Here is a great new stocking-stuffer from Balsam Range just in time for the Christmas season. Balsam Range is Tim Surrett (bass, resonator guitar), Buddy Melton (fiddle), Darren Nicholson (mandolin, octave mandolin), Dr. Marc Pruett (banjo) and Caleb Smith (guitar). The project also includes the string section of the Nashville Recording Orchestra along with Sam Levine on saxophone.
The project kicks off with Doc Watson’s “Christmas Lullaby” and “The First Noel,” both tunes covered by the band’s four-part harmonies backed by the illustrious string section. “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree” is an old favorite and gets a new treatment from Melton’s lead and Sam Levine’s sassy sax solo. Ralph Stanley’s “I’m Going Home, It’s Christmas Time” is held to a pretty traditional delivery with Nicholson’s lead. Strings and great harmonies are again featured on “Hark The Herald Angels Sing.” Lastly, the string section gives a beautiful lead-in to “Jingle Bells” before the band takes the listener on an instrumental sleigh ride, with each taking a break, including the strings section.
Many should find this new project a welcome addition to their holiday music collection. (Mountain Home, P.O. Box 829, Arden, NC 28704, www.mountainhomemusiccompany.com.)BF