Archive for December 2018

BALSAM RANGE, “Aeonic,” Mountain Home. 11 tracks

December 10, 2018

North Carolina-based Balsam Range has been one of the top bands in bluegrass since its inception in 2007.

Tim Surrett, Buddy Melton, Caleb Smith, Marc Pruett and Darren Nicholson have won a host of awards from the International Bluegrass Music Association over the years, including entertainer of the year in both 2014 and 2018

The new album, “Aeonic,” a Greek word for a long period of time, is bookended by “The Girl Who Invented The Wheel.” a song about a woman who will leave town quickly if you disappoint her, and a hard-driving bluegrass version of  The Beatles‘ “If I Needed Someone.”

There are lot of songs about traveling, sorrow and things lost.

“Tumbleweed Town” finds a drifter, who’s crossed the line too many times, searching for the man he hopes to be.

“The Rambler” is about a man who’s both free and trapped by his lifestyle — “The Lord made the rambler. The devil taught him to ride.”

“Get Me Gone” finds a man waiting for dawn so he can leave town and the woman he loves.

“Hobo Blues” is about a man who’s lived a hard life and finds that it’s not getting better.

“Help Me To Hold On” is about people who have almost reached the end of their rope.

With all that despair, the uptempo gospel of “Let My Life Be A Light” comes as a ray of hope.

And then, it’s back to hard times.

“My Cross To Bear” is about a man with blood on his hands that can’t be washed away, trying to escape the crime he committed.

“Graveyard Blues” finds a man at the grave of his wife and child.

“Angel Too Soon” is about a girl who has died — ” a pretty flower that never bloomed.”

A good, but a little dark, album by a great band.

It goes on sale Jan. 4.

You can find it at

RAY EDWARDS, “A Golden Anniversary Celebration,” Pinecastle. 12 tracks.

December 3, 2018

Ray Edwards has spent 51 years in bluegrass and country music,  starting as a 13-year-old banjo player.

His career has included stints with the High Country Boys, Southbound, Jeanie C. Riley’s Red River Symphony, Tom T Hall’s Storytellers and Ed Bruce’s Tennessee Cowboy Band. He’s also worked with Randy Travis, Sammy Kershaw, Lynn Anderson and Cliff Waldron & the New Shades of Grass.

Among the hits Edwards has written are “Hard Rock Mountain Prison” and “Carolina Moonshine Man.”

His latest album, “A Golden Anniversary Celebration,” includes material from several stops along his life’s journey.

Edwards is joined on the album by a number of musicians and vocalists.

Singers lending their talents to the album include Junior Sisk, Will Jones, Tim Terry, Ronnie McCranie, Danny Paisley, Bradley Walker, Steven Dowdy and Daniel Salyer.

Edwards sings lead on four tracks.

He wrote or co-wrote six of the songs, including, “The Life of a Mountain Man,” “Wanda Lou,” “West Virginia Songbird,” “The Cold Hard Facts of Love,” “The Matewan Train” and “Out of the Blue.”

You can find the album at, and a lot of other sites.