Barron Ruth



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 western North Carolina. 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 Great Smoky Mountains meet the Blue Ridge, the Balsam Range.

The group’s ascent 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, they have garnered ten International Bluegrass Music Association Awards on the heels of six critically acclaimed albums. Balsam Range has left audiences spellbound while headlining major festivals from coast to coast, selling out venues across the nation, and appearing multiple times at the Grand Ole Opry.

On their newest release, "Mountain Voodoo", the quintet cleverly captures traditional yet contemporary sounds. There are fiery instrumental parts alternating with deep heavy ballads, overlaid by the vocal harmonies the group has become known for.  Debuting at number four, "Mountain Voodoo" remained on the Billboard chart for nineteen weeks. The first single, “Blue Collar Dreams” spent 3 consecutive months at the number one spot on the Bluegrass Today Charts.




For Haywood County’s own Balsam Range, the bluegrass quintet has spent the better part of the last decade riding this fine line between tending to their roots, but also finding the freedom to take flight when the feeling is right. What [Balsam Range has] created is an entity that holds tight to its heritage, but aims to address their true potential as an award-winning act that has found cross-over success after years of hitting the road and getting up onstage every night.” --Smoky Mountain News, Garret K. Woodward

“They kick the album off with a bang. Pure (what they at one time called) Newgrass, the kind of stuff on which Tony Rice and Ricky Skaggs based their reputations. Acoustic guitar (mostly picked), bass, mandolin, fiddle and banjo, and voices. The voices are crucial. You can jig and reel and you can breakdown without vocals but you cannot have the best of what bluegrass offers without voices. Think Seldom Scene and Doyle Lawson. Think harmonies sung by angels. Think harmonies stacked to the ceiling. There isn't anything like it, or as some of my friends would say, ‘There ain't nothin' lak it.’”  -- No Depression, Frank Gutch Jr.

“They [have] that intangible thing, that mojo of musical symbiosis. Each person brings just the right combination of voice, timing, groove, energy, and picking to fill every gap.” --Bluegrass Today, Brian Paul Swenk

“Balsam Range's new album, Mountain Voodoo, has taken the band to the top of the bluegrass charts with its mix of bluegrass, gospel, and honky-tonk.”  --The State of Things’ Frank Stasio (podcast stream)

“ less than a decade Balsam Range has hit the plateau of excellence few groups achieve. Like the Del McCoury Band, Blue Highway, and Alison Krauss & Union Station before them, a new release from Balsam Range is measured against their individual legacy.” --Lonesome Road Review, Donald Teplyske

“‘Voodoo Doll,’ written by Jeb Stuart Anderson (‘I Like It, I Love It’) is another song that unfolds unexpectedly, and serves as the album’s centerpiece. A dark, southern gothic tale that boldly embraces a jam band rhythm, one well imagines this performed by the Infamous Stringdusters or Sam Bush.” --Lonesome Road Review, Donald Teplyske



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