Chris Jones is one of the busiest people in bluegrass. Lucky for him, he’s pretty laid-back about it. The broadcaster of SiriusXM’s Bluegrass Junction and classic bluegrass show Truegrass doubles as the lead singer, guitarist, and head “Driver” of his band, Chris Jones & the Night Drivers. Perhaps to maintain his sanity, Jones also writes a humor column for Bluegrass Today, where his wry perspective serves as a weekly reminder to readers—and himself—to relax. “We all take different aspects of the business a bit too seriously,” he says. “There is a time for that, sure, but I like to make time for us to laugh at ourselves too.”
Meanwhile, Jones and his band continue to drive home some serious bluegrass success. Their 2013 Rebel Records release, Lonely Comes Easy, achieved three #1 and two #2 bluegrass radio hits. Currently climbing the charts is “Like A Hawk,” the second single from 2014’s self-produced album, Live At The Old Feed Store. Also in 2014, the band signed a two-project release with a new label, North Carolina’s Mountain Home Music Company.
A sought-after songwriter and sideman, Jones has toured or performed with The Chieftains, Earl Scruggs, Vassar Clements, Tom T. Hall, and others. His songs have provided fodder for his own group and have been recorded by the Gibson Brothers, Lou Reid & Carolina, The Chapmans, and others. He has earned numerous industry awards, including, most recently, the 2014 IBMA Print Media Person Of The Year. Also at IBMA last year, Jones received, alongside designer Lou Everhart and Rebel Records, the IBMA award for Best Graphic Design for Lonely Comes Easy.
His writing was first published in 2008 in Flatpicking Guitar Magazine. “It was instructional and came with music and tablature,” recalls Jones. “I decided to lighten it up, so I added some humor into this guitar column—kind of a strange place to do that.”
Jones hails from Brooklyn, N.Y., where his mother was a singer and actress and his uncle was a master at Scruggs-style and clawhammer banjo. His first bluegrass memories date back to the few years he lived in Albuquerque with his father and stepmother. They introduced him to the music of Bill Monroe, Flatt & Scruggs, and the Osborne Brothers. “I was exposed to a range of music—country, bluegrass, even Motown—but it was the bluegrass music that captivated me,” recalls Jones, who went on to discover the Stanley Brothers, the Carter Family, and many other favorites. Read entire article »