mountain folk separating sin from survival,” says Nicholson. “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,” he continues. “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,” he concludes. “That’s the intention!”  

“Ain’t No Sin” is streaming in Dolby Atmos spatial audio on Apple Music, Amazon Music and TIDAL. Listen to it HERE.