Casting Acoustic spells, Balsam Range releases their sixth album, Mountain Voodoo, on November 11, 2016 on Mountain Home Music Company. The band 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. Mountain Voodoo is like the book of life “Chapter Six” for the band; 13-tracks filled with songs of journey, home, sense of place, hardcore drive, and longing.
“Balsam Range can lay down that stomping bluegrass as well as any band but the ballads clearly set them apart. They also add just the right touch of contemporary to their sound, separating them from so many who play that old-timey sound.” Elmore Magazine’s Jim Hynes continues, “The spirit and ambience of the mountains, as seen in CD cover art with the smoky haze set against the fir trees, not only imbues their sound but seems to create a kind of magical intrigue when you listen to ‘I Hear the Mountains’ and some of the others.”
Since the band’s inception in 2007, they have left a trail of success towards the top of the Bluegrass World. 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 have made multiple Grand Old Opry appearances, were presented by the Governor of North Carolina the NC Order of the Long Leaf Pine in 2015 for a “proven record of extraordinary service to the state, and extra effort in their careers”, and were the first band to play at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, NC in 2010. They have left audiences spellbound, and now Balsam Range is offering something that is sure to continue to mesmerize fans of Bluegrass and beyond with Mountain Voodoo.
“To be sure, Balsam Range fronts a traditional bluegrass sound, but Mountain Voodoo displays depth and texture not found in contemporary straight-ahead bluegrass groups.” Country Standard Time’s Fred Smith says, “They wear it well, and Mountain Voodoo is a fine snapshot of Balsam Range today.”
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, Dr. 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.
“They kick the album off with a bang.” No Depression’s Frank Gutch Jr. says, “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 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, says, “‘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.”
Mountain Voodoo is thematic of life in Western North Carolina, from the harmonically sentimental melodic “I Hear the Mountains” [Milan Miller, Davis Raines], to the the mystical deep jam of “Voodoo Doll” [Jeb Stuart Anderson], to the Honky Tonk of “Hello Heartache” [Milan Miller, Glenn Simmons], to the rip-roaring banjo led “Chain Gang Blues” [Marvin C. Davis] the sacred and soothing “Rise and Shine” [Mark Bumgarner, Aimee Bumgarner] the Gospel inspired and powerful “Wish You Were Here” [James M Stover, Michael C Williams], the vividly picturesque “Eldorado Blue” [James Ellis, Milan Miller], to the groovy “The Girl From The Highlands” [Milan Miller, Thomm Jutz], and the emotionally powerful “Lines In The Sand” [Craig Market, Barry Bales].
“Blue Collar Dreams [is] a hard-luck, hard-workin’ song from Aaron Bibelhauser, sung as a duet by Caleb Smith and Buddy Melton. And in true bluegrass style, this workin’ man’s blues is presented with a cheerful, upbeat sound,” says John Lawless with Bluegrass Today. Watch a video of Balsam Range performing the song in studio → http://bluegrasstoday.com/
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.
For more information, tour dates, and more, please visit www.balsamrange.com.