Sideways Reign, based in Union, Washington, is a band representative of the artistic sensibilities of the masses. They're your local barkeep, the hard-hat wearing construction worker, or the ice cream maker on the corner; on and off stage they remain the approachable, everyday guys you grab a beer with after work. In the same sense, A Stand For All Stages, the band's debut LP, offers something for the broadest of audiences with a genre defying blend of rock, blues, folk, and reggae wrapped in a "F*ck The Man" vibe we can all appreciate.
The double entendre Sideways Reign serves as a nod to their Pacific Northwest roots and as a reference to the political tyrannies that they stand firmly against. In essence, the group got its start over ten years ago when vocalist and lead acoustic guitarist Justin Stang and lead electric guitarist Casey Dehe – cousins who have come to be more like brothers – spent their summers playing together between visits to New York and Washington. After the countless hours of jamming grew more intense, the additional elements of a full band became a necessity. Through local acquaintances, Stang and Dehe hooked up with drummer and Washington native Mike Dennis. Later, after sensing the limitless potential of Sideways Reign, Cody Goodwin decided to sidebar his aspirations as a singer/songwriter to focus on bass and round out the band's permanent line-up.
Many of the songs were geared to be acoustic driven, but the full band setting offered the enriched sound and energy Stang and Dehe were searching for. Their live performances can quickly turn a room of indifferent listeners into captivated fans. The combination of electric and acoustic instruments adds the element of flexibility to their sound. Even when one member is unable to make a show, they conquer the axiom "real life happens" with their uncanny versatility as musicians. Whether it's Dehe stepping in on bass or a stripped-down acoustic set, Sideways Reign never withdraws from an opportunity to put on one of their consistently great shows. As a result, they've been able to reach fans throughout the northwest in a variety of settings, ranging from intimate coffeehouses to large performance halls.
Scale Mt. Epic is aptly named after the band's pursuit of "epic jams" during their long practice sessions. The album, which was released in the Summer of 2007, was recorded in a live, full band setting - often in only a few takes - to avoid overproduction and add continuity between their live and recorded sound. What you hear on the studio album is a true representation of what you'll find at a Sideways Reign show. The sound falls somewhere in the realm of Dispatch, John Butler Trio, Ben Harper and the likes. Stang's vocals come across as part Citizen Cope and part Ray LaMontagne with a hint of Neil Young's soulfulness, and Dehe's electric driven, blues influenced groove's evoke thoughts of Blind Melon. The songwriting speaks of the trials and tribulations of everyday life for regular people. Their masterful ability of storytelling stems in part from the time Stang and Dehe spent around campfire sing-alongs in their youth. Many of the poetic verses bring a sense of hope we can all identify with, whether it's love gained and lost, feeling voiceless and disenfranchised, or the weariness of the daily grind.
In the end, nothing holds more importance than creating a connection with the listener. For Sideways Reign, success could mean nothing more than finding a place on the soundtrack to someone's life. Their debut album, A Stand For All Stages, comes as our re-introduction to Sideways Reign and their unique blend of originality and down-to-earth authenticity.