Balsam Range is a band steeped in tradition. These five exceptional musicians and singers from western North Carolina have been racking up awards since coming together in 2007, but 2018 was their biggest year yet – the band won International Bluegrass Music Association’s Entertainer of the Year. It’s a perfect time for them to make their FreshGrass debut, and, with our diverse lineup celebrating roots music in its many beautiful forms, they’ll be holding down the traditional and progressive bluegrass sounds that are the heart and soul of the festival.
“Balsam Range crosses plenty of boundaries, hitting a deft balance between the revered traditions of old-school bluegrass and the hopped-up eclecticism of contemporary newgrass. Equal parts country-flavored bluegrass and 1970s-vintage progressive country, Balsam Range sound like a band that might have been playing Austin’s old Armadillo World Headquarters back in the day.”
– Rolling Stone
“It’s a band that performs music with meaning, melody, beat, and enormous drive in complex musical arrangements with wall-of-sound intensity reminiscent of Southern rock while always maintaining its acoustic roots.” – No Depression
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 Great Balsam Range.
The members of Balsam Range are extremely proud of their home of Haywood County, NC and invite you all to come visit their beautiful part of the country!
The 2018 International Bluegrass Music Association’s Entertainer of the Year, Balsam Range, has become one of the genre’s most award-winning acts. Since forming in 2007, the group has garnered 13 IBMA awards on the heels of 8 critically-acclaimed albums. Balsam Range has left audiences spellbound while headlining major festivals from coast-to-coast, selling out venues across the nation and in multiple appearances at the Grand Ole Opry. The band collaborated with the Atlanta Pops Orchestra Ensemble to record 2 albums, the second of which, Mountain Overture, debuted on the Billboard Bluegrass Chart at #5 and the Classical Crossover Chart at #6. Their previous outing, Mountain Voodoo, debuted at #4 on the Billboard Bluegrass Albums Chart and remained on that chart for 45 weeks. Three singles from that album reached #1 on the Bluegrass Today Chart, including “Blue Collar Dreams,” which spent three consecutive months at the top. The band most recently claimed the #1 radio chart spot with their single “The Girl Who Invented The Wheel.” In addition to winning Entertainer of the Year, Balsam Range vocalist Buddy Melton won IBMA’s Male Vocalist of the Year and bass player Tim Surrett won IBMA’s Bass Player of the Year in 2018.