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 name, because it is who you are, it is how you have been identified to the world for the length of time you have had your name, and it is a huge part of your self-perception for your whole life.  A lot of people who live in Western North Carolina claim the antiquated names of the peaks and valleys and the lakes and rivers of this beautiful part of the Southern Appalachian Mountains as part of their language in ways that might equate to sharing a warm story with an old friend. Place-names can create strong mental images and add building blocks of self-identity that give way to a treasured sense of “where I’m from” or “who I really am.”  These feelings of place to which we mountain folk cling help define a majestic home shared by those lucky enough to live here.  And these mountain names often undergo a metamorphosis from the memories of “what I’ve experienced here” to virtually become extensions of ourselves.

Many of the names found on WNC maps are names of people or names taken from some early event that took place here…and some names on the map evoke images of strength and spirituality.  These names of ridges and hollers…trout streams and ruby mines…and roads and trails define areas of culture and heritage meaningful to those who cling to treasured memories of time spent growing up or living here.  These mountain places of beauty are reflected within us and have become part of who we are as a people.

Such is the name BALSAM RANGE to a group of five outstanding acoustic musicians and singers from Haywood County, 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…where the Smokies meet the Blue Ridge…the BALSAM RANGE.

Now meet the band…BALSAM RANGE.  To encapsulate, Tim Surrett delivers entertaining MC work as well as seasoned lead and harmony singing.  Tim also plays bass most of the time, and he will occasionally move his talents to the resonator guitar.  His presentations are spontaneous, polished and professional.  Buddy Melton is one of the most gifted tenor voices in bluegrass and Americana today.  His range and tones largely give BALSAM RANGE its identifying sound, and his stellar fiddle playing supports the band’s programs equally.  Caleb Smith has been called “one of the top young guns of guitar.” His envied unique guitar style pairs perfectly with his energetic power singing.  Caleb also delivers ballads with a perfectly toned, believable tenderness.  Darren Nicholson is one of the most gifted mandolins players and harmony singers ever to come from the Southern Mountains.  Darren’s studied, energetic performances rival those of the classic old guard performers, and his enthusiasm for American heritage music styles has no bounds.  Marc Pruett plays traditional three finger banjo in intuitive and powerful ways that blend and compliment the influences in the band of jazz and bluegrass…country and gospel…and swing and old-time. Marc adds a credible entertainment experience of over 40 years to this fresh, unique Southern band…BALSAM RANGE.

Now that you have this introduction, join in the musical fun with BALSAM RANGE by hanging out here in their corner of the e-universe.  Even better, come out sometime and share an enjoyable evening of fabulous American acoustic music with these five men…BALSAM RANGE.

Here is a one-sheet about the band.


  • 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.


  • 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