For five outstanding acoustic musicians and singers from Haywood County, NC, choosing a band name was an important decision. So they thoughtfully and respectfully adopted the name of a majestic range of mountains that surround part of their home county, where the Smokies meet the Blue Ridge — the Balsam Range.
Founded in 2007, Balsam Range consists of five friends with unique experiences and backgrounds that blend 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, garnering chart-topping tunes and multiple awards including the coveted IBMA Album of the Year award for Papertown.
Meet the band:
Buddy Melton, vocals, fiddle – Buddy began his musical journey in college, learning to play fiddle. He performed with Jubal Foster before joining Balsam Range. Buddy is also a talented acoustic bass player who has performed regularly with David Holt and Doc Watson. He is probably best known for his unique tenor vocal that is a staple in the BR sound.
Darren Nicholson, vocals, mandolin – Darren has performed many times on the Grand Ole Opry stage with Alecia Nugent and has toured with The Crowe Brothers, among many other artists, traveling all over the world. Darren is a Grammy nominee and multiple IBMA award winner.
Marc Pruett, banjo – Grammy award-winning Marc Pruett had the honor of playing with Ricky Skaggs on many of Skaggs' albums. He led the Marc Pruett Band for 10 years, playing Bill Stanley’s BBQ in Asheville. Marc earned his honorary doctorate from Western Carolina University in 2010 for his contributions to Bluegrass Music. He also toured with James Monroe, Jimmy Martin and The Whites.
Caleb Smith, vocals, guitar – Caleb performed as a member of gospel group Harvest prior to joining Balsam Range. At that time, he was awarded Male Vocalist of the Year for the PowerGrass Music Awards. Caleb lends his songwriting talents to the band and is a talented luthier, building Smith Custom Guitars.
Tim Surrett, vocals, bass; dobro – Highly regarded in Southern Gospel music circles, Tim has performed with the Kingsmen Quartet, earning a place in the Southern Gospel Music Hall of Fame. He has also performed and recorded with Tony Rice, Ralph Stanley and Vince Gill. He has earned multiple awards for Gospel Musician of the Year.
"How could we possibly describe the feeling of standing in that circle? It's Church, it's Christmas, it's the end of the rainbow, the pot of gold and a dream come true! It's just about the highest honor these ol' country boys could ever imagine!"