Balsam Range plays sold out Colonial Theatre show

By Mary Ann Enloe | Feb 25, 2013
Photo by: Mary Ann Enloe Balsam Range will play a sold-out Winter Concert Series show Saturday night at Canton's historic Colonial Theatre with legendary songwriter/performers Jerry Salley, Carl Jackson and Larry Cordle.

Folks lucky enough to have tickets for Balsam Range's sold-out Winter Concert Series Saturday night at Canton's historic Colonial Theatre are in for an exciting time with legendary songwriter/performers Jerry Salley, Carl Jackson and Larry Cordle.

Last year's show featuring the trio of songwriters to the stars was packed, and some of their most ardent fans were their hosts Balsam Range, Haywood County's own white hot bluegrass-and-more band.

"Our relationships go way back," said Balsam Range IBMA-winning mandolin player Darren Nicholson. "They're also my musical heroes."

Nicholson met all three when he toured with Alecia Nugent. "We recorded together, traveled some, and played the Grand Ole Opry regularly together for three years. Jerry (Salley) wrote a huge hit we did with Alecia called 'Paper and Pen'," said Nicholson. "It's really exciting to have them coming to Canton so Western North Carolina can experience these once-in-a lifetime music icons."

Larry Cordle wrote the liner notes for Nicholson's 2006 solo album. "He was always one of my singing heroes," Nicholson said. When their schedules permit, the trio tours, performing hits they wrote for others. "Wow, when you look at the songs they've written it's phenomenal," said BR's crowd-favorite fiddler and vocalist Buddy Melton. "And their harmonies are just incredible."

Guitar virtuoso Caleb Smith agreed: "They're some of the finest singers around, and they've had so many hits and have won dozens of awards among them," Smith said. "They are absolute professionals. We're so glad to have them back this year."

Jerry Salley produced Balsam Range's first project, "Marching Home." Stars such as Brad Paisley, Loretta Lynn and Sir Elton John have recorded songs penned by Salley, who was SESAC's 2003 Country Music Songwriter of the Year. As an artist, Salley has appeared on Late Night with David Letterman, the Grand Ole Opry, the Today Show and more.

Carl Jackson's "Little Mountain Church House" has been covered by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and by Ricky Skaggs, among others. The banjo player's banjo player was dubbed by "Bluegrass Unlimited" magazine as Bluegrass Music's MVP.

Cordle won the 1992 International Bluegrass Music Association's Song of the Year award for "Lonesome Standard Time." The debut album of the same name was nominated for a Grammy that year. His "Murder on Music Row" was awarded the CMA Song of the Year in 2000.

George Strait and Alan Jackson recorded it. Those who didn't get tickets for Saturday night's show have one more chance to catch the wildly popular Balsam Range as their Winter Concert series comes to an end for the season.   Acclaimed acoustic guitarist Jim Hurst joins Balsam Range at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 6. For tickets, call Canton's historic Colonial Theatre at 235-2760 or stop by Smoky Mountain Coffee Roasters on Hazelwood Avenue.