Balsam Range's “Snake Charmer” shows off their whimsical side

Article Contributed by Mountain Home … | Published on Sunday, June 11, 2023

After the thoughtful introspection of their last single, “What The Years Do,” bluegrass powerhouses Balsam Range turn the page with “Snake Charmer,” an up-tempo romp that highlights the quintet’s whimsical side.

Written by the team of Milan Miller and Beth Husband — responsible for several of the group’s hits, including “Grit and Grace” and “Rivers, Rains and Runaway Trains” from their last album, Moxie And Mettle — “Snake Charmer” jumps out of the gate in classic bluegrass fashion, with a bluesy intro provided by mandolinist, and the group’s newest member, Alan Bibey. As lead singer Buddy Melton notes, “Alan’s mandolin kick off sets the tone for this song so well, and his mesmerizing playing certainly fits the task at hand.”

Yet from the moment Melton begins to lay out the song’s chorus, it’s clear that this is no self-pitying lament — or, rather, that its narrator is self-aware enough to gently mock his own misery:

I’m gonna be a snake charmer
Palm reader, honey bee farmer
Gotta find something else to do
Anything but loving you

As the story unwinds and the singer reviews his options, a succession of blistering solos by Melton on fiddle, Marc Pruett (banjo) and guitarist Caleb Smith punctuate verses replete with rhyming wordplay:

I made myself a list of crazy things
Pipedreams, plans and ramblings
Jobs I’d like to try
Ways I think that I
Could maybe say goodbye
To the sting that heartbreak brings

A sardonic bridge and a couple of choruses round out the theme before Pruett returns to put the hammer down and Bibey follows with a virtuosic bookending coda that rides powerful rhythmic work from the band to the final chord.

Says Melton, “‘Snake Charmer’ is a fun twist on the classic song subject of lost love and breakups: rather than pining over someone, why not take up some unusual hobbies? No doubt it is hard to focus on lost love when you are trying hard to charm a snake!”

Listen to "Snake Charmer" HERE.