Bluegrass group Balsam Range has just released their new album "FIVE," which debuted at #4 on Billboard Bluegrass, where it remained for 6 consecutive weeks. The band is enjoying a career high, however, that nearly didn't happen.
Singer/fiddler, Buddy Melton sustained serious head injuries in an accident on his farm in 2012. For the first few days, it was uncertain whether he would survive. Family, band mates, friends, and the extended Bluegrass family all hit their knees to pray for Buddy's recovery.
Later, Buddy was told by docs that, due to the severity of his head injuries and especially the damage to his sinuses, Buddy was not likely sing again, or ever sound the same. The band was already in the studio working on PAPERTOWN and as he recovered, Melton "just had to know." He called up guitar player/singer Caleb Smith and asked Caleb to take him to the studio, although doctors and Melton's wife, Carla, were against the idea. Although he was incredibly weak, Melton stepped up the microphone and delivered the poignant "Wide River To Cross" and his voice was still there ... a voice that had helped to define the Balsam Range sound and now would take a 4th album to an ALBUM OF THE YEAR win at IBMA 2013.
During his recovery, Buddy felt that his strength and muscle tone were diminishing. He pushed himself and started riding his mountain bike, setting a goal for himself that his wife and doctors thought impossible and even foolish. He was determined to compete in the Assault on Mt. Mitchell, the highest peak East of the Mississippi River. The race is 6,684 feet above sea level with 10,357 feet of vertical climbing.
He trained rigorously and in 2013, Buddy participated in the race, and despite continuing to struggle with issues from the farm accident, he finished 87th in the Men's 40-44 age bracket, and 489th overall out of 719 riders.
Balsam Range went on to release its 5th album in 2014 and this year, at the IBMA Awards, Balsam Range was named ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR, VOCAL GROUP OF THE YEAR. And the determined singer and fiddler? Well, Buddy Melton won the MALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR Award.
Buddy wrote a very song that is performed a Capella on the album FIVE. "Stacking Up The Rocks" was inspired by a Biblical passage from Joshua, which Buddy's mother shared with him in the hospital as he recovered from his injuries. It was written to honor what the Lord has done in Buddy's life, and as a reminder for everyone of God's saving power.
Others have noted the talent of Balsam Range and invited the band into more opportunities. The band provided the music for DAYLIGHT, a swampy, original Americana release by John Driskell ("Hop") Hopkins, founding member of the Zac Brown Band. Balsam Range also provides music and appears in the upcoming motion picture thriller, Careful What You Wish For, directed by Elizabeth Allen and starring Isabel Lucas, Dermot Mulroney, Nick Jonas and Paul Sorvino.
The men of Balsam Range actively give back at every opportunity, raising more than half a million dollars for various regional and national charities. For their annual Winter Concert Series, held at the historic Capitol Theater in Canton, NC, the fellas have each chosen one charity which will benefit from each of the 5 concerts in the series.