A chat with Tim Surrett, IBMA Board Vice Chair

Tim SurrettWe caught up yesterday with Tim Surrett, bassist with Balsam Range, producer and worker bee at Mountain Home Music, and the new Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of the IBMA. He’s also a dedicated husband and father, and when we spoke on Tuesday, he was driving home eager to get outside and play some ball with his son.

First off, he caught me up with the IBMA Board and the new members who have been brought on to fill the slots of the directors who resigned in November of last year.

“There are three new at-large members, appointed by the Board: D.A. Callaway from Silver Dollar City, Leah Ross from Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion, and bluegrass radio host Steve Martin. Regina Derzon, with the DC Bluegrass Union, has been voted in as Secretary.”

But what he really wanted to talk about was World of Bluegrass 2015, scheduled for September 29 – October 3.

“I think this year is going to be great. My first IBMA Board meeting was at IBMA in Nashville – the last meeting there, during WOB 2012. I didn’t know anyone there but maybe Carl Jackson, and started on the ride towards Raleigh, wondering what it would be like.

The first time I walked to the top of the escalator in Raleigh, looked down on the exhibit hall, and saw all the picks and strings and capos and everything… That was my first proud board member moment.

I think Raleigh’s awesome, and it’s been fun for me to be involved with the folks there in town. It’s really great, and it’s a great relationship.”

Tim also mentioned the efforts to continue the evolution of The Bluegrass Ramble, the official showcase presentations held during IBMA week at venues that span the several blocks of downtown Raleigh. As we mentioned yesterday, this year will also include afternoon showcase performances for the first time.

He said that they are listening to what each year’s showcase artists, and the attendees at the various locations think of the changes being implemented, in an attempt to nail it down.

“We’re still tweaking on this, in an effort to get more bands in, and more good opportunities for these bands to play. We beg everyone’s patience as we continue to work on The Bluegrass Ramble.”

The weekend gig is really starting to pick up, as well. Surrett says that Balsam Range is busier than they’ve ever been.

“We’re in the midst of touring like mad, and starting on the ‘let’s make a new record’ process. April is the busiest month we’ve had for a long, long time.”

And during the week, he’s in nearby Arden, NC doing record label work.

“Everyday that I’m home I’m working with Crossroads. I’ve been involved with that label for the past 30 years, in one way or another. I work with Mountain Home, and produce albums for them.”

It’s good to see Surrett fitting in well with the IBMA Executive Committee.

But he had better watch out… Recent Vice Chairs have been elevated after a few years to the Chair. Tim may want to do some thinking about whether he wants that position in the future.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.