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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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Chris Jones & The Night Drivers’ “Live At The Old Feed Store”
~
Available Now~
Recorded at The Old Feed Store in Cobden, Illinois

Chris Jones, Ned Luberecki, Jon Weisberger and Mark Stoffel
Release Live at The Old Feed Store on October 7th, 2014

The album is now available at CD Baby:
www.cdbaby.com/cd/chrisjonesthenightdriver2

Chris Jones & The Night Drivers Sign with Mountain Home at IBMA

…one of the most distinctive voices in bluegrass,
a smooth, low croon that goes down like whiskey with a little bit of honey,”
The Bluegrass Situation

How do you follow an album that features three #1 and two #2 bluegrass radio hits? If you’re Chris Jones & The Night Drivers, you give fans what they’ve been asking for—a live album that delivers a few choice new selections nestled among a flock of favorites, recorded in an intimate, small-town venue that brings out the best in the quartet’s soulful vocals, hotshot picking and easygoing humor. From its blazing opener, “Bound To Ride,” to its even speedier closer, “Pike County Breakdown,” Live At The Old Feed Store, hit the stores on October 7, 2014, and is one that long-time fans will treasure, and it’s also a perfect introduction to a group heading toward its 20th anniversary in bluegrass. The live album is a follow-up to 2013’s release Lonely Comes Easy, which was their first all-new collection since 2009’s Cloud Of Dust. Founded by guitarist Chris Jones in 1995, the Night Drivers feature four distinct personalities who bring a multitude of talents to each performance. Indeed, the group includes Jones, banjo man Ned Luberecki and bassist Jon Weisberger, and mandolinist Mark Stoffel.

The release of Live At The Old Feed Store comes on the heels of one of the busiest IBMA World of Bluegrass weeks ever for Chris Jones & The NIght Drivers. Topping the list of activities? That’s a hard call, but a few stand out, starting with the announcement that the quartet has signed a two album deal with North Carolina’s high-powered label, Mountain Home Music Company. Jones says, “We’ve been very impressed by the quality of Mountain Home’s roster and the strong record of results they’ve achieved in bluegrass music and beyond. We’re extremely excited about this opportunity to join the Mountain Home family.” Others on Mountain Home’s roster include Balsam Range, The Boxcars, Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver, and The Grascals. The Night Drivers will be working on a new studio album for 2015.

Also at IBMA was the reception of two IBMA awards–one to designer, label and artist for Best Graphic Design (Lonely Comes Easy, on Rebel Records designed by Lou Everhart), the other to Jones himself for Print Media Person of the Year. The group performed a showcase for booking agent Roe Entertainment and also a Wide Open Bluegrass festival slot in the Convention Center Ballroom with long-time friend and former Night Driver Jeremy Garrett (Infamous Stringdusters) on fiddle. Ned Luberecki served as off-stage announcer at the IBMA Awards Show on Thursday night, while Night Driver and IBMA Board Chair Jon Weisberger got his own shout-out from the Raleigh News & Observer when reporter David Menconi served up his Tuesday schedule as proof that the old saw that the organization’s initials stand for “I’ve Been Mostly Awake” is no joke (“Busy Days, Sleepless Nights During World of Bluegrass Week.”)

nightdrivers2014_feedstore2_ByMarkWilsonEarly reaction to Live At The Old Feed Store has been favorable, with a choice quote, “Chris Jones & The Night Drivers is a great band, not just for the mastery of their instruments, but for the sheer joy they bring to all those who listen,” with the album also earning their top rating “Bad-Ass” coming from Philadelphia’s THAT MAG.

Live At The Old Feed Store features the Night Drivers’ music front and center, exemplified by the first single, “Battle Of The Bands,” which scored a world-exclusive premiere on Bluegrass Junction. The album displays the group’s wide range of inclinations, with nods to the Stanley Brothers (“Bound To Ride”), Johnny Horton (“I’m Ready If You’re Willin’”) and George Jones (“I Cried Myself Awake”), banjo pyrotechnics (Luberecki’s own “Emergency Pulloff” and a blistering “Pike County Breakdown”) and well-crafted originals (“Like A Hawk,” “Then I Close My Eyes,” and “Lonely Town”).

Alongside these, the Night Drivers have laid in a selection of fan favorites, including Stoffel’s glistening take on The Sound Of Music’s ever-popular “Edelweiss” (followed by a lively turn on an old-time fiddle tune, “Forked Deer”), the gospel quartet of “Leaning On The Everlasting Arms,” and Luberecki’s comic tour de force, “Cabin Of Death,” one of the group’s most requested numbers.

A couple of guests make appearances—Sally Jones contributes harmonies to “Follow Your Heart,” and 2013 IBMA Momentum Vocalist of the Year Emily Bankester recaps her Lonely Comes Easy appearance on “Then I Close My Eyes”—with the focus all on the Night Drivers, who show conclusively that no studio magic is needed for them to deliver compelling performances. From start to finish, Live At The Old Feed Store delivers a faithful representation of a Chris Jones & The Night Drivers set, and as their busy schedule shows, that’s something that audiences are always eager to share.

The group celebrates the release on October 8th with a show at the recording venue, The Old Feed Store in Cobden, IL, followed by a Tennessee weekend that includes dates in Norris, the Fall Homecoming Festival at the Museum of Appalachia and Nashville’s Oktoberfest in Germantown. The band had notable appearances this year at Big Sky Big Grass, Joe Val Bluegrass Festival, MerleFest, DelFest, Bluegrass on the Plains, The Huck Finn Jubilee, Targhee Bluegrass Festival, Bean Blossom, and The Bourbon & Bluegrass Steamboat Tours. Big Sky Big Grass gets the award for the biggest on-stage jams with the Sam Bush Band and Del McCoury joined the Night Drivers on stage at DelFest to sing on “Wolf Creek Pass.” Luberecki was part of MerleFest’s First ever BanjoRama which was hosted by “Dr. Banjo” Pete Wernick. They’ll be traveling for a European tour for ten days in October of 2014 and will be on the road for dates throughout 2015.

Chris Jones & the Night Drivers on Tour
10/8 Wed – The Old Feed Store – Cobden, IL
10/10 Fri – Tennessee Fall Homecoming, Museum of Appalachia – Norris, TN
10/11 Sat – Kimbro’s Cafe 11am – Franklin, TN
10/11 Sat – Oktoberfest in Historic Germantown 4pm – Nashville, TN
10/22-27 – European Tour
11/15-16 Sat- Sun – Wickenburg Bluegrass & Fiddle Championship – Wickenburg, AZ
12/12: Bluegrass in the Smokies – Pigeon Forge, TN

For more information, tour dates and words from the road, please visit: chrisjonesgrass.com,  facebook.com/chrisjonesgrass, and twitter.com/chrisjonesgrass.

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