New Music Friday — September 4, 2020

September 4, 2020

BALSAM RANGE | “Grit and Grace”

Bluegrass; Crossroads Label Group – STREAM / BUY single

If ever there were a time when we all could use a little “Grit and Grace,” it’s now—and that’s both the title and the message of the latest Mountain Home Music Company single from award-winning quintet Balsam Range. Written in a surprising collaboration between singer Buddy Melton’s mother, Ann, and the powerhouse team of Milan Miller and Beth Husband, it’s an emotional meditation on meeting hard times with perseverance and spiritual courage—“one part moxie [and] another part mettle,” as it’s put in the song’s soaring chorus.

The new release powerfully reaffirms the group’s fundamental roots in lifelong community and deeply held values. Over the course of its nearly fourteen years, Balsam Range has been given the highest honors in bluegrass, with two IBMA Entertainer of the Year trophies (and a multiplicity of others); earned formal recognition by the North Carolina legislature; and had an official day to celebrate their music proclaimed in their western North Carolina home town. Through all the honors they have remained genuine and down to earth, dedicated to authentic, compelling stories about people both real and imagined, drawn from real experiences.



“Grit and Grace” is a continuation of that tradition, reflecting genuine trials and the qualities it takes to overcome them—a heartfelt response to life’s struggles that gains its strength from the sense of community and values shared by both the band and their fans.

“‘Grit and Grace’ is the kind of song that every single person who walks this earth can or will likely relate to at some point during their journey,” says Buddy Melton. “But with determination, courage, faith, and finding the inner grit to overcome struggles, we live to tell another story. One that has a happy ending for us. My desire is that this song provides encouragement and strength to anyone who may be suffering. That they may find peace in knowing they are not alone.”

Starting with hushed guitar from Caleb Smith and Melton’s delicate fiddle tones, the song offers a contemplative account of a man with “holes in my heart” who has nevertheless found redemption “through all the tears and fears I had to face, [when] I supplied the grit [and] God supplied the grace.” Underpinned by Tim Surrett’s somber bass and colored by touches of banjo from Marc Pruett and mandolin by Darren Nicholson, Balsam Range’s performance rises gently yet insistently to a final chorus made all the more powerful by the band’s restraint, as glistening harmonies and the song’s simple, yet poetic lyric convey the song’s message more effectively than any dramatic crescendo could hope to achieve. The deepest fulfillment in life is found when fortitude meets faith—when we supply the grit, and God supplies the grace.



Hip hop, rap; Illect Recordings — STREAM / BUY single

Illect Recordings artist James Gardin has used his multifaceted skill set of empowering rhymes, fun melodies, energetic stage presence, and deft fashion sense to become the most successful emcee in his hometown of Lansing, Michigan. He has performed hundreds of shows around the world, amassed thousands of plays and downloads with coverage on top web sites and publications (HipHopDX, Earmilk, 2DopeBoyz, DJBooth, Paste, The Word Is Bond, Rapzilla, Lansing State Journal, Grungecake, Respect Mag, Sphere of Hip-Hop, and many more). He has also had songs featured on ESPN, GaryVee TV, and Black&SexyTV. He has also shared the booth and the stage with artists such as Grieves, Macklemore, Dessa, Murs, Talib Kweli, Astronautalis, KING, and many more. James aims to use his art and message to inspire all those around him to live their life fully, and encounter their purpose daily.



For the foreseeable future, it’s grit over glamour as the shiny trinkets & human-made accolades don’t bang like they used to. “Soul Rich” finds The World’s Most Encouraging Rapper forging a new partnership with Japan’s Toshiki Hayashi(%C). There’s nothing like that intangible peace from knowing your value doesn’t come from material wealth. Stack paper if you must, but when your soul rich, it’s all good even when it ain’t.


Christian, Children’s/Kids; Yancy Ministries — STREAM / BUY single

With boundless energy, a myriad of creative channels, and an unflinching heart for people at every turn, Yancy is rapidly becoming a premiere destination for uplifting entertainment and church resources used all across the globe. With the addition of her Little Praise Party series—now with an app that offers resources in English and Spanish—Yancy Ministries has the church at-large covered and fit for any age to be involved creatively.



Truth alert: Happiness has nothing to do with your circumstances. The mindset of this message is that we can choose joy and happiness no matter what we face. This song is rooted in the Bible promise “The joy of the Lord is our strength.” As you sing along you’ll notice a shift in your atmosphere as you choose happiness.

J. LEWIS | “My Time”

Hip hop/rap; CLG Distribution — STREAM / BUY single



SYMPHONY OF HEAVEN | The Ascension of Extinction

Rock; CLG Distribution — STREAM / BUY EP





Hip hop/rap, Christian; CLG Distribution — STREAM / BUY album




Hip hop/rap, Christian; CLG Distribution — STREAM / BUY album




LINDA LAY | “The Happiness of Having You”

Bluegrass; Mountain Fever Records — STREAM / BUY single

Mountain Fever Records is honored to share the worldwide release of the brand new single by Linda Lay, “The Happiness of Having You!” Listeners may remember her clear vocals from her time in Appalachian Trail and Springfield Exit, or from her recordings with husband, David Lay. Linda tells us about her experience with the song, “From the first time I heard this song it spoke to me and I could not get it out of my head. The song is about a relationship with your loved one and I am fortunate to have this kind of love with my husband. I hope it touches you as much as it has me. We all deserve happiness in our lives.” “The Happiness of Having You” was first made famous by Charlie Pride. This fresh version features the talents of Linda Lay (lead vocal and bass), David Lay (low tenor vocal and guitar), Sammy Shelor (banjo), Darren Beachley (baritone vocal and dobro), Aaron Ramsey (mandolin), and Bryan McDowell (fiddle).



VP of Communications and Marketing at Syntax Creative.