CD Review: Balsam Range – Aeonic – by Ritchie Ritchison for Country Music News International Magazine & Radio Show
The Girl Who Invented The Wheel
Get Me Gone
Help Me To Hold On
Let My Life Be A Light
My Cross To Bear
Angel Too Soon
If I Needed Someone
Balsam Range’s “Aeonic” is my first introduction to the multi-award winning 2018 IBMA
“Entertainer of the Year” from Haywood County, North Carolina and it was an eye
Fine picking and expressive singing and some well crafted songs give Balsam Range’s
8th offering a good chance to make them repeat winners at the 2019 IBMA awards.
Darren Nicholson’s vocals on “The Rambler” ache with the emotions of anyone who has
spent those long dark nights on the road.
The infectious melody and high spirited singing on “Get Me Gone” make it one of those
songs that has you hitting the repeat button and just playing over and over.
The instrumental tracks are played with precision and taste. Darren Nicholson on
Mandolin, Buddy Melton on Fiddle, Tim Surrett on Bass and Dobro, Caleb Smith on
Guitar and Dr Marc Pruett on Banjo all play with passion, drive and skill.
It is obvious they love what they do.
The recording itself is clean and crisp and the arrangements are spot on.
From start to finish this is a well recorded, well performed modern bluegrass disc.
The tracks that standout besides the two mentioned already are “Let My Life Be a
Light”, “Graveyard Blues” ,“Angel Too Soon” and the finale “If I Needed Someone”.
This is the George Harrison penned tune from the Beatles 1965 album Rubber Soul.
The arrangement is fresh and the performance is flawless. Definitely destined to
become a classic in the “Rock”-Grass category.
Balsam Range is not the first bluegrass group to convert Beatles tunes into modern
bluegrass standards. They are pulling an old trick from the play book of such greats as
the Seldom Scene (What Goes On) and The New Grass Revival (I’m Down) while
adding their own unique style and personality. Kudos Balsam Range for continuing the
Incidentally Aeonic means “Of or relating to an aeon”. Quite an appropriate title for the
8th album by this veteran quintet
I give it a 4 1/2 out of 5 stars.