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Amanda Anne Platt & The Honeycutters New Album Out June 9
The album is now on pre-sale →  https://clg.lnk.to/Lj4Wo

ASHEVILLE, NC –“We’re switching things up a little. After four albums I’ve decided to step out and start using my own name. It’s something that a lot of people have encouraged me to do over the years, and I guess that 2017 just felt right.” That name, Amanda Anne Platt & The Honeycutters, is also the title of the band’s new album, which will be released by Organic Records June 9, 2017. “We’re keeping The Honeycutters too because we don’t want to confuse people… really, we’ve always been Amanda Anne Platt & The Honeycutters. I think I’ve just gotten to a place where I feel comfortable enough to be in the spotlight.”

Amanda is so good it’s ridiculous. I don’t even know what words to use. Her singing, songwriting and presence is unmatched in Americana, Country, Pop… Simply breathtaking,” said Saul Davis: producer (Percy Sledge), manager (Gene Clark, Carla Olson, Phil Seymour).

Lyrically driven, the songs on Amanda Anne Platt & The Honeycutters blend the band’s old-school country roots attitude with their shared influences of rock and folk. Amanda says of the album, “I think it’s just about life and all that that entails. Including but not limited to death, strangers, birthdays, money, leaving, arriving, seasons, corruption, and love.”

Performing along with Platt, The Honeycutters are Matt Smith on pedal steel and Stratocaster, Rick Cooper on bass, Josh Milligan on drums and harmony vocals, and Evan Martin on keys and Telecaster.

Amanda Anne Platt & The Honeycutters is the group’s third release on Organic Records, and fifth album. Assembling the same the same team as 2016’s On The Ropes, Balsam Range’s Tim Surrett steps in for the second time to co-produce this album along with Amanda. Its thirteen tracks were recorded, mixed, and mastered by Scott Barnett at Crossroads Studios in Arden, NC near the band’s hometown of Asheville, NC.

There is an empathetic and charming wit ingrained in Amanda’s songwriting. She has a knack for accessing a deep well of emotion and applying it to her story-telling, whether she is writing from her own experiences or immersing herself into the melody of emotions in another person’s life.

Amanda Platt writes songs on par with Lucinda, Isbell, Lauderdale, Hank Sr. In my opinion, anyway.” said, WNCW’s Music Director Martin Anderson to No Depression.

In the lead off track, “Birthday Song,” Amanda writes with a gentle optimism, “Every time it gets colder I get another year older… I start looking for lines in the bathroom mirror… but when I lay down at night I swear I must have done something right… cause I’m still so damn glad to be here… I’ve been trying to love the questions, and keep on guessing.” Written just before her 30th birthday, Platt calls the song, “a summation of everything I learned in that decade.

There is an easygoing warmth to the album, enhanced by the its refined arrangement and production; from the upbeat “Diamond in the Rough” to the poetic and observational “Eden” to the very personal, yet universal, “Brand New Start” to “Late Summer’s Child” (an ode to her favorite season) and “Rare Thing” (a song commissioned from Platt from a fan as a love song to his wife that ended up being included on the album. “Your mama said that it would never last… but these years go by so fast… and you’re the song I’m humming to myself as I’m counting the miles… you’re such a rare thing.”) One can feel it even in songs with a more solemn concept behind them like, like “Long Ride,” which speaks of living in the moment in the face of mortality.

Platt wrote “Learning How To Love Him” after hearing an acquaintance of hers talk about learning that her husband of 40+ years was terminally ill. She says, “What really struck me was how she described the tenderness that the news brought back to their relationship.” Amanda sings, “’I woke last night and I felt so afraid, I turned on the light and shook him awake and we stared at the ceiling, listening to the sink drip… I spent my whole life learning how to love him and I never loved him more than I do today.”

The successes of On The Ropes [2016] and Me Oh My [2015] have propelled Amanda Anne Platt and The Honeycutters onto the national scene and they have been featured on NPR’s World Cafe’s Sense of Place, NPR’s Mountain Stage, Nashville’s Music City Roots, and Folk Alley and they have performed at AmericanaFest, MerleFest, and IBMA. On The Ropes debuted at #39 on iTunes Top 40 Country Chart on release day and landed on a plethora of year end lists including placing #35 on the Top 100 Albums played on Americana Radio in 2016 and landing at #1 on Western North Carolina’s WNCW Radio’s Year End Listeners Poll of Top Albums of 2016!

On The Ropes hit #11 on the EuroAmericana Chart and The UK’s Julian Piper with Acoustic Magazine says, “Amanda Platt has one of those gorgeous heartache-drenched voices that brings to mind Loretta Lynn or Sheryl Crow.”

Amanda Anne Platt & The Honeycutters plan to tour extensively in US this year and will travel to Europe for the first time in the summer. They are excited to release Amanda Anne Platt & The Honeycutters to the world this spring!

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Amanda Anne Platt and The Honeycutters on Tour
5/6 Sat – Green River Adventures – Saluda, NC
5/19 Fri – Birdfest – Pinewood, SC
5/20 Sat – Sunset Fest – Dandridge, TN
6/2 Fri – The Neighborhood Theater – Charlotte, NC ^ w/ Town Mountain
6/9-10 Fri-Sat – The Grey Eagle – Asheville, NC
6/17 Sat – The Ark – Ann Arbor, MI
6/21 Wed – Abilene Bar and Lounge – Rochester, NY
6/22 Thu – Sportsmen’s Tavern – Buffalo, NY
6/23 Fri – Cathedral Café – Fayetteville, WV
7/14 Fri – Variety Playhouse – Atlanta, GA * w/ Amy Ray Band (of The Indigo Girls)
7/19 Wed – Taos Mesa Brewing – El Prado, NM
7/21 Fri – Telluride Americana Music Fest & Songwriter Showcase at Sheridan Opera House – Telluride, CO
7/22-23 Sat-Sun – Mountain Rails Live – Alamosa, CO

UK DATES
8/4 Fri – Plough Arts Centre – Great Torrington
8/5 Sat – Tumbleweed at Seven Arts – Leeds
8/6 Sun – Saltburn Arts – Saltburn-by-the-Sea
8/8 Tue – Performing Arts Centre – Kilbarchan
8/9 Wed – Private function – Edinburgh
8/10 Thu – Fringe by The Sea – North Berwick
8/11 Fri – Eastgate Theatre – Peebles
8/12 Sat – Jumpin Hot Country Cantina at Acklington Village Hall – Acklington, Northumberland
8/13 Sun – Woodend Gallery – Scarborough
8/16 Wed – Green Note – London
8/17 Thu -Union Music Store at Con Club – Lewes
8/18 Fri – Square & Compass – Worth Matravers
8/19 Sat – Town Hall Live @ Kirton in Lindesy – Lincs
8/20 Sun – American Museum – Bath (afternoon)
More USA dates TBA!

Amanda Anne Platt & The Honeycutters Track Listing
1. Birthday Song 4:15
2. Long Ride 3:47
3. What We’ve Got 4:46
4. Diamond In The Rough 4:37
5. Eden 5:33
6. The Guitar Case 4:18
7. Learning How To Love Him 4:17
8. Brand New Start 3:14
9. Late Summer’s Child 3:57
10. The Good Guys (Dick Tracy) 4:38
11. Rare Thing 4:43
12. The Things We Call Home 2:39
13. The Road 2:40

More information at www.TheHoneycutters.com, www.facebook.com/Honeycutters, and www.twitter.com/thehoneycutters.

 

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Balsam Range. Photo By David Simchock

Balsam Range Is Casting Acoustic Spells with Mountain Voodoo,
Their Most Recent Release on Mountain Home Music Company

The Boot Premieres a Music Video of “Eldorado Blue”

Filmed at Crossroads Studios near Asheville, N.C., the music video for ‘Eldorado Blue’ provides an intimate glimpse into Balsam Range’s process of laying down tracks in the studio; those clips are juxtaposed with shots of Small Town USA.”

Watch “Eldorado Blue” at The Boot→    
www.theboot.com/balsam-range-eldorado-blue-music-video/

Asheville, NC — Balsam Range is currently touring in support of Mountain Voodoo, their sixth studio album, on Mountain Home Music Company. With it, they are offering something that is sure to continue to mesmerize fans of bluegrass and beyond with elements of jazz, country, gospel, swing, and old-time music that are all infused into the fresh sound of this unique Southern band. It’s five distinct personalities creating one remarkable musical experience.

balsamrangemtnvoodoowallcovMountain Voodoo [Released 11/11/17] is like the book of life “Chapter Six” for Balsam Range; 13-tracks filled with songs of journey, home, sense of place, hardcore drive, and longing. There are fiery instrumental parts alternating with heavy, deep ballads overlaid by the vocal harmonies the group has become known for.

Balsam Range is Buddy Melton (Fiddle, Lead and Tenor Vocals), Darren Nicholson (Mandolin, Octave Mandolin, Lead Vocals, Baritone and Low Tenor Vocals), Dr. Marc Pruett (Banjo), Tim Surrett (Bass, Dobro, Baritone and Lead Vocals), and Caleb Smith (Guitar, Lead & Baritone Vocals). The five original members, who are celebrating their 10th year together this March, are all acoustic musicians and singers from North Carolina. They thoughtfully and respectfully adopted the name of a majestic range of mountains that surrounds part of their home county of Haywood, NC where the Smokies meet the Blue Ridge, the Balsam Range.

What Folks Are Saying:

“Fans who grew up in a small town will find plenty to relate to in ‘Eldorado Blue,’ a song that explores the dilemma of whether or not you even want to spread your wings and leave home. Balsam Range describe the song as ‘a story of finding oneself and recognizing contentment in life is something we can all stand to do.’”
Amy McCarthy for The Boot’s World Premiere of the Music Video for “Eldorado Blue

“So consistently impressive that we no longer expect their albums to be ‘better than their last,’ in less than a decade Balsam Range has hit the plateau of excellence few groups achieve. Like The Del McCoury Band, Blue Highway, and Alison Krauss & Union Station before them, a new release from Balsam Range is measured against their individual legacy. Mountain Voodoo lacks nothing.”
Country Standard Time, Donald Teplyske’s Favorite Bluegrass Albums of 2016

“Already accomplished musicians, in a decade they’ve won ten IBMA awards (International Bluegrass Music Association) released five albums, toured nationally, made multiple Grand Ole Opry stops and, in general, have become icons in the world of professional bluegrass. The fellas can both sing and pick.”
Asheville Citizen Times, Carol Rifkin

“Its theme – pride of place and trying to make it in a small town – is visited throughout Mountain Voodoo. The material comes mostly from top bluegrass songwriters, especially band friend Milan Miller, who contributed the swinging honky tonker ‘Hello Heartache.’”
Stream WMOT Roots Radio’s 90 Second Spin with Craig Havighurst

“These guys just keep getting better. How good is this one? There’s a potential song of the year here… the laurels go to Aaron Bibelhauser’s ‘Blue Collar Dreams’, an anthem for working stiffs everywhere that’s been dominating the charts. The song has quite a pedigree.”
Bluegrass Today, David Morris’ Top Albums of the 2016

“The men of the Range continue to make some of the best music in the industry. This is a fitting follow up to Five, which is a LARGE statement. I expect some of the CD to do well through the first qtr/half of 2017.”
Flashpoint Bluegrass Radio, Jeff Miller’s 2016 Bluegrass CDs to Remember

“Stepping over boundaries seems to be a part of Balsam Range’s DNA.”
News & Record/ Greensboro.com, Grant Britt

“They’re groovy. Balsam Range reminds us that bluegrass can be dancing music, hip-swinging music, backbeat music, as rhythmically hypnotic as all the plugged-in genres that formed in its wake. ‘It’s hillbilly soul!’ says mandolin player Darren Nicholson.’”
The Bluegrass Situation, Joseph Terrell

“They kick the album off with a bang. Pure (what they at one time called) Newgrass, the kind of stuff on which Tony Rice and Ricky Skaggs based their reputations. Acoustic guitar (mostly picked), bass, mandolin, fiddle and banjo, and voices. The voices are crucial. You can jig and reel and you can breakdown without vocals but you cannot have the best of what bluegrass offers without voices. Think Seldom Scene and Doyle Lawson. Think harmonies sung by angels. Think harmonies stacked to the ceiling. There isn’t anything like it, or as some of my friends would say, ‘There ain’t nothin’ lak it.’”
No Depression, Frank Gutch Jr.

“Some of the best vocal harmonies I can recall in quite some time… Bluegrass aficionado or not, you absolutely need to hear Balsam Range.”
Elmore Magazine, Jim Hynes

Balsam Range On Tour
2/23-24 Thu- Fri – Wintergrass – Bellvue, WA
3/4  Sat – Balsam Range 10th Anniversary Concert @ Colonial Theatre – Canton, NC
3/11 Sat – Sheldon Theatre of Performing Arts – Red Wing, MN
3/25 Sat – Sertoma Youth Ranch Spring Bluegrass Festival – Brooksville, FL
4/1 Sat – Lions Club Brighter Visions Fundraiser – Lake Junaluska, NC
4/7 Fri – Sumter Opera House – Sumter, NC
4/8 Sat – Pamlico Musical Society Concert @ The Red Rooster – Oriental, NC
4/15 Sat – Parrish Auditorium – Hamilton, OH
4/21 Fri – Cary Arts Center – Cary, NC
4/22 Sat – Apple Country Cider Jam – Hendersonville, NC
5/5 Fri – Boxcar Pinion Bluegrass Festival – Chattanooga, NC
5/11 Thu – Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver Bluegrass Festival – Denton, NC
5/13 Sat – Rotary Club Fundraiser @ Carteret Community Theatre – Morehead City, NC
5/20 Sat – Buhl, Germany
5/21 Sun – Waldkraiburg, Germany
5/23 Tue – Prague, Czech Republic
5/27 Sat – Willisau, Switzerland
6/1 Thu – Ciener Botanical gardens – Kernersville, NC
6/2 Fri – Dollywood – Pigeon Forge, TN
6/3 Sat – Cold Mountain Music at Lake Logan – Canton, NC
6/16-17 Fri-Sat – Wenatchee River Bluegrass Festival – Cashmere, WA
6/24 Sat – Rudy Fest – Grayson, KY
7/2 Sun – Lake Junaluska Conference Center – Lake Junaluska, NC
7/8 Sat – Stecoah Valley Center – Robbinsville, NC
7/13 Thu – Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival – Oak Hill, NY
7/22 Sat – Bluegrass On The Square – Corydon, IN
8/4 Fri – Mandolin farms Bluegrass Festival – Flemingsburg, KY
8/5 Sat – Dillard Bluegrass & BBQ Festival – Dillard, GA
8/26 Sat – Ocean Lakes Bluegrass Weekend – Myrtle Beach, SC

For more information, tour dates, and more, please visit www.balsamrange.com. Stay up to date with current news on www.facebook.com/balsamrange, www.twitter.com/BalsamRange, and www.instagram.com/balsamrange.

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Out Today 11.11 Balsam Range Casts Acoustic Spells with ‘Mountain Voodoo’
Get it at iTunes, Amazon, and morehttps://clg.lnk.to/3OSAZ

Stream the album at The Bluegrass Situation www.thebluegrasssituation.com/read/stream-balsam-range-mountain-voodoo

Asheville, NC — Casting Acoustic spells, Balsam Range releases their sixth album, Mountain Voodoo, on November 11, 2016 on Mountain Home Music Company. The band thoughtfully and respectfully adopted the name of a majestic range of mountains that surrounds part of their home county of Haywood, NC where the Smokies meet the Blue Ridge, the Balsam Range. Mountain Voodoo is like the book of life “Chapter Six” for the band; 13-tracks filled with songs of journey, home, sense of place, hardcore drive, and longing.

“Balsam Range can lay down that stomping bluegrass as well as any band but the ballads clearly set them apart. They also add just the right touch of contemporary to their sound, separating them from so many who play that old-timey sound.” Elmore Magazine’s Jim Hynes continues, “The spirit and ambience of the mountains, as seen in CD cover art with the smoky haze set against the fir trees, not only imbues their sound but seems to create a kind of magical intrigue when you listen to ‘I Hear the Mountains’ and some of the others.”
Since the band’s inception in 2007, they have left a trail of success towards the top of the Bluegrass World. One of the genre’s most award winning artists in recent years garnering ten International Bluegrass Music Association Awards to date with five critically acclaimed albums, Balsam Range have made multiple Grand Old Opry appearances, were presented by the Governor of North Carolina the NC Order of the Long Leaf Pine in 2015 for a “proven record of extraordinary service to the state, and extra effort in their careers”, and were the first band to play at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, NC in 2010. They have left audiences spellbound, and now Balsam Range is offering something that is sure to continue to mesmerize fans of Bluegrass and beyond with Mountain Voodoo.

“To be sure, Balsam Range fronts a traditional bluegrass sound, but Mountain Voodoo displays depth and texture not found in contemporary straight-ahead bluegrass groups.” Country Standard Time’s Fred Smith says, “They wear it well, and Mountain Voodoo is a fine snapshot of Balsam Range today.

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Balsam Range. Photo by David Simchock

Balsam Range is comprised of five gifted friends who all hail from Western North Carolina. Tim Surrett delivers entertaining MC work as well as seasoned lead and harmony singing. Tim plays bass and he will occasionally share his talents on the resonator guitar. He charms with spontaneity, wit and professionalism. A stellar fiddler, Buddy Melton is also one of the most gifted tenor voices in Bluegrass and Americana today. His range and tone give Balsam Range its identifying sound. With his envied guitar style, Caleb Smith has been called “one of the top young guns of guitar.” He sings with both power and control, delivering a high energy song or a tender ballad with equal vocal skill. Darren Nicholson is a gifted mandolin player and harmony singer with tremendous enthusiasm for American heritage music. That twinkle in Darren’s eye says it all. He is usually up to something! Grammy Award winner, Dr. Marc Pruett brings more than 40 years of entertainment experience to the group. He brilliantly complements the ensemble with the intuitive, traditional three finger style that has made him one music’s most admired banjo players.

“They kick the album off with a bang.” No Depression’s Frank Gutch Jr. says, “Pure (what they at one time called) Newgrass, the kind of stuff on which Tony Rice and Ricky Skaggs based their reputations. Acoustic guitar (mostly picked), bass, mandolin, fiddle and banjo, and voices. The voices are crucial. You can jig and reel and you can breakdown without vocals but you cannot have the best of what bluegrass offers without voices. Think Seldom Scene and Doyle Lawson. Think harmonies sung by angels. Think harmonies stacked to the ceiling.”

There are multiple songs written by Balsam Range “staff writer” Milan Miller, including the catchy opening track, “Something ‘Bout That Suitcase,” which Miller penned along with Beth Husband. Buddy Melton, a longtime fan of lyrics that make you think, says, “‘Suitcase’ is a song we can all relate to and one that will at least have you looking around the airport terminal with curiosity the next time you fly the friendly skies.”

Mountain Voodoo is thematic of life in Western North Carolina, from the harmonically sentimental melodic “I Hear the Mountains” [Milan Miller, Davis Raines], to the the mystical deep jam of “Voodoo Doll” [Jeb Stuart Anderson], to the Honky Tonk of “Hello Heartache” [Milan Miller, Glenn Simmons], to the rip-roaring banjo led “Chain Gang Blues” [Marvin C. Davis] the sacred and soothing “Rise and Shine” [Mark Bumgarner, Aimee Bumgarner] the Gospel inspired and powerful “Wish You Were Here” [James M Stover, Michael C Williams], the vividly picturesque “Eldorado Blue” [James Ellis, Milan Miller], to the groovy “The Girl From The Highlands” [Milan Miller, Thomm Jutz], and the emotionally powerful “Lines In The Sand” [Craig Market, Barry Bales].

“’Blue Collar Dreams [is] a hard-luck, hard-workin’ song from Aaron Bibelhauser, sung as a duet by Caleb Smith and Buddy Melton. And in true bluegrass style, this workin’ man’s blues is presented with a cheerful, upbeat sound,” says John Lawless with Bluegrass Today. Watch a video of Balsam Range performing the song in studiohttp://bluegrasstoday.com/blue-collar-dreams-video-from-balsam-range/

Elements of jazz, country, gospel, swing, and old-time music are all infused into the fresh sound of this unique Southern band. It’s five distinct personalities creating one remarkable musical experience. It’s the award-winning Balsam Range and they are excited to bring Mountain Voodoo to the world.

For more information, tour dates, and more, please visit www.balsamrange.com.
Stay up to date with current news on
www.facebook.com/balsamrange, www.twitter.com/BalsamRange, and www.instagram.com/balsamrange.

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Balsam Range is Casting Acoustic Spells with Their Sixth Album Mountain Voodoo
Due out on November 11 on Mountain Home Music Company

Asheville, NC — Balsam Range’s assent to the top of the Bluegrass world has left a well marked trail of success since the band’s inception in 2007. One of the genre’s most award winning artists in recent years garnering ten International Bluegrass Music Association Awards to date with five critically acclaimed albums, Balsam Range has put on live performances across the nation, including multiple Grand Old Opry appearances that have left audiences spellbound. Nominated for three International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Awards (Entertainer, Vocal Group, and Vocalist of the Year) for 2016, Balsam Range is offering something that is sure to continue to mesmerize fans of Bluegrass and beyond with their new release Mountain Voodoo, due out November 11 on Mountain Home.

Mountain Voodoo is like the book of life “Chapter Six” for Balsam Range; 13-tracks filled with songs of journey, home, sense of place, hardcore stomping drive, and longing. There are fiery instrumental parts alternating with heavy, deep ballads overlaid by the vocal harmonies the group has become known for.

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Balsam Range 6 September 2016 Promo Photo Shoot Waynesville, NC © Copyright David J. Simchock

Balsam Range is Buddy Melton (Fiddle, Lead and Tenor Vocals), Darren Nicholson (Mandolin, Octave Mandolin, Lead Vocals, Baritone and Low Tenor Vocals), Dr. Marc Pruett (Banjo), Tim Surrett (Bass, Dobro, Baritone and Lead Vocals), and Caleb Smith (Guitar, Lead & Baritone Vocals). The five original members are all acoustic musicians and singers from North Carolina and they thoughtfully and respectfully adopted the name of a majestic range of mountains that surrounds part of their home county of Haywood, NC where the Smokies meet the Blue Ridge, the Balsam Range.

Picturing the story of Mountain Voodoo
Imagine yourself, if you can, high up on a ridge in the mountains of North Carolina at midnight under a full moon, looking through the smoky nighttime haze at the surrounding ridges all covered in Balsam firs. It’s a scene of life engulfed in strong but muted tones, crisp air, bubbling springs, and the power of uncertain mystery. The springs carry the mystery down and down, feeding the the creeks and streams that feed the ponds and the small farms, and the small towns and the people in them, and the works they create by day.

Then, somehow imagine that there is a soundtrack to all this – to all the old tales, lives lived, and even the scenery itself. It sounds like adventure glimpsing into the unknown, but remembering family and friends and always wanting to return home. Yes, there’s a dualistic nature about it, but the story always finishes with the pull of the mountains, the people and the places.

This environment, this background and this living culture is the backdrop that chooses the songs and creates the rhythms and styles, that voices the vocals and fingers the strings, that casts acoustic spells on every audience every time. When Balsam Range performs, a joyous magical mysterious musical mist enchants the audience as well as the band. Buddy, Caleb, Darren, Marc, and Tim become the messengers and the crowd is transported to that place. This is what is Balsam Range—this is Mountain Voodoo.

The mystical deep jam of “Voodoo Doll” is a fun creative twist on the age-old tale of broken hearted love loss and the attempt of passing one’s heartache off on mystical curses rather than accepting reality.  Written by Jeb Anderson many years ago, the band has wanted to record it for a long time, after Melton first heard it performed by a dear friend and fellow artist known as “Tall Paul”. It is not your typical bluegrass song; It could just as easily be performed by a rock band.

There are multiple songs written by Balsam Range “staff writer” Milan Miller, including the catchy opening track, “Something ‘Bout That Suitcase,” which Miller penned along with Beth Husband. Buddy Melton, a longtime fan of lyrics that make you think, and IBMA Vocalist of the Year nominee for 2016, asks, “How many times have you seen a stranger traveling through life and wondered, what is their story? Where are they going? What has brought them to this place? We all have and it’s that curiosity and interest in other people that brings society together. Maybe it’s the human inherent caring spirit that defines us most or at least gives us hope for humanity. ‘Suitcase’ is a song we can all relate to and one that will at least have you looking around the airport terminal with curiosity the next time you fly the friendly skies.”

Blue Collar Dreams” is a working class anthem, written by Aaron Bibelhauser, it had all the elements for Balsam Range to transform it into a great bluegrass song to comfort the frustrations of working for the hard-to-attain American Dream. From the first note of the mandolin kick off you realize quickly that things are going to get tense but in a good way.

Eldorado Blue” is a story of finding oneself and recognizing contentment in life is something we can all stand to do; whether it means moving away or staying in what may seem an unlikely location to achieve it, is a blessing. “The Girl From The Highlands” is another journey song inspired by Miller’s travels through the Highlands years ago and the stories of many Scottish Highlanders who traveled to the US for work but often couldn’t afford to bring family along. Balsam Range spices it up with Tony Rice styled vocals and Caleb’s guitar licks which capture that same vibe and groove.

Mountain Voodoo is thematic of life in Western North Carolina, from the haunting and lonesome “I Hear the Mountains”, to the Honky Tonk of “Hello Heartache,” to the rip-roaring banjo led “Chain Gang Blues,” to the sacred and soothing “Rise and Shine,” and Gospel inspired and powerful “Wish You Were Here.

Balsam Range fills the air with traditional, yet contemporary sounds, things that are new, yet still somehow familiar. Mountain Voodoo is a follow up to the band’s fifth album, Five (2014), which made its Billboard Chart debut at #4 and remained on the Billboard chart for 12 weeks. The album excelled on the Bluegrass Unlimited National Airplay Album Chart, spending 5 consecutive months at #1 with seven #1 songs, earning the group the 2015 IBMA Awards for Vocal Group of the Year and Song of the Year for “Moon Over Memphis.

Elements of jazz, country, gospel, swing, and old-time music are all infused into the fresh sound of this unique Southern band. It’s five distinct personalities creating one remarkable musical experience. It’s the award-winning Balsam Range and they are excited to bring Mountain Voodoo to the world this year.

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Balsam Range’s Mountain Voodoo Tracks & Songwriter Credits

  1. Something ‘Bout That Suitcase     3:34 (Milan Miller)
  2. Blue Collar Dreams                            2:54 (Aaron Bibelhauser)
  3. Voodoo Doll                                          4:08 (Jeb Stuart Anderson)
  4. Eldorado Blue                                       3:08 (James Ellis, Milan Miller)
  5. The Girl From The Highlands         3:02 (Milan Miller, Thomm Jutz)
  6. I Hear The Mountains                       4:36 (Milan Miller, Davis Raines)
  7. Chain Gang Blues                               2:09 (Marvin C. Davis)
  8. Rise And Shine                                    4:25 (Mark Bumgarner, Aimee Bumgarner)
  9. Spring Hill                                            3:36 (Marc Pruett)
  10. Hello Heartache                                 2:29 (Milan Miller, Glenn Simmons)
  11. Lines In The Sand                              3:00 (Craig Market, Barry Bales)
  12. Don’t Walk Away                               2:47 (Miriam Sonstenes)
  13. Wish You Were Here                         5:00 (James M Stover, Michael C Williams)

For more information, tour dates, and more, please visit www.balsamrange.com. Stay up to date with current news on www.facebook.com/balsamrange, www.twitter.com/BalsamRange, and www.instagram.com/balsamrange.

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Photo 1 is by Scott Woody, photo 2 is by Simply Pickin' & the 3rd one is by Debbie Ryder

Photo 1 is by Scott Woody, photo 2 is by Simply Pickin’ & the 3rd one is by Debbie Ryder

Celebrating the Life and Music of Billy Constable at Isis
Thursday, Oct 8, 2015

7:30pm – 1:00am
743 Haywood Rd, West Asheville, North Carolina 28806
http://isisasheville.com/events/celebrating-the-life-and-times-of-billy-constable-2/

RSVP on Facebook here

Billy Constable was a well-known and much loved bluegrass musician from WNC who had been battling terminal brain cancer for the better part of a year. He lost his battle on Saturday, August 22nd, 2015.

His friends have organized a memorial event, The Billy Constable Memorial Jam, to honor this kind-hearted, talented man and the great contribution he has made to the music community of WNC and beyond. It will take place at Isis Restaurant and Music Hall in West Asheville on Thursday, October 8th from 7:30pm-1am.

“The outpouring of stories and memories online about Constable give an idea of the scope of a life dedicated to musical passion, and they tell the story of a kind, gentle soul, always willing to teach to anyone who wanted to learn,” writes Brian Swenk in Boone’s Mountain Times.

Included will be a memorial slideshow and a celebration of his life in a night of live music with Billy’s longtime musical compadres. We hope you will join us as we celebrate the rich legacy he has left us. Suggested donation is $10 at the door. Proceeds to benefit the Constable family. If you cannot make the show, but would like to donate, please do so at http://www.gofundme.com/nuj8ks

The lineup so far includes:
Sassagrass
Butch Robins
Steve McMurry (of Acoustic Syndicate)
Jon Stickley & Lyndsay Pruett (of Jon Stickley Trio)
Bearwallow (2015 MerleFest Band Competition Winners)
Amanda Platt (of The Honeycutters)
Taylor Martin
Sam Wharton
Darren Nicholson Band (of Balsam Range)
Blue Wheel Drive
Robert Greer (with members of Town Mountain)
Jim Rollins
Adam Masters
Billy Cardine
Bobby Miller
Jason and Jacob Burleson
Mary Lucey

more to be announced

More about Billy Constable:

Born March 23, 1959, Billy Constable was a well known and much loved musician from WNC.

Growing up in Avery county, he came from a rich lineage of musicians including; Lulu Belle and Scotty Wiseman, Lawrence Wiseman, David Wiseman, Fiddling Jimmy Wiseman, banjo picker Kent Wiseman, and Billy’s mother, Lois.

Billy formed his first band Leather Britches, and at the age of 14 he hit the road professionally joining Charlie Moore’s band in the early 1970’s. He went on to play with Doug Dillard and in the 80’s his family band The Constables was formed. They also appeared with the late great Rose Maddox in that band. In addition he played with Dick Tyner and Train 45, Ray Parks, and toured with Kenny Baker and Josh Graves.

In recent years he recorded with the Big Daddy Bluegrass Band with Steve McMurry, and Curtis Burch, Larry Keel, String Cheese Incident, Acoustic Forum, Hypnotic Clambake, and formed his own band Sassagrass.

He has shared the stage picking with; Vassar Clements, John Hartford, Butch Robins, Mac Wiseman, Leftover Salmon, Byron Berline, Sam Bush, Bill Monroe, Lester Flatt, Jim and Jesse, and the Osborne Brothers, to name a few.

Steeped in the rich knowledge of traditional bluegrass and Appalachian music, but reaching far beyond into gypsy jazz and other eclectic forms of music, he is well known as a musician’s musician.

A master of guitar, banjo, and mandolin, Billy has often been credited with teaching his musical compadres how to play and “play it right,” and we have all become better musicians and better people for knowing him.

Thank you Billy, for sharing your gift with us.  ~ written by Deb Ryder

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John Driskell Hopkins & Balsam Range Debut
at the Grand Ole Opry March 8th

Performing Music from Their Independently Released Album DAYLIGHT

DAYLIGHT_coverJohn Driskell Hopkins & Balsam Range Performances:
Fri 3/8 Nashville, TN  WSM 9am
Fri 3/8 Nashville, TN The Grand Ole Opry 7pm
Sat 3/9 Knoxville, TN WDVX 1:30pm
Sat 3/9 Knoxville, TN The Shed
Thu 3/14 Athens, GA The Melting Point

Kind Words About Daylight:

“Hopkins’ vocals complement the use of fiddle, mandolin, banjo, and Dobro played by BR to produce a Southern sound that is truly alive… The deep tone of Hopkins’ vocals have the ability to convey edge and grit in songs [with] original lyrics are consistently honest, at times tongue-in-cheek, and at other times thoughtful…”
–Valerie Bertolami, Performer Magazine

“Pure musical joy, with songs ranging across every musical style from bluegrass and gospel to jazz and blues to country… often blinds with dazzling light.”
–Henry Carrigan, Country Standard Time

“Front and center here is Hopkins’ deep, rich and sensual baritone. His singing is warm and melodious in tone, inviting one to pay closer attention… Daylight is deserving of brighter shade.”
–Bill Clifford, Jambands.com

“I Will Lay Me Down” listed as a recommended track in indie releases
CMT’s Craig Shelburne

“They make music that’s both country and grass, while being pure expressions of neither.  There are banjo rolls and mando scratches throughout… Purists may scoff (as purists are wont to do), but the results are enough to satisfy the lover of hyphens in me.” –Scott Foley, KRFC’s Routes and Branches

“Love a rich, deep country voice? Then John Driskell Hopkins is your man.”
–Mary Armstrong, Philadelphia City Paper

“A voice huskier than Charlie Daniels after a hard night.”
Jim Farber, New York Daily News, #5 in Top 10 picks in music release week

“…what a great sound for John! I’m excited for people to hear him in this raw and broken-down format, his unique voice front and center!”
–Oliver Wood (of the Wood Brothers)

“It’s been a long time since I’ve been in the thick of it, swattin’ it out with a bonafide Bluegrass band with power vocals coming from a fellow with a pedigree like John Driskell Hopkins possesses. I don’t see anything but clear sailing for this song [Runaway Train].”
–Jerry Douglas

“John Hopkins’ new album, Daylight, has rich vocals and excellent pickers that are wrapped around well-crafted songs. What’s not to love?”
–Jim Lauderdale

“The unusual Sunday Jan. 27 WDVX Blue Plate Special [John Driskell Hopkins & Balsam Range] was the most highly attended yet in 2013, and one of the biggest turnouts in memory.  Even before the show went live on the air, the standing-room-only audience’s excitement was electric.”
–Sarah Waldrip, Blank News 

“A colorful collaboration… with meaty vocal performances that fluctuate from smooth croon to bluesy spittin’ growl, Hopkins takes us on a lively journey backed by a fine, fine group of ace musicians.”
–Janet Goodman, Music News Nashville

Listen HERE  “In Search of a Song with Jason Wilber”
John Driskell Hopkins’ interview with Executive Producer Rich Reardin
JDH_BR_by_JolieLorenPhotog_words
 
For more about John Driskell Hopkins and Daylight, visit www.JohnDriskellHopkins.com.

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Great video of John Driskell Hopkins from Zac Brown Band performing his song “I Will Lay me Down” which is on his new and independently released album “Daylight”.

Thanks to Dan Harr,  Cristina deVallescar, and Music News Nashville!

Music News Nashville also did a two part interview. Part 1
http://www.musicnewsnashville.com/a-conversation-with-john-driskell-hopkins-and-acoustic-performance-part-1

Music News Nashville Interview with John  Driskell Hopkins. Part 2
http://www.musicnewsnashville.com/a-conversation-with-john-driskell-hopkins-and-acoustic-performance-part-2

DAYLIGHT_coverJohn Driskell Hopkins has walked the musical path for the last 20 years. As a bass player, guitar player, singer and songwriter for several bands of the rock variety, Hopkins rooted himself in the Atlanta, GA music scene in 1995, producing records and touring with his band Brighter Shade and later becoming a founding member of the Zac Brown Band to this day. Now he has teamed up with North Carolina-based band and Mountain Home Recording artists, Balsam Range, to record and independently produce a new album, Daylight, which released nationally on January 22nd.

John is thrilled to have included several special guests on the album, including Zac Brown on “I Will Lay Me Down,” a sweet and sacred song; Levi Lowrey on “How Could I?” a song co-written by the two, and the heavenly Joey Feek of Joey + Rory on the autobiographical “Bye Baby Goodbye.” And of the musicians featured on Daylight, John could not have done better: the unmatched Jerry Douglas opens the record with dobro on “Runaway Train,” and Tony Trischka brings his banjo mastery to the title-track, “Daylight,” a longtime song in Hopkins’ repertoire about breaking through life’s troubles into brighter times.

Of performing with with BR, John says “Being on stage with Balsam Range is like body-surfing in warm butter-cream icing with hillbilly cherubs. Smooth…” Balsam Range is Buddy Melton (fiddle, vocals), Darren Nicholson (Mandolin, vocals), Marc Pruett (Banjo, Vocals), Caleb Smith (guitar, vocals), and Tim Surrett (bass, dobro, vocals).

For more about John Driskell Hopkins and Daylight, visit www.JohnDriskellHopkins.com.

 

 

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