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darren nicholson

Darren Nicholson

Bluegrass musician Jackson County

Jackson County native Darren Nicholson first appeared on stage when he was eighteen months old, an appearance with his parents that foreshadowed a precocious and successful career that would soon be underway. With a singing mother, fiddling father, guitar-playing uncle, and an army of musical cousins and other relatives, Nicholson had plenty of musical mentors. He played professionally as a child with his father, Hayes Nicholson, and uncle Bud Cunningham, and then at the age of twelve became a member of the band that grew into Buncombe Turnpike.

Nicholson later joined Hazel Creek, a Haywood County-based traditional bluegrass group that he cites as “one of the biggest influences in [my] life and career.” Working with Hazel Creek led to the first of what would be many appearances at the Grand Ole Opry. He says, “I am as comfortable there as anywhere I have ever played.” In 2004, he was recruited to play with Alecia Nugent, and what was to be a two-week stint with her at the Opry grew into a three-year adventure, touring the world with her band.

Darren Nicholson has recorded or performed on stage with Bobby Osborne, Buck White, Tony Rice, Alison Krauss, Dan Tyminski, Claire Lynch, Vince Gill, and BĢ©la Fleck. Currently he plays with Balsam Range, a band of fellow Western Carolina bluegrass greats. He has a 2006 solo recording, a 2007 album with Balsam Range, and recordings with Alecia Nugent and Hazel Creek.


Darren Nicholson plays for festivals, concerts, and other events with Balsam Range, and solo. He will consider requests for demonstrations, lessons, and school programs.