Balsam Range Talks 'Aeonic' Album, Award Wins & More: Listen to 'The Rambler' Song Premiere (Exclusive)


Aeonic, which the dictionary defines as “lasting for an immeasurably or indefinitely lengthy time frame,” appears a becoming album title for a band that has spent greater than a decade constructing some of the profitable careers in bluegrass music. 

Balsam Range took high honors at September's 2018 International Bluegrass Music Association Awards, successful entertainer of the 12 months, male vocalist and bass participant, they usually're constructing on that momentum with the Friday launch of Aeonic on Mountain Home Music Co., an imprint below their longtime residence, Arden, North Carolina-based Crossroads Label Group.

“It’s symbolic to me,” vocalist Buddy Melton says of the title of the band’s seventh studio album.  “I’m happy with the truth that I nonetheless sing with the identical 5 guys after a decade of taking part in collectively — no adjustments, frequently pushing, making an attempt new issues and shifting ahead. We needed one thing symbolic, distinctive and artistic and ‘aeonic’ is a time period meaning these issues. It means persevering with, enduring and lasting.”

Formed in 2007 of their residence state of North Carolina, Balsam Range is Melton on fiddle/lead and tenor vocals,Tim Surrett on bass/dobro/baritone and lead vocals, Dr. Marc Pruett on banjo, Caleb Smith on guitar/lead and baritone vocals and Darren Nicholson on mandolin/octave mandolin and lead vocals, baritone and low tenor vocals.  

The band, which has positioned 4 units within the high 5 of Billboard's Bluegrass Albums chart, acquired their title from the Great Balsam Range, a mountain vary that surrounds their residence county. “We thought it was a bit pretentious to have ‘nice’ in there, so we simply stripped that off of it and known as us Balsam Range,” Melton says. 

The band’s IBMA Awards victories in September brings its complete depend to 13, together with entertainer and vocal group of the 12 months in 2014. “We attempt to have our personal sound and our songs have originality,” Melton says of what fuels the band’s success. “Showing up and being dependable and being good guys, none of that ever hurts both,” he provides with a chuckle.

Diversifying has additionally performed a task within the band’s development. They’ve carried out with the Atlanta Pops Orchestra Ensemble they usually host their very own annual three-day occasion: the Balsam Range Art of Music Festival in Lake Junaluska, N.C., held the weekend after Thanksgiving. “We did a live performance collection for years, and we determined to chunk off a bit greater piece and attempt to placed on a two- or three- day pageant. Last 12 months was our third occasion and it’s grown yearly. We name it The Art of Music Festival as a result of it encompasses extra than simply bluegrass. We’ve had the orchestra there and we’ve had some blues and jazz teams. We’ve had nation teams, a whole lot of bluegrass as properly, however there’s a little little bit of all the pieces and, just like the mix of orchestra, and bluegrass. They all go properly collectively.”

Balsam Range’s orchestral collaborations started when the Zac Brown Band’s John Driskell Hopkins enlisted them to play on certainly one of his initiatives, after which Irish producer Brian Byrne recruited them to play on 2017’s Goldenhair, an album of music set to James Joyce’s phrases. “He had a music or two that he needed a bluegrass band and he known as us,” says Melton. “It was fairly an honor to be on it.”

Balsam Range has continued to play periodically with the Atlanta Pops. “We actually loved engaged on these different items, so we began having a composer from the Atlanta Pops writing music to suit our preparations,” Melton says. “[Playing with them] is a blast. It’s only a massive full sound. Adding the orchestra to it simply brings new feelings, new emotions and new dynamics to the songs. I hope we are able to do an increasing number of of that.  We by no means need to depart what we do as a five-piece, however it’s actually enjoyable to problem your self and open your thoughts to different music.”

What Balsam Range does finest is on full show with Aeonic, and the band offers followers an early pay attention with a Billboard unique on “The Rambler” beneath. “I’m a fan of lyrics and Adam has a beautiful manner of portray this stunning image together with his lyrics, and nonetheless leaves the listener the chance to form of coloration it,” Melton says of singer/songwriter Adam Wright. “He has that sensible manner of telling a narrative, however leaving it to the place it could possibly be interpreted by everyone or anyone in their very own manner, so I’m an enormous fan of his writing.”

In recording Aeonic, Melton says they needed to push boundaries however not go to far and alienate any followers. “We’re taking with us our traditions, but in addition making an attempt new issues. We all the time are incorporating new kinds and artistically hold an open thoughts. There are model new songs and some cowl songs which might be interpreted a bit in another way on this album. It’s a enjoyable course of exploring artistically what we are able to do collectively.”

Among the covers is the Beatles’ “If I Needed Someone.” “Tim was all the time a fan of that and  talked about [trying] it a number of instances over the previous few years,” Melton says. “He liked the harmonies and the melody construction of it. So we determined to sort out it and it changed into a very enjoyable music on this mission.”

The band has already launched three songs from the brand new album — “The Girl Who Invented the Wheel,” “Hobo Blues,” and “Get Me Gone”—and Melton is anxious for followers to listen to your entire mission. “Everybody interprets songs in another way and I believe it’s essential to have one thing for everyone on a mission to make it well-rounded. Aeonic has that,” he says. “It has some quirky, enjoyable songs. It has some significant songs about struggles, and songs that make you are feeling glad and neglect concerning the struggles. It has a bit little bit of all the pieces.”