Balsam Range is traversing the musical landscape from their acoustic, award-winning Mountain Voodoo to that of the orchestral with their newest work, Mountain Overture, a recording that transforms the band’s most-loved songs from their first decade of recordings and features the Atlanta Pops Orchestra Ensemble. It’s an epic new branch of their music that captures not a new, but an additional direction. With an augmented version of the Balsam Range Bluegrass sound, Mountain Overture becomes the band’s album of greatest hits, plus!
“Balsam Range is a five-piece acoustic band. We all share the love for the arts and all the music forms that contribute to that title,” says lead vocalist and IBMA Male Vocalist of the Year, Buddy Melton. “To hear our music performed with the support of the Atlanta Pops Orchestra Ensemble is a big and beautiful sound, and it opens the mind to the understanding that all music is connected.”
The music scores, arranged by Wes Funderburk and Shelley Washington, do just that. They lift the heartfelt tale of “Trains I Missed” (IBMA 2011 Song of the Year), intensify the sentimental longing of “Blue Mountain,” and draw out the melancholia of “I Hear the Mountains.”
Each work is made new by pulling together the rustic and the symphonic. It seamlessly combines the authenticity of Balsam Range’s traditional approach with string, brass, woodwind and percussion sections. Its effect is profound -- elevating “Matthew,” “Jack Diamond,” “From A Georgia Battlefield,” “Last Train to Kitty Hawk,” “Eldorado Blue,” “Burning Georgia Down,” and “Any Old Road (Will Take You There)” to new heights.
With its ability to break new ground by combining these two musical worlds, Mountain Overture is a true prelude for things to come for this celebrated band.
“Collaborating with Balsam Range has been a highlight in the 73-year history of the Atlanta Pops. Through expert musical arrangements, virtuosic playing and singing, and a most genuine camaraderie, I think we may have discovered an exciting new genre!” says Atlanta Pops Orchestra Ensemble Assistant Conductor Tom Gibson. “We’re very excited for audiences to hear what we’ve discovered. They have such a polished ease in performance, and such a heart-warming openness with their audience...this has been wonderful to witness. And a blessing to emulate. They make music in the most sincere way possible, and blending our sounds has been exhilarating.”
Mountain Overture will be available for streaming and purchase April 27 from Mountain Home Music Company. That evening, Balsam Range will perform with Atlanta Pops Orchestra Ensemble at MerleFest in Wilkesboro, North Carolina on the Watson Stage.