Sweet Lowdown joins Nicholson on stage

Balsam Range Colonial show sold out
By Mary Ann Enloe | Jan 22, 2014

Good news, bad news for lovers of great Americana music on the local scene.

The bad news? The "Sold Out" sign went up on Balsam Range's next winter concert scheduled for Feb. 1 at Canton's historic Colonial Theatre within a week after it was announced.

The good news is that their guests for that performance, an award-winning bluegrass trio from Canada called "The Sweet Lowdown," will make a couple of additional stops in WNC while they're down this way and Balsam Range's mighty mandolin player Darren Nicholson and his band will be on the bill for one of them.

The Sweet Lowdown is made up of Amanda Blied, guitar; Shanti Bremer, banjo; and Miriam Sonstenes, fiddle. The 2013 "Island Roots Album of the Year" winners offer something for everybody. Singers all, their sweet harmonies and new songs contrast nicely with their command of old-time music and hard-driving bluegrass.

Burnsville Town Center is first on the calendar. At 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 31, the Darren Nicholson Band and The Sweet Lowdown perform at one of the nicest venues in these parts. Operated by the Town of Burnsville and located one block down from Burnsville's town square, the Town Center is comfortable, warm, friendly and a perfect place to enjoy great music.

The drive into Yancey County and Burnsville is beautiful and there are a couple of restaurants on the town square, including historic NuWray Inn. Tickets to the show are $15. For more information, call 828-682-7209.

The Sweet Lowdown comes to the Hazelwood community's business block on Wednesday Feb. 5.  Smoky Mountain Roasters coffee shop turns into an intimate listening room and the fun starts at 7:30 p.m. when Nicholson performs solo on guitar to open for The Sweet Lowdown. There is no cover charge, but contributions are appreciated for the Head Start programs of Haywood and Jackson counties.

"We're getting a head start on Head Start and Plottfest," said owner Kevin Duckett who founded the annual summer festival which combine bluegrass music and sanctioned dog shows spotlighting the official NC state dog, the Plott hound. Profits from Plottfest go to Head Start.

Nicholson suggests you get your tickets early for the next Balsam Range winter concert at Canton's Colonial on March 1. "We'll have the recording studio dream team," he said, speaking of Jeff Collins, Tony Creasman and David Johnson.

"They're going to do some Balsam Range songs like you've never heard them." Haywood County's own multi-award winning, chart-topping bluegrass-and-more band Balsam Range has started work on its fifth album.  "We think with every one we do, it gets better. I guess we're starting to get used to each other," Nicholson said with a laugh.