Darren Nicholson announces his departure from Balsam Range

Perhaps the most difficult thing to do in the music world is keeping a successful band full of creative artists, singers, and songwriters together, especially as their prominence allows the individual members to consider striking out on their own. We’ve seen it happen time and again, with both the departing artist developing a solo career, while the group he left behind keeps chugging right along.

We are seeing another example today, as Darren Nicholson, mandolinist and vocalist with Balsam Range, announces his intention to leave the band at the end of 2022. Darren is the first of this group of friends from western North Carolina to fly the nest since they first hit the scene in 2007. Of course, Nicholson had released a number of solo projects during their tenure together, so it shouldn’t be a big surprise that he had musical interests outside of the group.

As he looks at life outside of Balsam Range, Darren says…

“I’m very grateful for the last 15 years. Balsam Range has been a huge part of my personal and professional development, as well as a part of my family. What stands out in my mind are the recordings and the songs that seem to have impacted so many people. I feel blessed to have been a part of such influential music, but even with that, the most important takeaway is the incredible people I’ve been able to meet along the way.

In bluegrass, you don’t really have fans, but friends; whether it’s industry people or folks who enjoy and support the music. These are the connections that motivate you to keep going.

I’m really inspired by music and life in general right now. It’s simply time to start a new chapter. I am looking forward to new releases, recordings, and a slew of live performances already on the books for 2023! I just want to say a huge thank you to all who have supported the band and me over the years. I hope to see you all soon!”

Balsam Range fans will have a few last opportunities to see the original group together. This weekend they will be at the Dunn Center at North Carolina Wesleyan College in Rocky Mt, NC, and then at the Balsam Range Art Of Music Festival the first weekend of December.

The remaining founding members, Buddy Melton, Marc Pruett, Caleb Smith, and Tim Surrett, have nothing but well wishes to offer Darren.

“If you’d asked any member of Balsam Range 15 years ago what the future of this band might be, the answers likely would have focused on simply making music and having fun. We certainly did not think we would become an award-winning band with a huge catalog of recorded music. We were simply five guys from Haywood County, North Carolina sharing our mutual love of music. But 15+ years later we can look back and say, what an incredible journey we’ve had – full of wonderful memories, many laughs, and special times that brought us closer.

As with anything in life, change is inevitable. As we come to this place where the roads diverge, we want everyone to know that Balsam Range supports Darren in his new direction, and we remain friends. We also want folks to know, the remaining four of us will continue to pick and sing together as Balsam Range. So, to Darren we say, ‘We love you, brother’ … and to each of you, we say, ‘Thank you for being there!'”

Best of luck to Darren Nicholson going forward. Keep an eye on his web site for more information as it is announced.

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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.