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Local bluegrass favorite Balsam Range headlines WCU’s Summer Concert Series

Western Carolina University’s 2016 Summer Concert Series continues through July with Wednesday evening performances featuring the Southern Experience Band, Mangas Colorado and the nationally renowned bluegrass ensemble Balsam Range.

All the free concerts begin at 7 p.m. on the lawn of A.K. Hinds University Center. Those planning to attend are encouraged to bring a chair or blanket for seating. In case of rain, the performances move indoors to a nearby campus venue.

The Southern Experience Band, a southern/country rock ensemble known for its tight four-part harmonies, will perform July 13. The group includes lead singer and guitarist Scott Sanders, drummer Nikao Wallace, guitarist J.T. Fitch and bass player Ron Humphries.

Mangas Colorado will take the stage July 20. Performing a blend of Americana, folk and rock, the group includes the Cullowhee-based trio of Seamus Moose, Colby Deitz and Jarrod Couch. The Smoky Mountain News’ Garret K. Woodward has written that the band’s live shows “have made this word-of-mouth ensemble a beloved act in the eyes and ears of Western North Carolina music lovers.”

Members of the bluegrass band Balsam Range – (from left) Tim Surrett, Marc Pruett, Caleb Smith, Buddy Melton and Darren Nicholson – will close out WCU’s Summer Concert Series on Wednesday, July 27.

Members of the bluegrass band Balsam Range – (from left) Tim Surrett, Marc Pruett, Caleb Smith, Buddy Melton and Darren Nicholson – will close out WCU’s Summer Concert Series on Wednesday, July 27.

Balsam Range will be featured July 27. Blending contemporary and traditional bluegrass from their home base in Haywood County, the group includes Grammy Award-winning banjo player Marc Pruett, fiddler Buddy Melton, mandolinist Darren Nicholson, guitar player Caleb Smith and bass player Tim Surrett. Three band members – Melton, Pruett and Surrett – are WCU alumni. The group has won numerous top honors in the bluegrass genre since organizing in 2007, including being named Entertainer of the Year and Vocal Group of the Year by the International Bluegrass Music Association. Balsam Range’s fifth album, “Five,” made its Billboard chart debut at No. 4 and remained on the chart for six weeks. The group consistently tops bluegrass radio airplay lists with its history of top singles.

For more information about the concerts, contact Stephanie Sue Rowell, associate director for campus programs, at 828-227-3751.

By Randall Holcombe

Categories | The Reporter


Photos | WCU News Services

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