Balsam Range wins Song of the Year

The Haywood County bluegrass group Balsam Range won the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Song of the Year award for 2011 for “Trains I Missed.”

The awards were handed out Sept. 29 at the Ryman Theater in Nashville.

“Trains I Missed” is the title track of the album of the same name. According to the groups website, the song — written by Walt Wilkins, Gilles Godard, and Nicole Witt — “is a ballad about things not done in life, that leads you straight to what was supposed to be. ‘Trains I Missed’ is one of those songs that helps define a moment in one’s life, as well as in one’s career.”

To listen to a snippet of the song, log onto the group’s website at

Band member Darren Nicholson put a post on the group’s website on Oct. 1: “Wow … we can’t believe it! What huge honor. We sure appreciate all the great comments. We always try to respond to everyone but it may take us a while. Thank you. Thanks for all the kind words and support you given this band and our music. Thanks for believing in us and this incredible song. We sure did from the first time we heard it. We feel privileged and so lucky to have snagged such a great song. Thanks to the songwriters. We we’re so happy that two of them (Nicole and Walt) were there with us Thursday to share in the celebration.”

Balsam Range is: Tim Surrett plays bass, occasional resonator guitar, and sings lead and harmony; Buddy Melton sings in a powerful tenor and plays fiddle; Caleb Smith has been called “one of the top young guns of guitar” and is also known for his energetic power singing; Darren Nicholson plays mandolins and sings harmony; and Marc Pruett plays traditional three finger banjo.

Balsam Range will play this Saturday, Oct. 8, at the Church Street Arts Festival in downtown Waynesville.

Also winning an IBMA award for Entertainer of the Year was the Brevard-based Steep Canyon Rangers. The group includes film star Steve Martin on banjo.

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