It has been said that the loudest word in the world is your own name. It is who you are, it is how you have been identified to the world and it is a huge part of your self-perception. Place-names can create strong mental images and add building blocks of self-identity that underscore a treasured sense of “where I’m from” or “who I really am.” These powerful feelings of place to which mountain folk cling help define a sense of home shared by those who live there.
Such is the name Balsam Range to a group of five outstanding acoustic musicians and singers from North Carolina. For their band name, they thoughtfully and respectfully adopted the name of a majestic range of mountains that surround part of their home county of Haywood, NC where the Smokies meet the Blue Ridge, the Balsam Range.
Big winners at the IBMA Awards with Vocal Group of the Year and Song of the Year (Moon Over Memphis) in 2015; Entertainer of the Year and Male Vocalist of the Year (Buddy Melton) in 2014, the band’s fifth album, Five, made its Billboard Chart debut at #4 and remained on the Billboard chart for an impressive 6 weeks. Additionally, Balsam Range consistently tops radio airplay lists with its history of top singles.
Balsam Range is comprised of five gifted friends who all hail from Western North Carolina. Tim Surrett delivers entertaining MC work as well as seasoned lead and harmony singing. Tim plays bass and he will occasionally share his talents on the resonator guitar. He charms with spontaneity, wit and professionalism. A stellar fiddler, Buddy Melton is also one of the most gifted tenor voices in Bluegrass and Americana today. His range and tone give Balsam Range its identifying sound. With his envied guitar style, Caleb Smith has been called “one of the top young guns of guitar.” He sings with both power and control, delivering a high energy song or a tender ballad with equal vocal skill. Darren Nicholson is a gifted mandolin player and harmony singer with tremendous enthusiasm for American heritage music. That twinkle in Darren’s eye says it all. He is usually up to something! Grammy Award winner, Marc Pruett brings more than 40 years of entertainment experience to the group. He brilliantly complements the ensemble with the intuitive, traditional three finger style that has made him one music’s most admired banjo players.
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.