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Celebrate New Year's at Balsam Mountain Inn party, Songwriters in the Round


On New Year’s Eve, Balsam Mountain Inn will hold a traditional party and Songwriters in the Round featuring Marshall Chapman, Thom Bresh, Casey Kelly and Leslie Ellis.

The Balsam Mountain Inn’s Songwriters-in-the-Round series began in 1996 and brings some of the nation’s best lyricists and musicians to the inn for monthly performances in the Grand Dining Room.

Songwriters are usually fine performers in their own rights, but in many cases their calling cards are their specific songwriting talents; these are the people who write the lyrics that many well-known country and Americana musicians make famous. And, in exchange for a weekend at Balsam and considerations, some of Nashville’s best began making the trip east.

On Saturday they’d sit in a small circle in the dining room with the audience all around, and they’d swap tales and sing songs. Grammy winners are numerous at Balsam, and Songwriters-in-the-Round performances are authentic and extraordinary.

Now, 16 years later, the series is as popular as ever.

New Year’s Eve is a great time at the inn, as it celebrates in a very special way! As always, things kick off with a Songwriters in the Round performance and usher in 2015 with all the bells and whistles, an annual Hat Contest, wonderful Hoppin’ John and more!

Following are this year’s featured performers:

Marshall Chapman

Marshall Chapman has recorded 13 critically acclaimed albums, highlighted by last year’s Blaze of Glory, which was hailed a masterpiece, and her songs have been recorded by everyone from Emmylou Harris and Jimmy Buffett to Irma Thomas and Joe Cocker.

Ms. Chapman is also a celebrated author. Her first book, “Goodbye, Little Rock and Roller” (St. Martin’s Press) was a SIBA bestseller, 2004 SIBA Book Award finalist, and one of three finalists for the Southern Book Critics Circle Award. The book is now in its third printing. Her most recent, They Came to Nashville, was a 2011 SIBA Book Award nominee.

She is a contributing editor to Garden & Gun and Nashville Arts Magazines, and has also written for The Oxford American, Southern Living, W, Performing Songwriter, and The Bob Edwards Show (Sirius/XM).

Thom Bresh

Finger-picking in the style made famous by his father, Merle Travis, Bresh brings the Travis legacy to new audiences, and has performed alongside performers ranging from Bob Hope to Chet Atkins to Gordon Lightfoot.

Bresh hosted a weekly television variety show of his own creation, Nashville Swing, was a regular on the Merv Griffin Show and Dinah, and has made a guest appearance on the TNN special “A Salute to the Country Greats”.

As a producer, he has worked for Jerry Reed, classical guitarist Valerie DuChateau, and Travis. As a videographer Bresh has shot, produced, and edited projects for Hank Thompson, Lyle Lovett, Brooks & Dunn, George Jones, Tanya Tucker and Jerry Reed.

Casey Kelly

Casey Kelly’s performing and songwriting career spans three decades, from sideman for Tom Rush on tour to headliner upon the release of his two solo albums (“Casey Kelly” and “For Sale”) on Elektra Records. Kelly’s years of sharing the stage with artists such as The Neville Brothers, America, the Beach Boys, BB King, Boz Scaggs, and Loggins & Messina gave him the forum to hone his skills as a singer and guitarist and songwriter.

He’s a two-time Grammy-nominated songwriter for “Soon” (recorded by Tanya Tucker), “Cowboy Rides Away” recorded by George Strait (who still closes all his live concert shows with it), “Anyone Who Isn’t Me Tonight” (recorded by Kenny Rogers/Dottie West) and “That Road Not Taken” (Joe Diffie). Other hits include: “Only Game In Town” (America) and “Somewhere Down the Line” (T.G. Sheppard).

Kelly is also a successful session player and singer. He has performed concerts and club gigs throughout the U.S. and Europe with prominent artists like Arlo Guthrie, The Beach Boys, The Carpenters, Fleetwood Mac, Gordon Lightfoot, The Grateful Dead, Hall And Oats, Jackson Browne, Jimi Hendrix, Randy Travis, and many more. Casey recently completed his first book – he was recruited by the Complete Idiot’s Guide’s Publishing Company to write “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Art of Songwriting.”

Leslie Ellis

Leslie Ellis teamed up with Kelly seven years ago when she moved to Nashville. Together they have taken their show around the US and to Norway. Leslie has sung with many artists including Celine Dion (“My Heart will Go On”, a Grammy winner from the Titanic soundtrack) and Thomas Dolby. Her self-penned “The Flyer Song” was adopted by the US Navy and made into a video as a tribute to the troops and their families.

As an actress, Leslie has appeared on television and the Broadway stage and in 2007 starred in an independent film called, “My Name Is Wallace” which was invited to the Cannes Film Festival.

Since then she’s appeared in featured roles in “The New True Charlie Wu” in a feature film called “Firebird.”

Call The Balsam Mountain Inn for more information and tickets at 800-224-9498.


Harrah's Cherokee holding Casino Royale New Year's Eve party


Harrah’s Cherokee will hold a Casino Royale New Year’s Eve party on Wednesday, December 31 called “Shaken Not Stirred.”


The Cherokee Event Center transforms into the hottest club around this New Year’s Eve. Dance, drink and revel into 2015 with DJ Josh Carl  and a breathtaking countdown to the New Year.


The party starts at 10:30pm. There is a general admission cover charge of $25. Admission and VIP package reservations are available at Ticketmaster.com or by calling 1-800-745-3000.


Visit HarrahsCherokee.com for more information.


Also don’t miss your chance to win $1,000,000 in cash this New Year’s Eve with drawings at noon, 1, 2, 3 and 4 p.m.

Located in the North Carolina Mountains and right in the midst of the Great Smoky Mountains, Jackson County is the ideal location for your next mountain getaway. Whatever it is you are looking for in your trip, we have it, from great accommodations, including cabin rentals, to wonderful activities, including rafting, hiking, fishing, golf, skiing, and camping. Jackson county creek

Once you’ve found the right place to stay, whether it is a quaint Great Smoky Mountain cabin, or a friendly bed & breakfast, you will be ready to start you adventure in the North Carolina Mountains. If you enjoy fishing, the Tuckasegee River and many lakes and streams offer superb options, or you can take in the mountain scenery and wildlife on one of the area’s many hiking trails. Maybe you want to test your golf game and you can do just that on one of Jackson County’s many classic mountain golf courses. 

Dillsboro LuminariesJourney back to the days of yesteryear as Dillsboro presents its annual Festival of Lights and Luminaries. Experience the magic as the entire town is transformed into a winter wonderland of lights, candles, laughter and song! 2500 luminaries light your way to shops and studios. Horse and buggy rides available each night from 5-8 pm (cost + tips). Shopkeepers provide live music and serve holiday treats with hot cider and cocoa. Carolers sing and children visit with Santa at Town Hall.

When you plan your next mountain vacation to Jackson County and the Great Smoky Mountains, you will want to be sure that you select just the right accommodations for your visit. The options here in the North Carolina Mountains are certainly diverse and offer something for everyone and every budget. There’s so much just waiting for you to enjoy in North Carolina’s Great Smoky Mountains.


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