Even with a long list of accolades to their name, Western North Carolina's Balsam Range still knows it's all about the song. As one of the quintet's fastest rising singles ever, "Rivers, Rains and Runaway Trains," which is No. 1 on this month's Bluegrass Today chart, is an example of the undeniably appealing combination of meaningful songwriting and thoughtful arrangement - not to mention the stellar performance for which Balsam Range earned so many of those honors in the first place.
Co-written by Milan Miller, whose regular hit-making contributions make him nearly an adjunct member of the group, and frequent collaborator Beth Husband, the song is a well-crafted account of how its cautious narrator gets swept away by a love that overcomes every reservation. With its irresistibly catchy, tightly-rhymed chorus, propulsive rhythm and dazzling instrumental work, the song captures everything that's earned Balsam Range a legion of devoted fans and a reputation as one of the genre's leading contributors-enhanced by the fact that the group retains all of its original members: Buddy Melton (fiddle); Darren Nicholson (mandolin); Marc Pruett (banjo); Caleb Smith (guitar) and Tim Surrett (bass).
"'Rivers, Rains and Runaway Trains' is another hit from Milan Miller and Beth Husband," says Surrett. "We're very fortunate to have their songs to record. We've had so many hit songs that feature Buddy's singing - and rightfully so, I love them all - but personally I'm excited to see a song featuring Caleb go to No. 1. He's one of the best vocalists in the business, and a great strength of our band is being able to switch singers to keep the music fresh."
In a genre where creativity and longevity don't always go hand in hand, Balsam Range stands out for its continued dedication to quality, inspiration and the excitement of transforming the raw material of a great song into a great recording.
Listen to "Rivers, Rains and Runaway Trains" HERE.
About Balsam Range
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 western North Carolina. They thoughtfully and respectfully adopted the name of a majestic range of mountains that surround part of their home county of Haywood, NC where the Great Smoky Mountains meet the Blue Ridge, the Great Balsam Range.
The 2018 International Bluegrass Music Association's Entertainer of the Year, Balsam Range, has become one of the genre's most award-winning acts. Since forming in 2007, the group has garnered 13 IBMA awards on the heels of 8 critically-acclaimed albums. Balsam Range has left audiences spellbound while headlining major festivals from coast-to-coast, selling out venues across the nation and in multiple appearances at the Grand Ole Opry. The band collaborated with the Atlanta Pops Orchestra Ensemble to record 2 albums, the second of which, Mountain Overture, debuted on the Billboard Bluegrass Chart at #5 and the Classical Crossover Chart at #6. Their previous outing, Mountain Voodoo, debuted at #4 on the Billboard Bluegrass Albums Chart and remained on that chart for 45 weeks. Three singles from that album reached #1 on the Bluegrass Today Chart, including "Blue Collar Dreams," which spent three consecutive months at the top. The band most recently claimed the #1 radio chart spot with their single "The Girl Who Invented The Wheel." In addition to winning Entertainer of the Year, Balsam Range vocalist Buddy Melton won IBMA's Male Vocalist of the Year and bass player Tim Surrett won IBMA's Bass Player of the Year in 2018.