Balsam Range's "What The Years Do" tops monthly bluegrass chart

Article Contributed by Mountain Home … | Published on Sunday, June 4, 2023

After spending two weeks at the top of Bluegrass Today's weekly chart, Balsam Range's latest single, "What The Years Do," has reached No. 1 on the monthly chart, too.

On “What The Years Do,” the band's first new single in over a year, the quintet not only offered a song as powerfully moving as any they’ve done, they also introduced acclaimed mandolinist Alan Bibey as the first new member of the group since it was founded over 15 years ago.

"I'm so honored and excited to see 'What The Years Do' hit No. 1!" says Buddy Melton, vocalist and fiddler. "It's just one of those songs I truly felt connected to and I'm so grateful to have the opportunity to record it — and with the best group of guys and musicians. I feel blessed."

Though the title and its opening verses might cast “What The Years Do” simply as a meditation on the passage of time and the changes in life it brings, there is a deeper theme that reveals itself as the song moves on. A gentle, syncopated opening led by Melton’s fiddle and Bibey’s mandolin gives way to the first two verses, which sound almost like a lament for the disappearance of youth and the accumulation of life responsibilities and lead to a sophisticated yet organic-sounding first chorus:

They’ll put a wallet size of a baby and a wife
Where all your money used to be
They’ll make you realize, they’ll shine a light
On the things you never used to see
Change everything you need
Yeah, that’s what the years do

Yet following a supple instrumental passage that turns once again to fiddle and mandolin, “What The Years Do” takes a deeper, even more heartfelt turn, as Melton delivers a verse that uses down-to-earth language to articulate an insight that speaks a universal truth:

I never was much on that touchy feely stuff, Heaven knows
But it’s just crazy, pretty damn amazing how a heart grows
‘Cause it ain’t nothing for me to say I love you (and to mean it, too)
Yeah, that’s what the years do

The following and final chorus amplifies and extends the acknowledgement of growth, and the final echo that trails away at the end of the song seems to suggest that its lesson will persist through years still to come. All in all, “What The Years Do”is a remarkable song, delivered by a group that knew just what to do with it.

Listen to "What The Years Do" HERE.