About | Balsam Range About | Balsam Range


Balsam Range from left to right: Marc Pruett, Buddy Melton, Tim Surrett, Darren Nicholson, Caleb Smith

Balsam Range from left to right: Marc Pruett, Buddy Melton, Tim Surrett, Darren Nicholson, Caleb Smith

It has been said that the loudest word in the world is your own name. It is who you are, it is how you have been identified to the world and it is a huge part of your self-perception. Place-names can create strong mental images and add building blocks of self-identity that underscore a treasured sense of “where I’m from” or “who I really am.” These powerful feelings of place to which mountain folk cling help define a sense of home shared by those who live there.

Such is the name Balsam Range to a group of five outstanding acoustic musicians and singers from North Carolina. For their band name, 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 Smokies meet the Blue Ridge, the Balsam Range.

Adding to an already impressive list of awards and honors, the band received numerous top honors in the 2014 IBMA Awards, including Entertainer of the Year. Balsam Range was also honored at Vocal Group of the Year. Buddy Melton was named Male Vocalist of the Year, and Tim Surrett received a Mentor Award.

The band’s fifth album, Five, made its Billboard Chart debut at #4 and remained on the Billboard chart for an impressive 6 weeks. Additionally, Balsam Range consistently tops radio airplay lists with its history of top singles.

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, 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.

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.



  • Balsam Range proudly endorses GHS Strings.
  • MusiciansBelt.com
  • Sennheiser Microphones and Ear Systems
  • Peterson Tuners
  • JH Audio
  • Chippewa Boots
  • D’Addario Bowed Strings
  • Blue Ridge Sound
  • For individual member endorsements, see the individual bio pages.


  • 2015 IBMA Vocal Group of the Year WINNER
  • 2015 IBMA Song of the Year WINNER, “Moon Over Memphis”
  • 2014 IBMA Entertainer of the Year WINNER
  • 2014 IBMA Vocal Group of the Year WINNER
  • 2013 IBMA Album of the Year WINNER, Papertown
  • 2011 IBMA Song of the Year WINNER, “Trains I Missed”
  • 5 Consecutive Months at #1 on the Bluegrass Unlimited National Airplay Album Chart
  • 7 National #1 Songs. Including: “Last Train To Kitty Hawk”, “Caney Fork River”, “Trains I Missed”, “Gonna Be Movin”, “Row By Row”, “Could Do You Some Good”, & “Any Old Road”
  • “Papertown” album #2 in “PopMatters Best of Bluegrass 2012”
  • “Papertown” album #2 in CMT Edge 10 Favorite Americana Albums of 2012
  • 2011 IBMA Emerging Artist of the Year nominee
  • 2011 IBMA Album of the Year nominee, Trains I Missed
  • 2010 IBMA Emerging Artist of the Year nominee
  • WNCW, the #1 flagship bluegrass station, voted Trains I Missed as #1 on their Top 50 Bluegrass CDs of 2010, and #5 on their top 100 overall from any genre (ahead of Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, and Robert Plant)
  • Voted Best Old-Time/Bluegrass Band of 2012 in Asheville’s Mountain Xpress Newspaper
  • Part of the 2012-2013 Zac Brown Band Southern Ground Music Festival lineup (www.zacbrownband.com)
  • First band to play at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, NC
  • Balsam Range was presented the “keys to the city” in Canton, NC where they were honored with an official declaration of “Balsam Range Day” in their home county for their positive contributions to their community
  • Balsam Range has raised over a half-million dollars for various regional and national charities