Balsam Range heads to IBMA awards with seven nominations

By Mary Ann Enloe | Sep 18, 2013
Photo by: Mountaineer file photo When event organizers book Balsam Range, turnout can be expected to soar. The group is headed to the International Bluegrass Music Association awards in Raleigh next week with seven nominations.

Bluegrass comes to Raleigh big-time Sept. 24-28 when the International Bluegrass Music Association's World of Bluegrass Week blows in.

Balsam Range, Haywood County's own internationally known bluegrass-and-more band, will be front and center, looking for an award or two.

Balsam Range's nominations include: Entertainer of the Year, Vocal Group, Album of the Year ("Papertown"), Gospel Recorded Event, and Recorded Event.

The band has not one, but two, songs proposed for Song of the Year:  "Any Old Road," written by band member and Grammy-award winning banjo master Marc Pruett along with Carl Jackson and Jerry Salley, and "Papertown," penned by Waynesville native and Tuscola graduate Milan Miller, now a successful song writer/performer in Nashville.

In an earlier interview, Balsam Range award-winning mandolin player and vocalist Darrin Nicholson said that having two songs competing against each other may not work out well as far as winning that category, "...But how awesome is that to have two songs nominated?" he asked.

Tim Surrett, Balsam Range's bass player, vocalist and emcee, said: "We're honored to be mentioned in there with all those great groups."

Balsam Range is in high cotton. Competitors for honors are such stellar stars  as Doyle Lawson & Quicksand, Darin & Brooke Aldridge and the Gibson Brothers and others equally as well known in the business.

Voting was open only to IBMA members who have some professional connection to the bluegrass world.

Surrett serves on the board of directors of IBMA. Last week he said that pre-registration for the event appeared "...way past the breaking point." That's good news to those who were afraid moving the festival from Nashville to Raleigh wouldn't work.

"Everybody in the business loves Nashville, but in Nashville IBMA is just one of many music awards shows," Surrett said. "In Raleigh, we're 'it' and they've rolled out the red carpet for us."

The state capital's successful bid for the IBMA shindig won them a three-year contract. The concentrated effort to bring more than 100 bands to the beltway was headed up by the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Piedmont Council of Traditional Music (PineCone),the city of Raleigh and others.

The awards show kicks off at 7:30 Sept. 26 at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts, Memorial Auditorium with Steep Canyon Rangers as hosts.  Balsam Range shared the Brevard Music Center stage last week with Steep Canyon Rangers and Steve Martin who often appears with that Brevard-based band.