Balsam Range: Press Releases
Balsam Range is Casting Acoustic Spells with Their Sixth Album Mountain Voodoo Due out on November 11 on Mountain Home Music Company
Asheville, NC — Balsam Range’s assent to the top of the Bluegrass world has left a well-marked trail of success since the band’s inception in 2007. One of the genre’s most award winning artists in recent years garnering ten International Bluegrass Music Association Awards to date with five critically acclaimed albums, Balsam Range has put on live performances across the nation, including multiple Grand Old Opry appearances that have left audiences spellbound. Nominated for three International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Awards (Entertainer, Vocal Group, and Vocalist of the Year) for 2016, Balsam Range is offering something that is sure to continue to mesmerize fans of Bluegrass and beyond with their new release Mountain Voodoo, due out November 11 on Mountain Home. Mountain Voodoo is like the book of life “Chapter Six” for Balsam Range; 13-tracks filled with songs of journey, home, sense of place, hardcore stomping drive, and longing. There are fiery instrumental parts alternating with heavy, deep ballads overlaid by the vocal harmonies the group has become known for.
Balsam Range is Buddy Melton (Fiddle, Lead and Tenor Vocals), Darren Nicholson (Mandolin, Octave Mandolin, Lead Vocals, Baritone and Low Tenor Vocals), Dr. Marc Pruett (Banjo), Tim Surrett (Bass, Dobro, Baritone and Lead Vocals), and Caleb Smith (Guitar, Lead & Baritone Vocals). The five original members are all acoustic musicians and singers from North Carolina and they thoughtfully and respectfully adopted the name of a majestic range of mountains that surrounds part of their home county of Haywood, NC where the Smokies meet the Blue Ridge, the Balsam Range.
Picturing the story of Mountain Voodoo…Imagine yourself, if you can, high up on a ridge in the mountains of North Carolina at midnight under a full moon, looking through the smoky nighttime haze at the surrounding ridges all covered in Balsam firs. It’s a scene of life engulfed in strong but muted tones, crisp air, bubbling springs, and the power of uncertain mystery. The springs carry the mystery down and down, feeding the creeks and streams that feed the ponds and the small farms, and the small towns and the people in them, and the works they create by day.
Then, somehow imagine that there is a soundtrack to all this – to all the old tales, lives lived, and even the scenery itself. It sounds like adventure glimpsing into the unknown, but remembering family and friends and always wanting to return home. Yes, there’s a dualistic nature about it, but the story always finishes with the pull of the mountains, the people, and the places.
This environment, this background, and this living culture is the backdrop that chooses the songs and creates the rhythms and styles, that voices the vocals and fingers the strings, that casts acoustic spells on every audience every time. When Balsam Range performs, a joyous magical mysterious musical mist enchants the audience as well as the band. Buddy, Caleb, Darren, Marc, and Tim become the messengers and the crowd is transported to that place. This is what is Balsam Range—this is Mountain Voodoo.
The mystical deep jam of “Voodoo Doll” is a fun creative twist on the age-old tale of broken hearted love loss and the attempt of passing one’s heartache off on mystical curses rather than accepting reality. Written by Jeb Anderson many years ago, the band has wanted to record it for a long time, after Melton first heard it performed by a dear friend and fellow artist known as “Tall Paul”. It is not your typical bluegrass song; It could just as easily be performed by a rock band.
There are multiple songs written by Balsam Range “staff writer” Milan Miller, including the catchy opening track, “Something ‘Bout That Suitcase,” which Miller penned along with Beth Husband. Buddy Melton, a longtime fan of lyrics that make you think, and IBMA Vocalist of the Year nominee for 2016, asks, “How many times have you seen a stranger traveling through life and wondered, what is their story? Where are they going? What has brought them to this place? We all have and it’s that curiosity and interest in other people that brings society together. Maybe it’s the human inherent caring spirit that defines us most or at least gives us hope for humanity. ‘Suitcase’ is a song we can all relate to and one that will at least have you looking around the airport terminal with curiosity the next time you fly the friendly skies.”
“Blue Collar Dreams” is a working class anthem, written by Aaron Bibelhauser, it had all the elements for Balsam Range to transform it into a great bluegrass song to comfort the frustrations of working for the hard-to-attain American Dream. From the first note of the mandolin kick off you realize quickly that things are going to get tense but in a good way.
“Eldorado Blue” is a story of finding oneself and recognizing contentment in life is something we can all stand to do; whether it means moving away or staying in what may seem an unlikely location to achieve it, is a blessing. “The Girl From The Highlands” is another journey song inspired by Miller’s travels through the Highlands years ago and the stories of many Scottish Highlanders who traveled to the US for work but often couldn’t afford to bring family along. Balsam Range spices it up with Tony Rice styled vocals and Caleb’s guitar licks which capture that same vibe and groove.
Mountain Voodoo is thematic of life in Western North Carolina, from the haunting and lonesome “I Hear the Mountains”, to the Honky Tonk of “Hello Heartache,” to the rip-roaring banjo-led “Chain Gang Blues,” to the sacred and soothing “Rise and Shine,” and Gospel-inspired and powerful “Wish You Were Here.”
Balsam Range fills the air with traditional, yet contemporary sounds, things that are new, yet still somehow familiar. Mountain Voodoo is a follow up to the band’s fifth album, Five (2014), which made its Billboard Chart debut at #4 and remained on the Billboard chart for 12 weeks. The album excelled on the Bluegrass Unlimited National Airplay Album Chart, spending 5 consecutive months at #1 with seven #1 songs, earning the group the 2015 IBMA Awards for Vocal Group of the Year and Song of the Year for “Moon Over Memphis.”
Elements of jazz, country, gospel, swing, and old-time music are all infused into the fresh sound of this unique Southern band. It’s five distinct personalities creating one remarkable musical experience. It’s the award-winning Balsam Range and they are excited to bring Mountain Voodoo to the world this year.
Balsam Range Takes Top Honors at IBMA Awards: Mountain Home Music Company artists honored for excellence in several categories
Nashville, TN – It was a big night for Balsam Range at the 2014 International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) awards, which were announced during a red carpet event at the annual World of Bluegrass convention in Raleigh, NC.
Singer/Fiddler Buddy Melton was named Male Vocalist of the Year and shared his heartfelt gratitude from the stage. Balsam Range was honored as Vocal Group of the Year, and in the final award of the night, this band of friends from North Carolina’s Haywood County was honored with the coveted IBMA Entertainer of the Year Award.
Guitar virtuoso and singer, Caleb Smith, however, nearly missed the big moment.
Balsam Range had just performed “Moon Over Memphis” and Caleb was backstage talking guitars with fellow-artist, Del McCoury. Guitars are, after all, a favorite topic for Smith, a luthier who makes Caleb Smith Guitars. When the Entertainer of the Year award was announced, McCoury had to interrupt Smith, saying “Son, I think they just said your name.” No fret, Caleb made it to the stage in time to accept the award alongside Tim Surrett, Buddy Melton, Marc Pruett and Darren Nicholson.
Label-mates at Mountain Home Music Company also received IBMA awards. Adam Steffey of The Boxcars was named Mandolin Player of the Year, and Flatt Lonesome won the Emerging Artist of the Year award. At an earlier luncheon program, Tim Surrett of Balsam Range was honored with the Mentor Award (one of a series of special honors called Momentum Awards) for his inspiration and work with young and developing artists.
Balsam Range recently released its fifth album, FIVE. The band’s previous release, PAPERTOWN, was named 2013 IBMA Album of the Year.
IBMA Awards are decided by a vote of the professional membership of the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA), the trade association for the bluegrass music industry. The IBMA Awards Show was broadcast live on SiriusXM Satellite Radio (Bluegrass Junction), and streamed for viewing by Music City Roots.
Nashville, TN — At a luncheon in Raleigh, N.C., as part of the annual World of Bluegrass event, the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) announced the winners of the Momentum Awards, a number of special honors to recognize excellence and achievement in a variety of areas in the industry.
Tim Surrett of Balsam Range was honored with the Mentor Award, given to a bluegrass professional who has made a significant impact on the lives and careers of newcomers to the bluegrass industry.
“Ours is a creative community known for supporting one another and for giving back,” Tim says. “I’m very touched by this recognition, but everything I do is simply part of a greater tradition in the Bluegrass world. It’s a world I’m grateful to be a part of, and frankly, I have to admit, working with gifted young people is no work at all. It’s my honor and it’s a lot of fun!”
Winners were chosen by committee through a multi-stage process involving both musicians and music industry leaders.
Crossroads/Mountain Home President, Mickey Gamble added his thoughts on Surrett’s win: “It is well deserved. Tim loves mentoring young artists and his work in the studio is inspiring. The only thing greater than his talent is his heart.”
Balsam Range is also nominated for Entertainer of the Year, Vocal Group of the Year, Instrumental Group of the Year and singer/fiddler Buddy Melton is nominated for Male Vocalist of the Year in the annualannual IBMA Awards to be held ThursdayThursday of this week.
IBMA Entertainer of the Year Nominee, Balsam Range remains firmly at the top of the Bluegrass charts with “Moon Over Memphis.”
“Moon Over Memphis” is the Number One Bluegrass song on the charts again this week, marking two straight months for the upbeat and contagious tune at No. 1 on the Bluegrass Today Monthly Chart, and three straight weeks on the weekly chart. “Moon Over Memphis” features the deft vocals of IBMA Male Vocalist nominee, Buddy Melton, and that always remarkable Balsam Range pickin’.
If you would like to own a print of the spectacular original cover art for Balsam Range’s album, Five, which depicts the “Moon Over Memphis” it is available in the store section of balsamrange.com.
“It [the original artwork] was painted by a great artist friend of ours, Nancy Hilliard Joyce. She is amazing! Get one for yourself to commemorate this great song,” said Tim Surrett.
Balsam Range: New Album Available Today: FIVE is the latest project from IBMA Album of the Year winning band
Five exemplifies Balsam Range as one of the most remarkable bands in Acoustic music. If the goal was to elevate the level of songs, performance, production value, and excitement, then Five surely marks the successful achievement of that goal.
From deep in the Appalachians where the Great Smoky Mountains meet the Blue Ridge come the gifted men of Balsam Range, creatively blending Bluegrass, Folk, Gospel and Jazz into a new American acoustic music experience. Mountain Home Recording artists founded in 2007, Balsam Range is five friends with unique experiences and backgrounds blending together effortlessly to form their distinctive sound. Since bursting onto the scene, Balsam Range has made a definite mark in the Bluegrass and Acoustic music world.
The band’s 2010 release Trains I Missed brought in a #1 hit and Bluegrass Song of the Year award for its title track. Papertown (2012) built on that momentum with five consecutive months as the #1 album on Bluegrass radio, and won the 2013 IBMA Album of the Year award.
In the wake of Papertown’s success, expectations have been high.
“Papertown was received so well that we were a little anxious about what we could do next,” said Tim Surrett, vocalist and bass player for the band. “How do we follow an Album of the Year? We finally just went in there and made the best record we could and had some fun.”
The band has a consistent knack for conveying emotion with power. The result is a heartfelt delivery of tributes to working class heroes, an original Gospel a cappella song, a driving instrumental, and even a John Denver classic. The group draws from diverse influences and original sources while giving each track the Balsam Range treatment.
The band has also just announced its revamped fan benefit site, www.balsamnation.com which offers free music, discounts and exclusive merchandise to its growing population of dedicated fans. Information on Balsam Nation is available through the band web site. Additionally, Balsam Range has posted a fun video on the making of the tune, “Moon Over Memphis.”
For more on Balsam Range, visit http://balsamrange.com
Balsam Range’s Five shows one of the best bands in Bluegrass at the top of their game.
The band’s 2010 release Trains I Missed brought in a #1 hit and Bluegrass Song of the Year award for its title track. Papertown (2012) built on that momentum with five consecutive months as the #1 album on Bluegrass radio, and won Bluegrass Album of the Year in 2013.
“Papertown was received so well that we were apprehensive about what we could do next,” said Tim Surrett, vocalist and bass player for the band. “How do we follow an Album of the Year? We just went out and made the best record we could make.”
If the goal of the band was to elevate the level of songs, performance, production value, and excitement, then Balsam Range Five hits every mark.
The band has a consistent knack for conveying emotion with power. The result is a heartfelt delivery of tributes to working class heroes, an original Gospel a cappella song, a pulsing instrumental, and even a John Denver classic. The group pulls from diverse influences and original sources while giving each track the Balsam Range treatment. Five is an album full of songs that have both drive and nuance.
With the band’s level of success and their delivery of great albums, expectations are high. Balsam Range Five will not disappoint but continues to raise the bar for the best bluegrass of today.
Balsam Range and the Mountain Home Music Company celebrated a record five months at the top of the Bluegrass Unlimited Album Chart for the band’s most recent album, Papertown.
The album stayed at the top of the Bluegrass industry’s longest published chart from February through June. Then followed a #1 song position for “Any Old Road Will Take You There,” written by Carl Jackson, Jerry Salley and the band’s own Marc Pruett in July on the Bluegrass Unlimited Song Chart.
“We are not sure if it is a record stay at the top for any band in Bluegrass, but it is a record for us as a company and for Balsam Range,” says Ty Gilpin, Senior Director of Marketing for the label. “The label and the band are honored that Bluegrass music broadcasters all over the world shared this album with listeners and supported it so well this year. Thank you, DJs!”
Balsam Range and Mountain Home celebrated in Asheville, NC with a dinner and presentation to the band and with a commemorative plaque from the label to mark the occasion.
Balsam Range’s Tim Surrett adds, “We want to thank the songwriters for their contributions. It’s the great songs that make a great album. We thank the staff of Mountain Home for getting our music out there and to Bluegrass radio and our fans for liking our music. It is really gratifying to see a project as personal to us as Papertown being accepted by a greater audience.”
Balsam Range, Papertown, and “Any Old Road Will Take You There” are all up for award nominations this year at the International Bluegrass Music Awards held on Thursday, September 26th in Raleigh, NC at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts Memorial Auditorium.
PHOTO CAPTION: Pictured L-R: Mickey Gamble; Mountain Home Executive Producer, Caleb Smith and Tim Surrett of Balsam Range; Van Atkins, Engineer on Papertown; Marc Pruett, Buddy Melton and Darren Nicholson of Balsam Range; Ty Gilpin, Senior Director of Marketing for Mountain Home.
See the new video from the album that stayed at #1 Bluegrass Unlimited album slot for 5 months in a row this year, Papertown!
It’s been a wide river to cross for Balsam Range.
Last year’s Bluegrass Song of the Year winners have tasted success, faced a potential demise, started a community from their fan base and created groundbreaking ways to get their music out. Now they top it all by delivering the best music of their career to date.
Introducing Papertown, Balsam Range’s fourth release on Mountain Home Music.
The album is a direct reflection of the events of the band’s last year, from winning the IBMA’s Bluegrass Song of the Year award for the song “Trains I Missed,” to a near fatal injury for lead singer Buddy Melton. As a result of these events, the band responded to an outpouring of support and joined with fans to create the community movement known as Balsam Nation whose ideals are reflected in the new album.
Papertown is a perfect mix of stellar tunes from award winning writers such as Carl Jackson, Jerry Salley, and Shawn Camp, as well as grassed up versions of familiar songs from the Allman Brothers and others. Add the band’s gospel cuts and a soulful version of Buddy and Julie Miller’s “Wide River to Cross,” and this album will appeal to a wide range of musical tastes.
A new Huffington Post article says, “This Asheville-based quintet brings it live and on records, too, where pure vocal splendor and wicked chops abound. Trust me, they are one of the best bluegrass bands on the planet. Their Allman Brothers cover is a flat-pickin’, fiddle fabo’, banjo burnin’, dobro droppin’, mando magnificent track from their fourth effort and destined-to-be radio staple classic.” – Dusty Wright, Culture Catch
Buddy Melton’s stellar comeback performance after his injury. Balsam Range performs “Wide River to Cross” at the Colonial Theater, Canton, NC, April 7th, 2012.
“Wide River to Cross” from Balsam Range’s new release, Papertown: