Balsam Range takes home big IBMA honor
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Balsam Range takes home big IBMA honor

Thursday, October 2, 2014 – Balsam Range had a big night at the International Bluegrass Music Association Awards on Thursday in Raleigh, N.C.

Balsam Range, a band of friends from North Carolina's Haywood County, was honored with the coveted IBMA Entertainer of the Year Award. They also took Vocal Group of the Year

Guitar virtuoso and singer, Caleb Smith, however, nearly missed the big moment.

Balsam Range had just performed "Moon Over Memphis" and Smith was backstage talking guitars with fellow-artist, Del McCoury. Guitars are a favorite topic for Smith, a luthier who makes Caleb Smith Guitars. When the Entertainer of the Year award was announced, McCoury had to interrupt Smith, saying "Son, I think they just said your name." Smith made it to the stage in time to accept the award alongside Tim Surrett, Buddy Melton, Marc Pruett and Darren Nicholson.

Balsam Ridge's singer/fiddler Buddy Melton was named Male Vocalist of the Year, while Amanda Smith took the Female Vocalist of the Year honor. Both were first time winners.

Flatt Lonesome won the Emerging Artist of the Year award.

Album of the year went to Noam Pikelny for "Plays Kenny Baker Plays Bill Monroe." Hall of Fame inductee Dr. Neil Rosenberg of Canada won Best Liner Notes for the same album.

The 2014 Instrumental Group of the Year is Frank Solivan and Dirty Kitchen.

Song of the Year went to "Dear Sister" by the Claire Lynch Band.

Dailey & Vincent took home the Gospel Recorded Performance of the Year for "Won't It Be Wonderful There."

Instrumental recorded performance of the year goes to Special Consensus' "Thank God I'm a Country Boy." The band also won Recorded Event of the Year for "Wild Montana Skies."

In musician categories, Pikelny is the IBMA Banjo Player of the Year. Bryan Sutton was named Guitar Player of the Year. Jason Carter of Del McCoury Band was honored with Fiddle Player of the Year. Adam Steffey of The Boxcars was named Mandolin Player of the Year. Phil Leadbetter was recognized as dobro player of the year, while Barry Bales won the honor on bass.

At an earlier luncheon program, Tim Surrett of Balsam Range was honored with the Mentor Award (one of a series of special honors called Momentum Awards) for his inspiration and work with young and developing artists. Others receiving the honor were Instrumentalists of the Year: Dominick Leslie (mandolin), Jake Stargel (guitar), Cory Walker (banjo), Vocalist of the Year: Jesse Gregory (Jesse Gregory & Faultline), Band of the Year: The Barefoot Movement, New Festival or Venue of the Year: Bluegrass Situation showcases at Bonaroo & Americana Music Association and Industry Involvement of the Year: Ashlee-Jean Trott, Music City Roots/Bluegrass Underground

Bluegrass Hall of Fame inductees, the original Seldom Scene and Rosenberg were honored in special presentations. Rosenberg's induction was celebrated with a performance from fellow Canadians The Spinney Brothers, joined by fiddle players Michael Cleveland, Stuart Duncan, and Jason Carter. Original members of the Seldom Scene - Ben Eldridge, John Starling and Tom Gray - accepted their award to a standing ovation, noting the late John Duffey and Mike Auldridge in their acceptance speech. The band - both original members and the current band - then performed their signature hit "Wait A Minute."

The IBMAs handed out special awards as well:

Bluegrass Songwriter of the Year: Tim Stafford

Broadcaster of the Year: Kyle Cantrell, Bluegrass Junction, Sirius XM

Print/Media Person of the Year: Chris Jones, writer at Bluegrass Today

Bluegrass Event of the Year: Bluegrass Underground

Best Graphic Design for a Recorded Project: Lou Everhart (designer), Lonely Comes Easy, Chris Jones & the Night Drivers, Rebel Records

Distinguished Achievement Award recipients: Bill Keith, Deering Banjos, the European Bluegrass Music Association, Hillbilly at Harvard, and The Delmore Brothers.

Hosted by Lee Ann Womack and Jerry Douglas, the 2014 IBMA Awards Show featured performances from The Boxcars, Lynch, Gibson Brothers, Della Mae, Blue Highway, Pikelny, Del McCoury Band, Balsam Range, Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen and individual performances from Womack and Douglas.


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CD reviews for Balsam Range

CD review - Aeonic Formed in 2007, Balsam Range already earned many international Bluegrass Music Association Awards across six albums. On their seventh, the acoustic quintet features four-part harmonies on most tunes, while the prevailing instruments are fiddle, mandolin, banjo, upright bass and guitar. Balsam Range is Buddy Melton (fiddle, vocals), Darren Nicholson (mandolin, vocals), Dr. Marc Pruett (banjo), Tim Surrett (bass, Dobro, Weissenborn, vocals) and Caleb Smith (guitar, vocals). The curious ...
CD review - Mountain Overture Since forming a little more than a decade ago, North Carolina-based Balsam Range (Buddy Melton, fiddle; Darren Nicholson, mandolin; Tim Surrett, bass; Marc Pruett, banjo; and Caleb Smith, guitar) have established themselves over the course of six critically applauded albums (not counting a Christmas album, though that was well done too) as one of the more dynamic and accomplished bands on the modern bluegrass scene, with a basket full of IBMA awards to back that claim up. ...
CD review - It's Christmas Time You can have your silver bells for Christmas time in the city, but if you're looking to experience a mountain Christmas, look no further than Balsam Range. "It's Christmas Time" opens with the moody "Christmas Lullaby," and ends on an instrumental note, with a bluegrass-y "Jingle Bells." This six-song EP is heavy on familiar holiday songs, including "The First Noel," "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" and "Hark! The Harold Angeles Sing. ...


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