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Balsam Range: Bluegrass from the heart of Haywood County

Written by Staff on April 30, 2015 – 4:33 pm -

By Marcie Gray

Balsam range

Balsam range

Have you ever visited a place that just feels majestic? Perhaps you are one of the fortunate few who are blessed enough to actually live in a place so beautiful you just don’t want to leave home. Nestled right where the Great Smoky Mountains meet the Blue Ridge Parkway is a little place called Haywood County. Surrounded by scenic views and rooted in Cherokee traditions, this area tells its own story. At the top of Water Rock Knob, the highest point on the Blue Ridge Parkway, one can stand and see 180 degrees of beautiful mountain peaks and river valleys as they view Balsam Range, the range of mountains that separates Haywood and Jackson counties in North Carolina.

Balsam Range

Balsam Range

Named for the place they call home, Balsam Range is not your run of the mill, back porch pickin’ kind of Bluegrass group. These five men have extensive musical credentials and impressive professional backgrounds, but one common bond they share sets them apart from any other group: hometown roots. Tim Surrett says, “We all live within a 15 mile radius of each other, and we are not the most talented musicians in Haywood County. There are some impeccable musicians in this area, but when we all came together, we knew we had something special.” Having roots in the same home town gives them a wonderful foundation, and these boys can make you want to put on your dancing boots!
imageBuddy Melton, Caleb Smith, Darren Nicholson, Marc Pruett and Tim Surrett joined together to form Balsam Range in 2007, and from the beginning their blend was amazing. Tim and Marc played on solo albums for both Buddy and Darren. Tim recalled, “Caleb and I knew each other from previous gospel work, and the guys all decided to get together to jam one night. Immediately, it was like, holy moly, this is pretty good! A couple of months later, Marc got a call and we played at the Grove Park Inn for John Boy and Billy. It was an enormous concert. The crowd went ape and it has just ballooned from there. We never intended to start a band. We just wanted to get together and have a good time making music.” Read more »


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