Gateway to the Smokies

Tuesday, January 19, 2021
Facebook Live Video from 2021/01/19 - Bluegrass in the Smoky Mountains

Facebook Live Video from 2021/01/19 - Bluegrass in the Smoky Mountains


2021/01/19 - Bluegrass in the Smoky Mountains

[NEW EPISODE] Bluegrass in the Smoky Mountains

Tim Surrett, member of the award-winning and chart topping bluegrass band Balsam Range, will talk about blue grass music in the Smoky Mountains and current music scene.

Tune in for this fun conversation at or watch the Facebook Livestream by clicking here.

Show Notes

Segment 1

Joseph Mcelroy first introduces the Bulsam Mountain Range and it’s wonders. Tim Surrett has a strong connection to the area, his band is even named after the area. He is a member of the award winning Balsam Range. Growing up in that area, nature was the greatest recreation they had. He has fond memories of his father loading up the car and taking the long way as they rode to the Smokies where they would trout fish. Tim’s father was a musician, enjoyed singing country, and introduced him to music at a young age. He was also a fan of his cousin’s band and wanted to join. Tim bought a bass and ended up playing with some of the people that his dad played with. He was able to listen to Raymond Fairchild pay at his school as a child. As an adult he was able to play with him at the historic Cherokee Festival.

Segment 2

Out of high school, at seventeen Tim began touring with a gospel quartet called the Happy Travelers. From there on he fell in love with gospel music and played it for a very long time. The music was popular everywhere. One time he even missed his prom to play in Detroit. The gospel audience embraced all styles, country gospel, bluegrass gospel and more.  What was most important was the message and that the music was good. Tim tells us about his knowledge and love of the Cherokee Gospel.

Tim was able to sing for the Kingsmen with Eldridge fox and Ray Reese. His first time singsing at the Grand Ole Opry was with the Kingsmen. People in Canada would drive six to eight hours to hear these performances.  He played in Ashford at a festival called Bell Shares where they had a large audience of farmers and hipsters.

Segment 3

In 1991 Tim and his friend Mickey Gamble formed a new recording company called The Mountain Home Music Company. There’s so much bluegrass and gospel in the area but he’s begging to see more artist. One of the artists that stands out to him is Bryan Sutton. Tim met him while he was still a high school student. Tim thinks bluegrass feels the most authentic to him. The synth era of the 80s drove him closer to bluegrass, he has a greater emotional connection to it. Tim spoke of his experience with Balsam Range. When they formed the band in Canton they hadn’t known each other for long. They had so much fun on the two records that they worked on that they decided to meet up and play together a few times. After getting together in 2007, Buddy Melton asked them if they wanted to join him for a show he was asked to play at. They were a hit and they decided to play together more.

Segment 4

When they named themselves Balsam Range they believed that they would only be a local group. At first they were going to call themselves the Great Balsam Range but though Great sounded too pretentious. All of the members are singers so there is not a single lead singer. They have a lot of variety in their arrangements. Their latest album is AEONIC. There is a new record in the works and their newest single is Rivers, Rains, Runaway Trains. Unfortunately Tim predicts that there will not be many live shows and things will be similar to the rest of 2020. Since last march he has only played three shows. Right now they are using this time to focus on their music. Every December they host their own festival, the Balsam Range Art and Music Festival. It is usually hosed in the Stuart Auditorium which is an indoor facility. Usually their guest will travel from across the country and internationally but in these times that won't work out. Tim Surrett currently has a radio show on WPTL Radio called Papertown Roots Radio. It airs every Tuesday and Thursday at 7pm EST and can be found on Facebook as well.


00:00:27.510 --> 00:00:32.610 Joseph McElroy: Hello. Thanks for joining us on this week's episode of gateway to the Smokies podcast.

00:00:33.240 --> 00:00:40.620 Joseph McElroy: This podcast is about America's most visited National Park, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the surrounding towns.

00:00:41.070 --> 00:00:49.260 Joseph McElroy: This area is filled with ancient natural beauty deep story history and rich mountain cultures that we will explore with weekly episodes.

00:00:49.890 --> 00:01:01.320 Joseph McElroy: I am jealous of Franklin McIlroy man of the world, but also with deep roots in these mountains. My family is living the great smokies for over 200 years my businesses in travel but my heart is in culture.

00:01:02.280 --> 00:01:12.510 Joseph McElroy: Today we have, we're going to be talking about bluegrass and gospel. My guest today is a strong connection to the Smoky Mountains is known to everyone who loves, loves bluegrass and gospel music

00:01:13.050 --> 00:01:20.430 Joseph McElroy: And hang on to the end and we will give you some tips and resources to continue actually your explorations of the Smokies

00:01:21.630 --> 00:01:28.770 Joseph McElroy: Now, first let me give you a little hint on who our guest is by telling you about the map Boston mountain section of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

00:01:30.300 --> 00:01:44.010 Joseph McElroy: It's in it's in North Carolina. And it's one of it is the. It's one of the parks highest elevation areas and it's accessible by car, and it also has great I think camping and picnicking and spectacular views.

00:01:45.540 --> 00:02:01.470 Joseph McElroy: It has only been as it has paved access by taking a road called the Blue Ridge Parkway Boston mountain road. And there's also an exciting way down, called the high end toga Ridge Road, which is a one lane dirt road going one way

00:02:01.950 --> 00:02:04.770 Joseph McElroy: With the love us long it are stupendous

00:02:06.060 --> 00:02:15.450 Joseph McElroy: Especially in the fall when you get all those fall colors and when you will eventually end up being eventually use that to get the big code road, I want to bring you right into Cherokee

00:02:16.110 --> 00:02:30.060 Joseph McElroy: Now, what are the most unusual unusual thing things you'll find in North Carolina's spoken man parks and probably a lot of places that you'll find a Masonic marker mute monument in the in the in the along that road.

00:02:31.140 --> 00:02:44.310 Joseph McElroy: And it's basically where it meets the boss, a mountain section of the Great Smoky Mountains park in the boss of mountain road and it's a it's a it's an unusual Mark, Mark. Mark monument that marks the spot where the world's

00:02:44.850 --> 00:02:51.090 Joseph McElroy: largest and oldest fraternal organization and Masons have their summer assembly since 1935

00:02:53.010 --> 00:03:04.470 Joseph McElroy: And and i mean i you know just you find these things in the mountains, all the time. Yeah, like late you Alaska is the is the center of the world Methodist Council.

00:03:04.770 --> 00:03:12.150 Joseph McElroy: You know people like to come to the mountains and establish long traditions. Another big thing, I think, in the balsa mountain areas. The is that it has

00:03:12.570 --> 00:03:26.430 Joseph McElroy: It has a really fantastic picnic area historic beginning Gary, it's actually the most drastic Park picnic area and it also has the highest elevation in the, in the, all of the park well over 5000 feet.

00:03:26.790 --> 00:03:45.090 Joseph McElroy: Of elevation. It has a bunch of picking sites BEHALF OF THEM AND WHICH IS REALLY INTERESTED IN HALF OF THEM ARE THESE handmade huge stone slabs with split logs benches and they're one of a kind tables that were made by the stonemasons in the civilian converts conservative

00:03:45.120 --> 00:03:46.170 Hope Surrett: Conservation Corps.

00:03:46.380 --> 00:03:52.350 Joseph McElroy: In the 30s and a really standing testament to craftsmanship and of course I can't forget to mention

00:03:53.340 --> 00:04:01.860 Joseph McElroy: Cold Mountain is in the balsam range. I don't know if you remember that book that best selling book in the movie with Nicole Kidman about a civil war veteran and the sweetheart. The left behind.

00:04:02.520 --> 00:04:07.980 Joseph McElroy: But it has some great fight hiking trails and of course it's a great story to take back and tell people that you went to go map.

00:04:10.110 --> 00:04:28.230 Joseph McElroy: Now I'm telling you this because my guest has a song strong connection to bounce the ball right he's 10, sir. He's the is one of today's top artists making real root music and he's a member of the legendary award winning Best selling bluegrass band balsam range.

00:04:29.460 --> 00:04:37.800 Joseph McElroy: And he has a decades long career in bluegrass gospel music, including alongside it stint with the Kingsman Hello, Tim, how are you today.

00:04:38.100 --> 00:04:41.490 Hope Surrett: I'm doing good. Joseph. Thank you for having me on, man. This is really cool.

00:04:42.000 --> 00:04:48.450 Joseph McElroy: Yeah, it's it's really cool having you here. I was so excited. I had to call people up and say, I have to insert here balsam range.

00:04:51.660 --> 00:04:52.200 Hope Surrett: Come on.

00:04:52.350 --> 00:04:54.870 Joseph McElroy: I was starstruck man. I was like, oh my god.

00:04:56.040 --> 00:05:00.540 Joseph McElroy: Yeah. So no, I've been hearing about you. For a long time now, people will never sung about

00:05:00.540 --> 00:05:07.590 Joseph McElroy: Music in the mountains. They go, you know, balsam range now so you become a real name, and I mean you're you're become legendary it's

00:05:07.590 --> 00:05:08.850 Hope Surrett: A w to say

00:05:09.090 --> 00:05:19.680 Joseph McElroy: Yeah. So you were, you were actually born and raised in Canton, which is right near the balsam range. Yeah, back in the middle of the Smoky Mountains. What are you fond memories of the Smoky Mountains going up there.

00:05:20.100 --> 00:05:28.680 Hope Surrett: Well just just growing up here, and I'm very fortunate. My dad was a great lover of the outdoors and

00:05:29.790 --> 00:05:36.660 Hope Surrett: He was a railroad man here in the in the Smoky Mountains for the for the Norfolk Southern railroad, but he you know

00:05:37.590 --> 00:05:52.410 Hope Surrett: Back when I was growing up the outdoors was our are, you know, it was all recreation. We had really, you know, when you grow up in the mountains here. You might remember you got you might get to TV channels, depending on which way the winds blowing prior to cable, you know,

00:05:54.540 --> 00:06:02.820 Hope Surrett: So all Recreation was based on outdoors. My dad left to hunt and fish and and then just drive around, you know that I'm still in the days of the

00:06:03.510 --> 00:06:18.660 Hope Surrett: The Sunday drive or whatever. And a lot of times we load up in the car or whatever and drop the parkway or, or, you know, go visit relatives and my dad was a great it drives my wife nuts. Now, because now I'm the same way, but he was the kind of guys. So let's take the long way.

00:06:18.750 --> 00:06:20.460 Joseph McElroy: The same. Very good. I remember that.

00:06:21.420 --> 00:06:28.440 Hope Surrett: And he also as I was growing up, my dad always kept a couple of Tennessee walking horses, not for showing but for trail riding.

00:06:28.710 --> 00:06:39.930 Hope Surrett: Right. So we spent a lot of summer times riding back into the Smokies, you know, places that would ride to Clemens dome, which is the highest point east of the Mississippi and

00:06:40.620 --> 00:06:45.840 Hope Surrett: Or oil, one of the highest points. It's the second highest I guess next amount Mitchell, but we would ride.

00:06:46.620 --> 00:07:02.670 Hope Surrett: 3040 miles back into the Smoky Mountains nice department camp and trout fish. And so I grew up. And also, um, you know, 35 minutes from Cherokee and as a child, the history of the of the Cherokee people fascinated me and and does, to this day, so

00:07:03.870 --> 00:07:09.090 Hope Surrett: I, you know, I've been involved in that all my life. And it's just, it's amazing place to grow up.

00:07:09.630 --> 00:07:14.490 Joseph McElroy: We do I look I was looking at me, or about the same age. So you're probably going to piss. Good.

00:07:15.000 --> 00:07:18.660 Joseph McElroy: Yeah, same time, I was going to Tesco. I graduated in 80 so

00:07:18.690 --> 00:07:19.920 Hope Surrett: Well, that's all.

00:07:21.420 --> 00:07:30.450 Joseph McElroy: People might not know but is considered the most, the biggest rivalry and high school football in the nation. A few years back. So MAJOR MAGAZINE said was

00:07:30.540 --> 00:07:41.880 Hope Surrett: Oh yeah yes came and covered the game. It's crazy to me in Canton, we have about 4500 people and for the Pisco testicle. The game will have 12,000 people out of here. I don't even know.

00:07:43.710 --> 00:07:45.990 Joseph McElroy: It was a thing to do on Friday nights I think

00:07:46.680 --> 00:07:47.070 Joseph McElroy: Right.

00:07:47.100 --> 00:07:48.570 Hope Surrett: Yeah, it is absolutely

00:07:48.600 --> 00:07:54.390 Joseph McElroy: The and you know i i was we were Tennessee walkers to sound like you were describing my childhood just

00:07:55.230 --> 00:07:56.070 Joseph McElroy: Take it on the long

00:07:56.580 --> 00:08:05.430 Joseph McElroy: long rows and you know and and we were doing. We had our own had our own Tennessee walks because my dad. He was a horse trader so

00:08:05.790 --> 00:08:20.100 Joseph McElroy: I got one. I got one horse that was a plow horse combination plow horse and Tennessee Walker Walker. So it was a little bit rough and then the other one, they gave to me because I was the only a big enough to handle that every time he got on his foot kicking the butt. Oh, yeah.

00:08:21.240 --> 00:08:32.970 Hope Surrett: My dad was a big man about 320 he weighed and he had a big old horse was about 16 hands tall it to shoulder. It was a monster and but it was the sweetest thing. And I remember as a kid.

00:08:35.610 --> 00:08:43.920 Hope Surrett: I would come home from school and take a cinder block and prop it up long ways, so I can stand up on in that horse would walk up. Let me get on it. And so I'd ride around that.

00:08:45.480 --> 00:08:51.240 Joseph McElroy: Well yeah, I understand your dad was a big influence on you on your on your music. Pretty, pretty early. Right.

00:08:51.480 --> 00:08:53.280 Hope Surrett: Yes, absolutely. Dad was a

00:08:54.630 --> 00:09:06.960 Hope Surrett: Was an excellent singer. He played guitar a bit, and he was what I would call a jokingly referred to as an animal singer you know it was a Friday night was the moose lodge Saturday night was Elks Lodge.

00:09:09.330 --> 00:09:10.680 Hope Surrett: Lions Club, you know,

00:09:11.880 --> 00:09:12.030 Hope Surrett: And

00:09:13.260 --> 00:09:15.480 Hope Surrett: All the local little places. He was fine.

00:09:16.650 --> 00:09:23.880 Hope Surrett: He sang a lot of bluegrass he loved bluegrass but he was a better country singer in the, you know, the old time like Marty Robbins right price.

00:09:24.960 --> 00:09:26.310 Hope Surrett: Kind of country singer.

00:09:26.700 --> 00:09:27.600 Hope Surrett: So, and he would

00:09:27.660 --> 00:09:42.510 Hope Surrett: End, and I'm very grateful he let me tag along to the practices which I was enthralled with as just a small kid all the instruments blew my mind whether it was a bluegrass band or a country by end with steel guitars and whatnot, you know,

00:09:43.920 --> 00:09:49.710 Hope Surrett: So there was a great element of music in my life for my earliest memories so

00:09:50.220 --> 00:09:52.620 Joseph McElroy: Southern rock to you did a little bit of electric based in

00:09:52.980 --> 00:09:53.400 Hope Surrett: Oh, yeah.

00:09:53.430 --> 00:09:53.730 Joseph McElroy: Yeah.

00:09:54.570 --> 00:10:10.440 Hope Surrett: I got my when I was 14 my dad was trying to coax me into doing well in school guess about ninth grade and he promised me if I would do well and first semester, he'd buy me any guitar. I wanted for Christmas and I had my own Les Paul, I was going to be Led Zeppelin, you know, and

00:10:12.540 --> 00:10:21.090 Hope Surrett: But my cousin, my cousin, my cousin had he's three years older than me. He was a senior high school and he had a high school, kind of a garage.

00:10:21.510 --> 00:10:29.430 Hope Surrett: Slash basement rock band that I just worship them, you know, and I knew their bass player was leaving, and my cousin told me if I could get a bass.

00:10:29.850 --> 00:10:39.420 Hope Surrett: I was in, you know, cuz it was the one finger base. Back then it was a you know ZZ Top bad but and I you had a base in three minutes. You are in a band, you know,

00:10:41.430 --> 00:10:51.480 Hope Surrett: So I got the base instead of the Les Paul and started playing with everybody that my dad had played with. And I was so enamored with playing that I would play

00:10:52.170 --> 00:11:05.580 Hope Surrett: With dad's old country guys one night a week, I would play rock and roll somewhere in Asheville, North Carolina just down the road here on, you know, Friday or Saturday and and and probably in a church on Sunday with some other folks so

00:11:06.300 --> 00:11:06.780 Asked me

00:11:10.800 --> 00:11:11.310 Hope Surrett: Yeah, and then

00:11:12.090 --> 00:11:21.060 Hope Surrett: Some of it was funny cuz I stepped right in my dad kind of retired out of it. And I sort of stepped right into his a lot, especially a couple of his luck, the old country band.

00:11:21.540 --> 00:11:31.020 Hope Surrett: And some of the Bluegrass guys here in Canton which there are a lot of and and I didn't even know the names of the songs, but I'd heard him play him so much. I just stepped in started playing so

00:11:32.640 --> 00:11:35.070 Joseph McElroy: Did you ever play Maggie that old bands all

00:11:35.400 --> 00:11:38.550 Hope Surrett: The talking about the house.

00:11:38.970 --> 00:11:40.860 Joseph McElroy: Yeah, very rarely play house. Yeah.

00:11:42.840 --> 00:11:51.540 Hope Surrett: Well you know I was also want to clog in team. That's the first time I made it to the Grand Ole Opry. I mean, I would. When I was a kid square dancing clogging was a huge deal.

00:11:52.080 --> 00:11:59.370 Hope Surrett: And i mean i mean you're not, I would League baseball practice or football practice and still in uniform and go to Target practice.

00:12:00.390 --> 00:12:00.720 Joseph McElroy: We know

00:12:01.440 --> 00:12:05.940 Hope Surrett: The valley Playhouse funny. I tell people all the time. That was our skating rink.

00:12:07.560 --> 00:12:09.210 Hope Surrett: You wanted to hold hands with a pretty girl.

00:12:12.180 --> 00:12:12.630 Joseph McElroy: I learned

00:12:13.650 --> 00:12:20.220 Joseph McElroy: I learned about dance. And I remember when I came back to the cities. Yeah, I'd get up and dance and people look like like I was insane.

00:12:21.480 --> 00:12:27.990 Hope Surrett: I actually, I actually called at a bar mitzvah in San Francisco wants and they thought out in invented some kind of new staff.

00:12:30.630 --> 00:12:33.090 Joseph McElroy: Well, yeah, no, that's the that's

00:12:34.650 --> 00:12:39.000 Joseph McElroy: The thing. It's like the one place for white men in America will get up and dance by themselves.

00:12:41.430 --> 00:12:43.650 Hope Surrett: Yeah, let's get up and do it too.

00:12:46.980 --> 00:12:51.420 Joseph McElroy: So that's cool. Did you ever. Did you ever get to beat your pay play with Raymond Raymond

00:12:52.590 --> 00:12:53.850 Hope Surrett: Raymond Fairchild, sure.

00:12:55.140 --> 00:13:01.680 Hope Surrett: I remember Raymond, the first time come into my elementary school, which was Pennsylvania Avenue Elementary School here in Canton and

00:13:02.850 --> 00:13:06.360 Hope Surrett: Raymond would come with his band and play for the kids, you know, it's really cool.

00:13:06.960 --> 00:13:20.100 Hope Surrett: And then later years, I met Raymond when I started playing bluegrass we played the same festivals like the big Cherokee festival and and all over the country. We played with Raymond Fairchild, and usually Raymond in the crow brothers Josh and willing crow cool, though.

00:13:21.150 --> 00:13:25.710 Joseph McElroy: He just died recently. I remember you remember the grown up with him in the mountains and it was

00:13:25.710 --> 00:13:26.340 Hope Surrett: All he was a

00:13:26.370 --> 00:13:27.600 Hope Surrett: He was a character, man. He

00:13:27.600 --> 00:13:38.940 Hope Surrett: Was he was a lot of things. He was a storyteller and moonshine, or I mean just all kind of stuff and he had hit a million selling single with a with a banjo instrumental

00:13:39.240 --> 00:13:39.750 Joseph McElroy: Yeah, I can.

00:13:39.900 --> 00:13:42.450 Hope Surrett: fix these all yet go break. It's all over the place. Yeah.

00:13:42.540 --> 00:13:51.060 Joseph McElroy: Yeah, well. Cool. We got to take a break and when we come back we'll talk more about the Blue Grass and gospel. All right.

00:13:51.510 --> 00:13:52.770 Joseph McElroy: Yes, sir. Yeah.

00:16:07.290 --> 00:16:10.920 Joseph McElroy: Hey this is Joseph backward back with the gateway to the Smokies

00:16:12.180 --> 00:16:19.860 Joseph McElroy: Pop. Pop it were the Smokies podcast. Now I've just been told by people that might not be playing on Facebook right now and if people were looking for it.

00:16:21.930 --> 00:16:22.380 Joseph McElroy: Yeah.

00:16:23.730 --> 00:16:31.440 Joseph McElroy: Tim, you might want to page post on your Facebook pages to talk radio dot NYC slash live, you know, look.

00:16:32.070 --> 00:16:32.730 Hope Surrett: I can do that.

00:16:33.000 --> 00:16:33.450 Yeah.

00:16:35.190 --> 00:16:38.190 Joseph McElroy: Anyway, let's let's do that right quick. So

00:16:39.630 --> 00:16:42.270 People can get to. Because there's people that want to hear it.

00:16:44.010 --> 00:16:51.120 Joseph McElroy: And if the engineer out there can listen and maybe make sure it's a streaming after our Facebook our Facebook page.

00:16:51.600 --> 00:16:51.990 Hope Surrett: Oh, you gotta

00:16:53.910 --> 00:16:54.660 Hope Surrett: You gotta have you

00:16:55.020 --> 00:16:56.310 Joseph McElroy: Gotta have that. So I

00:16:58.740 --> 00:17:02.490 Joseph McElroy: Don't know why it's not there, but sorry about that, folks.

00:17:03.660 --> 00:17:04.560 Joseph McElroy: So,

00:17:06.270 --> 00:17:10.350 Joseph McElroy: Anyway, let's continue here and hopefully they'll fix that for people

00:17:15.210 --> 00:17:23.160 Joseph McElroy: Where, where we've said we're talking about talking about your playing music and place and he started professionally tour and when you were very young or cheap.

00:17:24.480 --> 00:17:28.230 Joseph McElroy: And so, you know, we're right what right out of high school, right.

00:17:28.560 --> 00:17:39.090 Hope Surrett: Yeah, I started traveling with a group out of Canton here, a local gospel group. Well, I say local I was a senior in high school at Pisco 17 and

00:17:39.660 --> 00:17:53.880 Hope Surrett: This group from Canton here called the happy travelers. They were a gospel quartet, which I knew nothing about gospel quartets except grown up here, you got a heavy dose of the inspirations from Bryson city and the Kingsman from Asheville

00:17:55.170 --> 00:18:07.740 Hope Surrett: Other than that I had no idea, but these guys wanted me to play and travel, which at 17. I can't believe they had a big silver Eagle bus, you know, and we went out the first weekend and and they hired me and

00:18:09.390 --> 00:18:18.330 Hope Surrett: Yeah. And that was it, and I fell in love with the gospel music that was going on at that time and and stayed in it a long, long time, you know,

00:18:18.690 --> 00:18:29.520 Joseph McElroy: You know, I remember. Around that time, you know, the there was sort of a religious revival going on with the young people quite a bit because I got, I was in that too. I was preaching at the Methodist Church and everything. So, you know, I think.

00:18:30.210 --> 00:18:34.410 Joseph McElroy: You know, you know, that was a big time for getting a little bit in the gospel.

00:18:34.770 --> 00:18:40.350 Joseph McElroy: Sure, yeah. So, um, what what towns were the big in the circuit back those days.

00:18:40.530 --> 00:18:41.970 Hope Surrett: Oh, gosh. Well, you know,

00:18:43.620 --> 00:18:57.960 Hope Surrett: The, the Bible. Well, really well. I'll tell you this, you know, it was. It's hard to say it was it was popular all over the especially the eastern part of the United States. I missed my senior prom at HP is good because we were playing in Detroit, Michigan that night.

00:18:57.990 --> 00:18:58.740 Joseph McElroy: Oh, wow.

00:18:58.860 --> 00:19:10.440 Hope Surrett: And the group. I was in those. Those guys were kind of a, I will say be level group. They were kind of an opening act for the major gospel groups of the day, which you know Kingsman inspirations.

00:19:11.130 --> 00:19:27.060 Hope Surrett: You know cathedrals, all these great gospel groups. So I went from straight from hospital chorus and band to, you know, plan in Detroit. That night as part of the opening act on those concerts and just kind of kept going up through there because I love the music, you know,

00:19:27.450 --> 00:19:43.320 Joseph McElroy: Cool. So, you know, no. I read a little bit about gospel music and you know that there seems like there was a time that remains the gospel sort of mainstream mainstream Gospel is turning tend to be a little bit like Quartet.

00:19:43.740 --> 00:19:44.310 Joseph McElroy: Right, yeah.

00:19:44.580 --> 00:19:48.990 Joseph McElroy: And then you then mountain gas gospel was a bit different. Right.

00:19:49.680 --> 00:19:59.280 Hope Surrett: Yeah. And absolutely, there was the mail quartet thing which has been popular since the 1940s with groups like the statesman quartet. These are groups that would come all over the country.

00:19:59.970 --> 00:20:13.320 Hope Surrett: Well, even the Ryman auditorium one weekend a month one Saturday night, a month was an all night gospel singer, you know, the Romans Grand Ole Opry years and there were, you know, there was there was the Quartet style with the statesman, the black wood brothers.

00:20:14.550 --> 00:20:23.850 Hope Surrett: And then there was the family group kind of thing with the happy good moans the Hanson, some of these people, you'd say on the gospel singing Jubilee on Sunday morning. Right. It's

00:20:24.390 --> 00:20:37.740 Hope Surrett: hugely popular syndicated show and and then you had Bluegrass gospel. And the cool thing I noticed that a young age, because I grew up on the Bluegrass more so than the Quartet style was that

00:20:38.820 --> 00:20:43.200 Hope Surrett: The gospel audience embraced both or all three kinds really

00:20:43.410 --> 00:20:53.910 Hope Surrett: We would go play I'm ever going to play many gospel concert and they would be the group. I was playing for AND THEY WOULD THERE WOULD BE THE Hanson's a family style country gospel group and then there would be

00:20:54.630 --> 00:20:59.880 Hope Surrett: My friends, the primitive quartet from over here in Canada, North Carolina, which is a Bluegrass gospel group.

00:21:00.270 --> 00:21:00.780 Joseph McElroy: Right and

00:21:01.050 --> 00:21:06.690 Hope Surrett: The audience just, you know, it was the message for them. And if the music was good. They. It was all good, you know,

00:21:07.710 --> 00:21:13.890 Joseph McElroy: Wow, that's, I mean I guess that was exciting time to be involved in something of the sort of different than what everybody's used to. Right. Yeah.

00:21:13.950 --> 00:21:14.820 Hope Surrett: Yeah, absolutely.

00:21:15.060 --> 00:21:16.470 Joseph McElroy: Cool. Um,

00:21:17.520 --> 00:21:24.750 Joseph McElroy: I was reading again and it caught my eye. There was a form of gospel and you were talking about the Cherokee is called share the gospel. What the heck is that

00:21:25.260 --> 00:21:28.920 Hope Surrett: Well, I'm not an expert at it, but I would say that's where you know

00:21:31.770 --> 00:21:45.960 Hope Surrett: I'm certainly no lettered scholar in it, but I know you know some of the first things that the Cherokees translated into their written language wants to call you wrote, you know, came up with that language is 86 character celebrate that he did

00:21:47.040 --> 00:21:48.780 Hope Surrett: Before the removal of the Cherokees

00:21:50.400 --> 00:21:59.700 Hope Surrett: Some of the first things you know they had their own newspaper. They had their own printing press in the Cherokee capitals, they put put out their own newspaper called the Cherokee Phoenix.

00:22:02.130 --> 00:22:03.750 Hope Surrett: And they, they immediately started

00:22:05.100 --> 00:22:18.660 Hope Surrett: translating the hymn books and the Bible into the Cherokee language. And to this day, you can still go here, Cherokee family gospel groups that will sing a song in English like amazing grace and then they'll sing a verse or two in the chair Keeling which

00:22:18.720 --> 00:22:21.930 Joseph McElroy: I don't know. I must be really cool. I never, I never

00:22:23.520 --> 00:22:23.850 Joseph McElroy: Know, but

00:22:24.600 --> 00:22:36.450 Hope Surrett: Yeah, I've played a lot in Turkey, over the years, they love bluegrass and gospel both and and you'll forever if somebody will get up and sing Amazing Grace and then do it in the Cherokee language, which is really, really cool.

00:22:37.320 --> 00:22:38.370 Joseph McElroy: So you spent

00:22:39.420 --> 00:22:51.570 Joseph McElroy: About 15 years total with the kings. When I guess there were two stints right and it's like one of the great gospel quartets out there and you did that really pretty young. I mean at 23 landed on this major back then it

00:22:52.800 --> 00:22:55.410 Joseph McElroy: Was a that was not. Um, so what are some of the members, you have

00:22:55.680 --> 00:22:57.120 Hope Surrett: Gone. Wow, there's too many

00:22:57.210 --> 00:23:01.080 Hope Surrett: Too many to name but I just remember when I joined the king's men they hired me

00:23:02.370 --> 00:23:09.630 Hope Surrett: I've been working in the studio as a studio musician, which is a whole different facet of my musical career and a great big part of it.

00:23:10.740 --> 00:23:25.710 Hope Surrett: And I became kind of a house bass player as a big studio in Nashville. And it was predominantly gospel records. So there's a gentleman named Eldridge fox that owned the Kingsman and he was a very prolific producer in the gospel world. So I played on tons of albums for him.

00:23:26.760 --> 00:23:28.650 Hope Surrett: recording sessions and

00:23:30.090 --> 00:23:42.810 Hope Surrett: I was playing bass, but I still love to travel and all that kind of stuff. So at one point in the late 80s, he had two guys leaving the king's men at once. It's a hard life. We were gone. Average 250 days a year. Easy.

00:23:44.550 --> 00:23:54.270 Hope Surrett: And he had his bass player and his baritone singer were leaving at the same time, and he knew I could do both, or at least hold down both the league could get somebody to fill one or the other.

00:23:54.660 --> 00:23:59.610 Hope Surrett: So they hired me. And you know, I remember the first not out was it a big concert in Atlanta.

00:24:00.690 --> 00:24:06.810 Hope Surrett: And they called me up to seeing and scared me to death because I was a bass player by trade, I could hear the harmony and all that.

00:24:07.320 --> 00:24:15.030 Hope Surrett: But I just remember standing there between three water now Gospel Music Hall of Famers you know there was a Eldridge Fox.

00:24:15.660 --> 00:24:23.220 Hope Surrett: Jim Hamill, who's the lead singer and re release the basing are all Hall of Famers re, re still has the king's men to this day.

00:24:24.090 --> 00:24:33.840 Hope Surrett: He's the only surviving one of that group that I'm talking about. And just, I remember stepping up between those guys and just could just could not believe it.

00:24:34.410 --> 00:24:44.460 Hope Surrett: And, you know, it was carried me all over the United States and Canada, and my, you know, my first time to seeing on the Grand Ole Opry was with the Kingsman

00:24:44.790 --> 00:24:47.730 Hope Surrett: And and and you know just all kinds of stuff all over

00:24:48.360 --> 00:25:00.900 Hope Surrett: Then you found out because every year we would take the month of February and start in Texas or somewhere and play Phoenix and Albuquerque and up Los Angeles and all of the West Coast and

00:25:02.040 --> 00:25:06.210 Hope Surrett: Oregon and Washington. And then up into British Columbia, Alberta.

00:25:07.350 --> 00:25:14.700 Hope Surrett: The people in Canada would drive six or eight hours to come here. You hear you play at one of these big concerts, because that's all I got the whole year.

00:25:15.210 --> 00:25:18.600 Hope Surrett: Wow. Oh, it was, it was amazing to me. It was, I wouldn't call it

00:25:19.770 --> 00:25:25.890 Hope Surrett: A counterculture but it was definitely a whole different world that I didn't know even existed, and it was, you know, just

00:25:26.940 --> 00:25:29.550 Hope Surrett: Doing it at that level for that long was a

00:25:30.630 --> 00:25:31.890 Hope Surrett: Was a great blessing for me.

00:25:32.370 --> 00:25:41.370 Joseph McElroy: Well, I came out of Nashville. And you came at a camp. And there's some good things going on in there is a national always been a great area for gospel music in the center of it.

00:25:42.120 --> 00:25:50.130 Hope Surrett: It's been a big part of it going back even to, you know, prior to my days there was no fail in Asheville named Riley that brought

00:25:50.550 --> 00:26:01.050 Hope Surrett: Those great, you know, the big gospel x to the old Nashville city auditorium, the statesman, the black was the Goodman's all those kinds of people on down through the years, and

00:26:02.520 --> 00:26:07.380 Hope Surrett: I don't know if it's the hotbed is it was in those days when I was first getting into it.

00:26:08.610 --> 00:26:14.940 Hope Surrett: Because honestly bluegrass you can do better with Bluegrass style music here than about anything else. Yeah.

00:26:15.480 --> 00:26:18.390 Joseph McElroy: Became popular with the kids. I think the hipsters

00:26:19.080 --> 00:26:20.130 Hope Surrett: Yeah yeah yeah

00:26:20.940 --> 00:26:23.700 Hope Surrett: What we ran a school called a trust the ferry guns.

00:26:25.440 --> 00:26:32.100 Joseph McElroy: They were we gotta lose broke up here and there and they're cool kids, but they got they got into that roots music, man.

00:26:33.000 --> 00:26:40.890 Hope Surrett: They look, I'll tell you what, man. We love playing bluegrass for those kinds of audiences because they just, I don't think they're prepared for the power of it, you know.

00:26:41.610 --> 00:26:52.410 Hope Surrett: When the drive hits in a good bluegrass band, it's, it's kind of got that rock and roll energy about it. And when that hits them with special with acoustic instruments they lose their minds. It's so much fun.

00:26:52.560 --> 00:26:58.170 Joseph McElroy: And you know, when you put clogging do it, you know, pretty crazy with Bob and I mean you can, you know, you can throw

00:26:58.260 --> 00:26:58.770 Hope Surrett: Oh, yeah.

00:26:59.100 --> 00:26:59.640 Joseph McElroy: Oh, yeah.

00:27:00.870 --> 00:27:04.320 Hope Surrett: There was a big festival in Nashville. For years, called bail share

00:27:04.770 --> 00:27:06.000 Joseph McElroy: Yeah yeah

00:27:06.060 --> 00:27:07.410 Hope Surrett: Oh, it was huge and

00:27:08.850 --> 00:27:17.850 Hope Surrett: It had everything and they always had us close it out and it was so much fun because they close off the streets of downtown Nashville, they'd be, you know, eight or 10,000 people out there.

00:27:18.480 --> 00:27:25.860 Hope Surrett: And we would have farmers from out here. Jonathan very calm Haywood out there in the streets dancing with the with the hippie KIDS DOING THE SPAN, you know,

00:27:26.550 --> 00:27:26.850 Hope Surrett: It was

00:27:27.540 --> 00:27:30.780 Hope Surrett: It was all all for one and one for all. It was just great.

00:27:32.370 --> 00:27:37.950 Joseph McElroy: Yeah, well you know that that sort of hippie thing is always been around, we have a rainbow children come. There we go.

00:27:37.950 --> 00:27:38.610 Joseph McElroy: Oh, sure.

00:27:39.480 --> 00:27:48.540 Joseph McElroy: Yeah, so the mountains, have always had this sort of counterculture yeah yeah yeah that's pretty cool. Well you know I

00:27:50.160 --> 00:27:57.900 Joseph McElroy: I see 1991 you and Mickey gamble on the new record and company called a mountain home music company. Right. Yeah.

00:27:57.960 --> 00:28:05.370 Hope Surrett: Yeah, I'll tell you. I'll tell you what happened with that you know I mentioned a minute ago how I saw a young age, the Bluegrass people

00:28:06.060 --> 00:28:26.490 Hope Surrett: The gospel. People loved the Bluegrass and even with the king's men, they would have me take a guitar in the middle of a quartet style program and sing a couple of three bluegrass style songs and I saw very quickly that the gospel. People loved both styles. So I talked to Mickey who owned

00:28:27.600 --> 00:28:40.560 Hope Surrett: A studio in Nashville about life. I was with the king's men, it's time. But I was looking for an outlet to perform or not perform so much but produce and and and just play some bluegrass because I loved it so much.

00:28:41.640 --> 00:28:43.890 Hope Surrett: And they understood the business idea I had that

00:28:45.540 --> 00:28:51.960 Hope Surrett: You know, at that time, the gospel. People would accept either one. So we have what I consider the double market.

00:28:52.410 --> 00:29:04.380 Hope Surrett: And we started out with. It was all Bluegrass gospel, to start with, and it's just kind of kept growing and growing and growing and morphing over the years and and our band is still on that label all these was it 30 years later. Oh, Lord.

00:29:06.030 --> 00:29:14.190 Joseph McElroy: Well, I'm going to take a break down we'll finish up a little bit more about that story. Alright, sounds pretty good. I love that. I love that. And the actual artists and might be involved.

00:29:14.280 --> 00:29:15.450 Hope Surrett: All right. Okay. Sure.

00:31:36.510 --> 00:31:43.740 Joseph McElroy: Hey it's Joseph Franklin McIlroy back with gateway to the Smokies podcast, then I guess Tim certain balsam range.

00:31:44.970 --> 00:31:56.550 Joseph McElroy: Hey, Tim. We were talking about your about your, your, your records recording company. And I was wondering could you tell me about that Smoky Mountain talents. You're seeing these days.

00:31:57.180 --> 00:32:02.130 Hope Surrett: Man, we started out with, with all local folks, pretty much.

00:32:03.870 --> 00:32:04.620 Hope Surrett: You know, just

00:32:05.730 --> 00:32:14.760 Hope Surrett: There was so much bluegrass around here still is local gospel family bands that kind of stuff. And then we started getting people from out of the area.

00:32:15.540 --> 00:32:32.670 Hope Surrett: But, you know, we've we've had everybody. And you can think of. And over the past 30 years major, major names on our label and a lot of them are still there. So, uh, yeah. I started out with. I'll tell you one of my favorites is a young man from Candler North Carolina.

00:32:34.050 --> 00:32:47.970 Hope Surrett: By the name of Brian Sutton, and Brian is a Grammy Award winner, world class guitar player. I don't know how many times he's one bluegrass guitar player of the year, but he's played with everybody on the planet from Ricky Skaggs to everybody. You can think of and

00:32:49.080 --> 00:32:57.390 Hope Surrett: I met him when I was a senior high school at Inca and got him on his first session and next thing you know he's traveling with Ricky Skaggs but back in those days.

00:32:58.380 --> 00:33:06.030 Hope Surrett: These family groups would come into record from the area and they would have myself and another musician. I'm David Johnson, who plays everything on the planet.

00:33:06.450 --> 00:33:16.020 Hope Surrett: Plays every instrument. I've ever seen at a master level and also a humble sweet guy and I can't tell you how many records we cut for these family bands with just myself and David

00:33:16.470 --> 00:33:17.070 Joseph McElroy: Oh, wow.

00:33:17.280 --> 00:33:29.940 Hope Surrett: Just the two of us would play all the instruments and and and it was so much fun. But over the years it morphed into an actual major bluegrass label and and we've had everybody from Tony rice Larry sparks.

00:33:31.380 --> 00:33:39.600 Hope Surrett: You know bluegrass household names don't last me Quicksilver balsam range Lawrence river by in the grass skulls too many to name and

00:33:39.660 --> 00:33:39.930 Joseph McElroy: I looked

00:33:41.070 --> 00:33:46.080 Joseph McElroy: I looked at it was pretty impressive is like, Oh my gosh, this is, this is the real deal here. Yeah, it's

00:33:46.200 --> 00:33:53.520 Hope Surrett: It's been a wonderful thing for. I can't believe it just hit me talking to you. Yeah, this year. Next 30 years that's man. That's crazy.

00:33:53.730 --> 00:33:55.260 Joseph McElroy: I hate to remind you of your age.

00:33:57.480 --> 00:33:59.790 Hope Surrett: Oh, I can see myself as a reminder already

00:34:02.070 --> 00:34:14.160 Joseph McElroy: So you've experienced SO WE'RE IN THE BLUEGRASS now you've experienced a lot of mountain mountain. MUSIC All right. Yeah. And your marriage music here just comfortable Smoky Mountains, but you've traveled a lot. You've seen bluegrass

00:34:14.700 --> 00:34:22.980 Joseph McElroy: Bluegrass has claimed it a lot of different areas. Is there anything different about the Smoky Mountain bluegrass that the make a distinctive sound.

00:34:23.520 --> 00:34:34.050 Hope Surrett: I think, I think there is usually in bands from this area western North Carolina or some of them in East Tennessee on the smoke that side of the Smokies there's an energy there.

00:34:34.740 --> 00:34:51.990 Hope Surrett: That's, that's kind of unmistakable unmistakable. You can really feel it. And there's also an element I think of the old time music, you know, the fiddle team kind of thing that creeps in. I know it does in our music. It creeps in quite often. And I love that stuff. You know,

00:34:53.010 --> 00:34:54.930 Hope Surrett: So I do think that kind of sets.

00:34:56.040 --> 00:35:03.660 Hope Surrett: People from our region apart just a little bit, it's, it's a difference. And of course, our accents have something to do with it, you know, with

00:35:04.680 --> 00:35:10.680 Hope Surrett: With balsam range. People say, you know, the way you harmonize. Are you guys is that family harmony. And I said, No, that's county harmony.

00:35:12.900 --> 00:35:22.950 Joseph McElroy: Yeah, we did a show, you know, the couple weeks ago about the Scottish influence on mountain culture, you know, and talking about you know how the Scotch Irish came here.

00:35:23.400 --> 00:35:23.760 Hope Surrett: Right.

00:35:24.000 --> 00:35:35.160 Joseph McElroy: And brought a lot of tradition of that kind of music, a balance and things that when you started bringing in the banjo and stuff started morphing into this more beat driven music that's bluegrass right

00:35:35.550 --> 00:35:39.510 Hope Surrett: Right, absolutely. I mean, that Scotch Irish thing is still huge

00:35:40.620 --> 00:35:46.950 Hope Surrett: You know, it's what it's what's bad bill Monroe sold to start this kind of thing off in the first place, but

00:35:47.880 --> 00:35:52.620 Hope Surrett: Yeah, it's especially around here that that like that's what I'm saying that old time droning fiddle

00:35:53.460 --> 00:36:00.300 Hope Surrett: faddle team kind of thing. And every bluegrass band in the world still play some of the songs that very well came over from

00:36:00.810 --> 00:36:16.290 Hope Surrett: Scotland or England or Ireland or whales or somewhere over in there and that's why that music cross pollinate. That's why the Irish music resonates so strongly with people like us, you know, it's, there's something in our blood that that that really identifies with us.

00:36:17.010 --> 00:36:18.000 Joseph McElroy: You mentioned one point.

00:36:19.380 --> 00:36:25.410 Joseph McElroy: You really felt that it's like there's a bluegrass is like it almost seems very authentic because it feels natural to you.

00:36:26.340 --> 00:36:33.930 Hope Surrett: Oh yeah, I'll tell you, for me, and we're, you know, close to the same age. I spoke about wanting to play rock and roll. When I was a kid. And when I was a

00:36:34.440 --> 00:36:47.490 Hope Surrett: high schooler radio was I mean popular radio was so good. I mean, you, you just and you're always sentimental about what you grew up on but on pop radio, you would hear the Eagles or

00:36:47.910 --> 00:37:04.650 Hope Surrett: Kansas or foreigner, or, you know, all these great thing and bands and then when the 80s rolled around, you know, the new wave thing started. And I'm not degrading anybody's opinion that's why there's buttons on the radio. But for me, the, the sense era kind of

00:37:05.790 --> 00:37:19.740 Hope Surrett: Lost me a little bit and I started longing for something more authentic more primitive, I guess you might say, and it drove me to back to blue grass, and in particular bill Monroe.

00:37:20.820 --> 00:37:34.170 Hope Surrett: The father of bluegrass is he's widely known. And there was something there was something they called it the high lonesome sound. There's something, there's something in that music I can hurt. David Letterman talk about it one time he loved bill Monroe and

00:37:36.000 --> 00:37:42.810 Hope Surrett: There was something in that that really, really got to me and people like Bill Monroe and Ralph Stanley Stanley brothers.

00:37:43.290 --> 00:37:45.150 Hope Surrett: The way they saying it was it was a

00:37:46.590 --> 00:37:50.220 Hope Surrett: Had a lonesome quality to it. They had a real mountain thing about it, you know.

00:37:51.780 --> 00:37:53.310 Joseph McElroy: Scotch Irish influence

00:37:54.750 --> 00:37:59.730 Joseph McElroy: And immigrants much that they were always longing for home that they didn't even know existed.

00:38:00.000 --> 00:38:01.410 Hope Surrett: There's a longing for something

00:38:02.460 --> 00:38:03.720 Hope Surrett: I don't know if you ever find it.

00:38:07.230 --> 00:38:19.680 Hope Surrett: Just comes out in that sound and that's the authenticity. And just the fact that the skill level, it takes to play bluegrass well because there's nothing between you and the crowd, but your, your hands on the instrument and your voice. That's all there is, you know,

00:38:20.310 --> 00:38:29.310 Joseph McElroy: So there's a lot of authentic instruments. I'm talking about handcrafted things. I know you did a producer down with Tom Tony rice called crossings that featured handcrafted

00:38:29.880 --> 00:38:32.790 Joseph McElroy: Well, yeah, that building the mountains or some of it.

00:38:33.060 --> 00:38:35.610 Hope Surrett: Yeah, well sure there's there's a

00:38:36.690 --> 00:38:50.640 Hope Surrett: You know there's there's two or three makers of instruments like Martin guitars or gets an instruments, the banjos and Mandel ends, but there's also a huge culture nowadays of custom, custom instruments handmade instruments.

00:38:51.930 --> 00:39:06.180 Hope Surrett: That are based on some of the great instruments of the 20s, 30s, 40s of the last century. Our guitar player Caleb Smith, you should come contact him about an episode because he builds custom guitars guitars that are unbelievable.

00:39:07.650 --> 00:39:18.240 Hope Surrett: And there is a big thing. You know, you got the whole dulcimer culture here. That is a cool sound that's that's all its own has that droning sound that are either Scotch Irish kind of thing.

00:39:19.260 --> 00:39:33.360 Hope Surrett: In yeah there's builders of instruments. I know the guy can't hear that makes fabulous mandolin there Caleb our guitar player makes fabulous guitars 10 minutes from where I'm sitting and we know all kinds of these people around here that make their own instruments.

00:39:34.410 --> 00:39:36.840 Hope Surrett: To a really high master level.

00:39:37.320 --> 00:39:43.740 Joseph McElroy: Wow. So let's talk about balsam range is now how did, how did you guys come together as a legendary band now.

00:39:43.830 --> 00:39:46.800 Hope Surrett: Nah. Well, if you hang around long enough, they call you that, but

00:39:49.350 --> 00:39:52.350 Hope Surrett: They call I call it a very, very happy.

00:39:54.030 --> 00:40:02.520 Hope Surrett: Coincidence, basically, and I don't believe in coincidence, all that much. It's a joke, but all of us had been all over the country and all over the world, playing in different

00:40:03.060 --> 00:40:10.170 Hope Surrett: Bands of some kind, myself in the gospel world Mark Pruitt our banjo player played with Ricky Skaggs for many years.

00:40:10.830 --> 00:40:25.230 Hope Surrett: And on his albums and all the guys has been all over the place and we all ended up back in in Canton around here about the same time and we didn't all even know each other because luckily I've been on the road, since I was 17, you know, and we

00:40:26.670 --> 00:40:30.960 Hope Surrett: Are mandolin player dare Nicholson I RAN INTO HIM AT A physical football game. First one.

00:40:32.070 --> 00:40:44.190 Hope Surrett: First one. I've been off the road to go to about 20 years and he stopped me at the ball game said he was going to do a solo, and he called me, Mr. Sir, he said, I'm going to do a record. I want you to play the bass on it, which I do quite often and

00:40:45.420 --> 00:40:54.360 Hope Surrett: I said, Sure. Well, Mark and I ended up playing on that record great Rick and a month or two later buddy mountain our fiddle player 10 or singer who is spectacular.

00:40:56.490 --> 00:41:10.440 Hope Surrett: He called Mark and wanted to do another solo bluegrass record and Mark and I ended up playing on that record. We had so much fun on those two records we mark. And I said, Let's get these two bunches together and just jam, a little, you know,

00:41:12.450 --> 00:41:24.540 Hope Surrett: So we got together in right before Christmas of oh six at Dan's house here in Canton, and let's just play some standards and pick a little bit, you know, and first notes went off and we were on

00:41:25.950 --> 00:41:27.840 Hope Surrett: This. That sounds pretty good. You know,

00:41:28.170 --> 00:41:34.320 Hope Surrett: Yeah. We jam for a couple, three hours until I tell you what, let's get back together after Christmas, do it again, have some more fun.

00:41:35.340 --> 00:41:38.610 Hope Surrett: When we did. And I was curious to see if it still sounded good, you know,

00:41:40.860 --> 00:41:46.980 Hope Surrett: So we got together and oh seven in January kicked off first song, who, there it is, you know,

00:41:47.970 --> 00:42:04.500 Hope Surrett: And Mark prove it was kind of the local guy for all the gigs, like my dad used to play all the corporate things and stuff. And he said, I've been contacted to play a show in Asheville at the growth parky and huge tourist great old beautiful place. And he said,

00:42:05.640 --> 00:42:14.010 Hope Surrett: He said, You want to do it will just make up a name and go and we made up a name. And I don't remember what it was, it was not balsam range. But we went did the show.

00:42:14.850 --> 00:42:23.370 Hope Surrett: Total non bluegrass crowd of about 2500 people and they lost their minds and we we thought let's just, you know, do this a little more. And it just kind of

00:42:23.910 --> 00:42:32.070 Hope Surrett: More and more, more and more and more started playing around Asheville regularly and then broadened out and then what really hit for us was

00:42:34.770 --> 00:42:42.480 Hope Surrett: We cut our first record, you know, seven and Darren or mandolin player gave a copy to a great friend of ours, but the name of Kyle Cantrell

00:42:43.110 --> 00:42:55.080 Hope Surrett: He was a WB SM and Nashville for years and years. Grand Ole Opry announcer, and he was hired to be the program director for the Bluegrass channel ON SIRIUS XM and he

00:42:56.670 --> 00:43:07.020 Hope Surrett: He took that CD and not knowing what to make of it played it loved it and started playing this one town and it kind of went it blew up as much as bluegrass can blow up.

00:43:10.650 --> 00:43:16.410 Hope Surrett: And people started calling and book and all over the place. And here we are 14 years later, but all over the world.

00:43:16.440 --> 00:43:20.160 Hope Surrett: Very thankful for that happy coincidence, man.

00:43:20.640 --> 00:43:24.690 Joseph McElroy: Well, after we after we come back from this break here. Tell me how you came up with a name balsam range.

00:43:24.990 --> 00:43:25.380 Hope Surrett: All right.

00:45:45.720 --> 00:45:59.340 Joseph McElroy: Hi this is Joseph Franklin macro. He's very eager to get back to you with the gateway to the to the Smokies podcasts and, I guess, Tim, sir, and balsam range. So tell me, Tim, how did you come up with that name balsam range.

00:45:59.640 --> 00:46:03.990 Hope Surrett: Well, as I said, we were playing locally. Then, and that's all we intended to do, truthfully.

00:46:05.280 --> 00:46:16.290 Hope Surrett: Play around Haywood County, maybe Asheville some more and whatnot. But we started trying to find a name for a bluegrass band is tough. I tried to I suggest to DEF heifer but the rest of them wouldn't buy that.

00:46:16.290 --> 00:46:16.500 So,

00:46:19.230 --> 00:46:24.060 Hope Surrett: We started looking at landmarks around the county that would, you know, we had that real Haywood County thing.

00:46:25.140 --> 00:46:35.400 Hope Surrett: And we came across, we know we tried all the names around on the Parkway and whatnot, the Smokies we thought cat Lucci would never work because nobody would spell it or say it and

00:46:37.380 --> 00:46:42.360 Hope Surrett: But here, up on the parkway the highest point around here is the, the great balsam range.

00:46:42.630 --> 00:46:42.930 Joseph McElroy: Yeah.

00:46:42.960 --> 00:46:53.970 Hope Surrett: You know those those mountains that kind of horseshoe Haywood County in Jackson County and we decided to go with that. But we thought great balsam range was a little pretentious, so we

00:46:53.970 --> 00:46:54.270 Dropped

00:46:59.220 --> 00:47:00.930 Joseph McElroy: The great balsam range. Yeah.

00:47:01.320 --> 00:47:04.290 Hope Surrett: So we just decided to go with the pretty good balsam range and

00:47:04.290 --> 00:47:06.660 Joseph McElroy: Oh favorite county boys are humble.

00:47:06.930 --> 00:47:10.560 Hope Surrett: Yeah, because if you're not the rest of the county will humble you.

00:47:12.780 --> 00:47:18.900 Hope Surrett: Don't mind at all. But that's where it came from. We didn't think we would ever played that far away from it that people wouldn't know what it meant.

00:47:19.230 --> 00:47:22.470 Joseph McElroy: Yeah. So you're all accomplished musicians and

00:47:24.240 --> 00:47:26.670 Joseph McElroy: Singers. At some point, how do you manage that.

00:47:27.180 --> 00:47:29.040 Hope Surrett: It's fun. Man, to tell you the truth.

00:47:30.120 --> 00:47:43.740 Hope Surrett: Is so much fun because he would. I think it's fun for the audience because you don't listen to the, you know, one guy saying every song or or the same trio sing in harmony or we can switch around a lot. And we do

00:47:44.370 --> 00:47:46.530 Hope Surrett: And I think it's more interesting to people.

00:47:48.810 --> 00:47:54.630 Hope Surrett: They're trying to figure out, well, who's singing. Now, you know, so it's fun for us when we're arranging music because

00:47:55.320 --> 00:48:07.200 Hope Surrett: You know, we can put different people sitting in different parts. And sometimes, you know, you can have one guessing and lead three guys singing behind him. So it opens up a lot of a lot of variety in your harmony singing it.

00:48:07.770 --> 00:48:15.030 Joseph McElroy: Yeah. Imagine the drama that you guys do have in the band is an arbitrary edge is probably more like go outside for a cigarette or

00:48:16.590 --> 00:48:27.090 Hope Surrett: We talk all the time, myself and Derek Nicholson cost Caleb things lead lot buddy sings Tanner, he's got the high voice and daring enough flip a coin for the baritone part and whoever loses has to take it, you know.

00:48:29.700 --> 00:48:32.340 Joseph McElroy: There you go, coming out with a simple system that's the way to do

00:48:32.370 --> 00:48:33.180 Hope Surrett: There you go. Yeah.

00:48:33.240 --> 00:48:35.790 Joseph McElroy: Yeah. So what is your latest album.

00:48:37.170 --> 00:48:45.870 Hope Surrett: We've got the latest one. We've had out called IANA a CEO and I see it's pretty cool word and it did very well for us. It was number one on billboard.

00:48:46.650 --> 00:48:57.120 Hope Surrett: Was a really great record force we were about two thirds of the way through a new record. And the reason why I'm finished. It's because we can't go play at this particular time, you know,

00:48:58.410 --> 00:49:12.390 Hope Surrett: We have we've had two number one songs. This past year, often unfinished record and the songs, we'd never really played him in public, because you know there's no shows at this point. So we got a new record in the in the works had a new single go out this past Friday.

00:49:12.780 --> 00:49:16.380 Hope Surrett: Window, the new single. Well, I wish you asked me.

00:49:18.360 --> 00:49:20.790 Hope Surrett: It's called rivers and range and runaway trains.

00:49:20.970 --> 00:49:21.600 Joseph McElroy: Oh, wow.

00:49:21.870 --> 00:49:24.360 Hope Surrett: It's the new thing, or maybe the album title, I don't know, but

00:49:24.930 --> 00:49:26.160 Joseph McElroy: Perfect country western song.

00:49:27.810 --> 00:49:29.670 Hope Surrett: It's got that longing in it, doesn't it.

00:49:31.710 --> 00:49:36.540 Hope Surrett: But yeah, we've we've we've been blessed. I don't even know how many albums. We've that we've done now 10 or 11, I guess.

00:49:36.840 --> 00:49:44.610 Hope Surrett: And and they've all done very well for us. But he was a good one, number one on billboard was a really cool thing for us.

00:49:45.270 --> 00:49:48.870 Joseph McElroy: So you haven't been able to play versus your has been treating you guys

00:49:49.080 --> 00:49:55.500 Hope Surrett: Well, it's tough on all musicians and we figured since last March, we've played three live shows

00:49:56.940 --> 00:50:11.940 Hope Surrett: And one in Texas, one in Oklahoma and one in Ohio, and we've got one scheduled for the 30th and Newberry South Carolina at that at the famous Newberry Opera House. This is one of our favorite shows we do every year. So we're just praying, it hangs in there, you know,

00:50:13.080 --> 00:50:26.790 Hope Surrett: But, but, yeah, it's been tough on ton all the musicians from the lowest of the superstars. It's very difficult time. And we've tried to use that time to record more and you know kind of concentrate on that.

00:50:28.050 --> 00:50:32.940 Joseph McElroy: What do you think you, what do you think you might get a tour together would be next year, or would it be

00:50:33.120 --> 00:50:33.360 Well,

00:50:34.440 --> 00:50:42.300 Hope Surrett: A lot of our dates that you know you book a year, two years in advance and for the latter half of the year. A lot of our dates are still there. So,

00:50:42.960 --> 00:50:49.890 Hope Surrett: Just remains to be seen how many I'm staying. A lot of these dates for the early part of the first half of the year have already moved to next year so

00:50:51.690 --> 00:50:54.510 Hope Surrett: I think it's gonna be very similar to this past year, unfortunately.

00:50:54.930 --> 00:50:58.290 Joseph McElroy: Do you have any dates in the Smoky Mountain area and or the New York area.

00:50:59.400 --> 00:51:07.500 Hope Surrett: No, you know, some of the dates January and February and the first week of March was all we had last year and we spent a whole weekend in New York City, which was

00:51:08.070 --> 00:51:18.240 Hope Surrett: One of our favorite things to do we play at the the Hilton there in Manhattan so much. It's so much fun, man. I mean, I don't know what to do with a hillbilly thing, you know.

00:51:18.660 --> 00:51:19.980 Joseph McElroy: When, when you come up

00:51:32.310 --> 00:51:32.610 Hope Surrett: Well,

00:51:35.550 --> 00:51:43.110 Hope Surrett: We'll just it just remains to be seen. We put our own Festival on every December. Yeah, like here like Juneau Alaska in the Smokies here and

00:51:43.860 --> 00:51:53.310 Hope Surrett: And this was first year that we've had to call it off this past December, it's so I'm really hope we can get all that back on for the latter part of the year, Lord willing,

00:51:53.700 --> 00:51:57.960 Joseph McElroy: And I want to call this one is called the Smoky Mountain bluegrass festival right it was

00:51:58.020 --> 00:51:59.850 Hope Surrett: Well, what's called the balsam range art.

00:52:00.480 --> 00:52:02.250 Joseph McElroy: Festival. Yeah, that's right, yeah.

00:52:02.760 --> 00:52:09.090 Hope Surrett: And it's cool, because all the music is in student auditorium, which is a beautiful indoor facility, but you're looking out over the lake and it's

00:52:09.600 --> 00:52:24.270 Hope Surrett: It's got the outdoor vibe to it, but it's all indoors and people, people come from all over the country. And we've had people from overseas come and because you in the Smoky Mountains in December, you can ski and the next day you can play golf. You know, you never know.

00:52:25.530 --> 00:52:26.130 Joseph McElroy: Well, I'll tell you.

00:52:27.210 --> 00:52:34.680 Joseph McElroy: One thing keeps you locked in a little bit. When it gets a little bit warmer. We have a we have an open to the middle of a big old backyard.

00:52:36.210 --> 00:52:39.000 Joseph McElroy: You guys goodbye just thrown out of you want to do.

00:52:40.410 --> 00:52:54.090 Hope Surrett: We've got this show coming up on the 30th in South Carolina, and I was home yesterday and got my instruments out for the first time in a while. Just to see if my fingers bleed. You know, so we're gonna have to get back into shape, that's for sure.

00:52:54.810 --> 00:53:00.180 Joseph McElroy: So, um, tell me you got a radio show now and you're about to go to it after this

00:53:00.270 --> 00:53:00.660 Hope Surrett: I am

00:53:02.340 --> 00:53:14.700 Hope Surrett: Or six minutes. Well, you know, back in August. It was I, I was really missing the fellowship of the road and the band and the people that we play for we've had a strict policy at make friends not fans.

00:53:16.230 --> 00:53:25.230 Hope Surrett: Kind of attitude and I was really missing the interaction with all our friends across the world. And I started thinking of some way we could get together and

00:53:26.640 --> 00:53:38.760 Hope Surrett: That kind of thing. And it just came in my mind. You know what a metal radio show, and I came and I talked to my friend longtime hospital friend. You might remember Terrell Rick from Tesco lets you say my giant

00:53:38.880 --> 00:53:39.330 Joseph McElroy: Yeah.

00:53:39.960 --> 00:53:46.590 Hope Surrett: But he will her dad is on the little local radio station here in Haywood County, since the 70s and I, uh,

00:53:47.850 --> 00:53:59.400 Hope Surrett: I called her up and I said, I'm thinking about. I'm not want to do a radio show. I don't know. I don't have any experience with it. She said, when you won't start. So about 10 days later, we went on the air doing two hours of live

00:54:01.050 --> 00:54:06.660 Hope Surrett: Radio doing bluegrass a classic country music and

00:54:07.380 --> 00:54:11.040 Hope Surrett: Gospel and gospel as well. And it's just kind of took off on us.

00:54:12.240 --> 00:54:14.310 Joseph McElroy: Right on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

00:54:14.310 --> 00:54:17.820 Hope Surrett: Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7pm Eastern to 10

00:54:18.060 --> 00:54:19.170 Joseph McElroy: And what is a radio station.

00:54:19.440 --> 00:54:42.030 Hope Surrett: weta al in Canton, and it's WP to or they have an app as well on iPhones or whatnot, or smartphone app. So we stream and it's gone nuts on us in a good way, we're having, you know, 1314 15,000 people every episode everywhere from Heidelberg Germany to try out Creek Montana, so

00:54:43.740 --> 00:54:46.980 Hope Surrett: 10 or 1211 12,000 people in this region.

00:54:47.400 --> 00:55:00.660 Joseph McElroy: Well, I appreciate you coming on taking the time to be with us. It's been a wonderful show even though it's glitches and I'll let you go to get to your show and finish up here with what we're doing what we're doing. So thank you very much, Tim.

00:55:00.780 --> 00:55:03.660 Hope Surrett: All right. Hey, my pleasure. He's, he's fun to do. Thanks a lot. Good.

00:55:03.960 --> 00:55:14.310 Joseph McElroy: All right, bye bye. Okay, folks. Thank you for listening to gateway to the Smokies podcast I want to mention that you can find more about slash

00:55:14.850 --> 00:55:23.340 Joseph McElroy: Gateway to the Smokies podcast. We're also we're also part of this where traveler magazine network where we were actually building a

00:55:24.480 --> 00:55:27.840 Joseph McElroy: Section, and we're traveling, which is 100 year old magazine or something like that.

00:55:28.380 --> 00:55:37.020 Joseph McElroy: For travel and it's called the Great Smoky Mountains section you go find out a lot of good articles there. I've also got a local a website called the

00:55:37.560 --> 00:55:49.830 Joseph McElroy: smokies adventure calm, where you can get listings about hiking and music and places to go in the Smoky Mountains and also find stories that will help you experience those adventures.

00:55:50.610 --> 00:56:03.990 Joseph McElroy: Deeply and with a lot of people and of course I own a motel and Maggie value, North Carolina. My family 45 years. It's a metal arc and Lark motel calm and you're welcome to come visit us and start your

00:56:04.290 --> 00:56:08.670 Joseph McElroy: Smoky Mountain adventures was where you stay and thank you very much. See you next week.

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