Relay For Life Event Returns August 20

LENOIR, NC (July 29, 2021) — Relay For Life of Catawba Valley’s second event of the summer is scheduled August 20. The Relay For Life of Catawba Valley covers Alexander, Caldwell and Catawba counties. The event is called Back to Grassroots for a CURE! This event will be held AUGUST 20 at the J.E Broyhill Civic Center in Lenoir at 7pm.

We are excited to feature one of the top bluegrass award winning bands that heralds from NC’s Haywood county.

Balsam Range is the 2014 & 2018 International Bluegrass Music Association’s Entertainer of the Year. BALSAM RANGE has been nominated for 4 IBMA awards for 2021, Vocal Group, Song of the Year, Gospel Recording and again the prestigious Entertainer of the Year! The band has also received “Album of the Year” (twice), “Song of the Year” (twice) “Vocal Group of the Year” (twice), “Male Vocalist of the Year” (Buddy Melton, twice) and “Bass Player of the Year” (Tim Surrett, twice). They have had audiences spellbound while headlining major festivals coast-to-coast such as MerleFest headliner for 2018 and 2021 and multiple appearances on the Grand Ole Opry! They have 13 IBMA awards and 8 award winning albums with 2 recorded with the Atlanta Pops Orchestra Ensemble! The band currently holds the #1 Bluegrass song “Richest Man” for 2020 on the Bluegrass Today Airplay chart. The quintet has been together since forming in 2007 and calls NC’s Haywood County their home. The name Balsam Range derived from a nearly mountain range called Balsam Range. The band hosts a Art of Music Festival each year at Lake Junaluska, NC, the first weekend in December, which brings in top bluegrass bands and holds a weekend of music workshops.

MARC PRUETT their Banjo player has played with notables and performing onstage with some of the pillars of bluegrass music (Bill Monroe, Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs, Jimmy Martin, among countless others), and his tenure with Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder, which yielded a Grammy Award in 1998 for “Best Bluegrass Album” (for Skaggs’ record “Bluegrass Rules!”).

TIM SURRETT the bass player is a Southern gospel singer of renown. Before his current role in the Balsam Range bluegrass band, he was best known for his decade with the Kingsmen Quartet, with whom he sang lead and baritone.

CALEB SMITH when not performing or songwriting you will find him at his guitar building shop where he has made hundreds of guitars including for great players, Griff Martin, Bryan Sutton and Trey Hensley. And he’s made four for the Zac Brown Band. His name has become famous in the guitar industry and in Nashville.

DARREN NICHOLSON grew up in a musical family that led him to play many times on the Grand Ole Opry stage. The mandolinist player Darren has recorded or performed on stage with Bobby Osborne, Buck White, Tony Rice, Alison Krauss, Dan Tyminski, Claire Lynch, Vince Gill, and Bela Fleck.

BUDDY MELTON after graduating from Western Carolina University got serious with his fiddle playing. He took up songwriting and is the bands lead singer. Buddy is the bands leader and organizer. After a farming accident in 2012 Buddy Melton was hospitalized with major head trauma and it was touch and go whether he would be able to sing again but he miraculous made a recovery that even his voice was better than before the accident!!

“I grew up in Haywood county. There was always music; it was a big part of our heritage, the folk festivals ad dance festivals,” Melton said. “My family didn’t play music but I would square dance and clog and go to festivals”.

When Melton went off to college at Western Carolina University, he took an old fiddle from his parents’ wall. One of his roommates had a banjo. With little knowledge of national bluegrass, they played what they were familiar with. “It was all Western North Carolina influence. That’s true of the majority of the band, because we are from this rich area and influenced by the music here, we have an understanding and common background of heritage and upbringing.”

Balsam Range is rooted in community, family, faith and regional sounds. While some bluegrass bands often only see each other at gigs and record digitally in different states, they do it the old fashioned way. All five band members live within a 10 minutes drive to each other.

Relay For Life is thrilled to bring the multi-talented group to this area to raise funds for the American Cancer Society. Our mission is to improve the rate of survival for cancer patients, to decrease the rate of cancer and to give a better quality of life for the cancer patient.

A concert fundraiser brings our people and community together for a common cause. A benefit for Relay for Life raises funds for the American Cancer Society and all profit will go directly to the American Cancer Society. Our fundraising events are key to fighting for our mission and building a supportive cancer community. Our community events and patient services are funded entirely by donations and our fundraising efforts.

Join us AUGUST 20 as Relay For Life of Catawba Valley presents BALSAM RANGE!! Get your tickets reserved! Tickets are $35 and can be ordered online: or box office 828 726 2407 Event page link:

Press Release courtesy of Sherry Stilwell