Nicholson single hits No. 1 on bluegrass radio

By Mary Ann Enloe | Jul 23, 2014

"Why don't you love me like my dog does?" That's the question Canton's Darren Nicholson asks on his No. 1 hit song that topped satellite radio bluegrass airplay charts for the month of June.

"The song was always so good to do live," Nicholson said recently by phone as he made his way to Nashville to appear with Balsam Range on the Grand Ole Opry.  "But I certainly didn't think radio would latch onto it like it has."

Nicholson's primary job is playing mandolin with well-known International Bluegrass Music Association award winning band Balsam Range. When he has time, Nicholson and longtime friend Steve Sutton, along with bass player and vocalist Kevin Sluder and Griff Martin, also a singer who plays hair-on-fire guitar, field The Darren Nicholson Band. The red-hot four are popular with folks who yearn for barn-burning bluegrass and country music the way it used to be.

Sutton, an IBMA award winning banjo player who appeared regularly on the Grand Ole Opry while he attended Western Carolina University, toured with such stars as Rhonda Vincent and Alecia Nugent. Sutton knows talent, and he saw it in a young Nicholson a few years back.

"He bought me my first mandolin," said Nicholson, who is now considered one of the best mandolin players in the business.

Nicholson recently completed a well-received solo project, "Things Left Undone," which features some of the best musicians in Nashville, if not the best known. He used his own band for "Why Don't You Love Me Like My Dog Does?" and that's one of the reasons he's happy it's the breakout song.

"When I hear that on the radio, I know it's Steve and Griff and Kevin, and that makes it so special," he said. The Harley Allen song has been around awhile.  "Harley was king of the hill for years as far as writing songs. I had a ton of his albums and this was on some live stuff that he did. I liked it and I thought it would be fun for us to do," Nicholson continued.

Audiences love it. A man's best friend is his dog. A dog doesn't tell him to get off the couch and make more money. A dog doesn't ask him where he's been. A dog just loves him. "Why Don't You Love Me Like My Dog Does?" could be any man's plea.

"It's got a funny kind of turn to it," said Nicholson of his No. 1 hit.  "And it's real.  People like songs they can relate to."

To find out more about the Darren Nicholson Band, including schedules, visit or follow the Facebook account.