Marc Pruett, the banjo player in Balsam Range, has had a long and very impressive career in bluegrass music. He was born in 1951 and raised in the town of Canton (near Asheville) in the mountains of North Carolina. He may be one of the few guys around today performing in a top-tier active bluegrass band who can tell stories about such things as opening a show for Flatt & Scruggs in 1967, being on stage at the Grand Ole Opry with Jimmy Martin in the early 1970s, or being in James Monroe’s band on a package tour called “The Bluegrass Express” in 1973 with Bill Monroe, Jim & Jesse, Ralph Stanley, and Lester Flatt. Bill Monroe even taught him how to shave when he still had nothing but peach-fuzz on his face!
If you’d be interested in the details of Marc’s travels along the bluegrass highway—from his days performing as a teenager in Maggie Valley, North Carolina’s western-themed Ghost Town in the 1960s, through his days performing with Jimmy Martin and James Monroe, to his time with Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder, and now 14 years with Balsam Range—then you will love Marc’s wonderful new book Rascally Mountain Boy.
The book is roughly divided into three sections. In the first section Marc tells stories about the pre-music days of his youth running through the mountains of North Carolina with his younger brother Matt. Marc is a talented storyteller and holds the reader’s interest as he tells family stories about his grandparents, parents, neighbors, and other town’s folk. If you grew up in a rural area of the country in the 1950s or 1960s, Marc walks you through relatable memories. If you did not grow up in a rural or mountain setting in those days, his stories will help you to understand what that life was like and you will have the opportunity to meet many interesting characters along the way.
In the second section of the book, Marc tells the stories of his musical journey in bluegrass. You’ll read fascinating new tales about your bluegrass heroes like Bill Monroe, Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs, Jimmy Martin, and more. Marc also tells you about the decade he spent playing with the Marc Pruett Band nearly every day of the week at Bill Stanley’s BBQ in Asheville, North Carolina. You’ll also learn about Marc’s time with Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder, which includes performing on the legendary Bluegrass Rules CD. There is a lot of great bluegrass history here.
In the third section of the book, Marc presents the lyrics to many of the songs that he has written over the years. The most interesting part of this section is that as a prelude to the song lyrics Marc tells you the story or inspiration behind the song.
All-in-all this book is a very pleasant read. If you have ever met Marc Pruett, you know him to be a very nice, personable, down-to-earth, humble, friendly human being who always has a big smile and kind word for everyone he meets. If you have never met Marc, you will get to know him as described above by reading this book…you’ll also learn about his “rascally” side. After you read it, go ahead and approach Marc at the next Balsam Range show and let him know how you liked it. He’ll be happy to “shake and howdy” with you.
You can purchase Rascally Mountain Boy on the Balsam Range website: www.balsamrange.com