Marc Pruett, life long banjo player extraordinaire and founding member of Balsam Range, suffered a severe fall at a show in California earlier this week. The band was performing at the Redlands Bowl in Redlands, CA and he fell stepping down from the stage right before sound check.
Pruett suffered a broken left wrist, with additional fractures in his left arm and elbow. His left knee was also injured but the damage there is still being assessed. It appears that he will be out of commission for some time.
But before you picture a frail old guy tipping off the stage, Marc climbed back up and did the full set with the band! He was only able to use two left hand fingers to play the banjo, and said that it was extremely painful, but the guys in the band report that he kept his signature smile throughout. That, my friends, is the very definition of a trooper.
In fact, even if he hadn’t fallen, this west coast trip would have been something of a struggle for Marc. He had left his good picks at home – banjo players will understand – and on the flight out, the headstock of his banjo was broken off at the Dallas airport. Fortunately, he and Balsam Range sound tech John Holder were able to glue the headstock back onto the neck so that the show could go on.
Communicating with Pruett today through his daughter, Callie, he told us that up on stage after the fall, he kept thinking about gypsy jazz guitarist, Django Reinhardt, who continued to dazzle audiences after an injury left him with only two fingers on his left hand. Fortunately, it’s the right hand that separates banjo players from the herd, and Pruett has shone in that area for decades.
Callie also shared this bit of gratitude from her father…
“Dad would like to thank the boys in Balsam Range for how much they helped him in getting home to North Carolina. He is in a moderate amount of pain, but he has a great medical team and a good prognosis for recovery. He says he’ll be out of commission for about six to eight weeks.”
No word yet about who will be subbing for Marc when Balsam Range goes back out in early August.
Get well soon Marc!