CHRIS JONES & THE NIGHT DRIVERS, “Lost Souls & Free Spirits: The Rebel Collection Old & New,” Rebel Records. 14 tracks

Chris Jones is one of those bluegrass musicians who never quite seems to get the respect he’s due.

He’s worked with The Chieftains (on their 2003 U.S. tour), Earl Scruggs, Vassar Clements, Lynn Morris Band, April Verch Band, the McCarters and the Weary Hearts, among other bands. And he’s worked as a sideman at the Grand Ole Opry.

Sure, in 2007, Jones was named broadcaster of the year by the International Bluegrass Music Association and  “Fork In The Road”, a song he wrote with John Pennell for The Infamous Stringdusters, was named song of the year.

But he’s never really had the recognition he deserves as a singer.

Maybe the industry is finally starting to pay more attention to Jones these days.

His song, “Final Farewell,” recently hit No. 1 on the “Bluegrass Today” singles chart and Rebel Records has released “Lost Souls & Free Spirits,” a 14-song “best of” collection of Jones’ songs for the label between 1997 and 2000, plus a self-released album from 2009 and three new(er) songs, including “Final Farewell.”

The song reminds us that we never know when we’re saying good-bye to someone for the last time.

The other new(er) songs are Tom T. & Dixie Hall’s “A Hero in Harlan,” a sobering song about a soldier’s body coming home for burial like so many others before him, and Jones’ “Waltz of Regret,” both from his 2006 “Too Far Down The Road” album on the Little Dog label.

Songs on “Lost Souls & Free Spirits” include six Jones originals — “Uphill Climb,” “What You Do,” “Final Farewell,” “Waltz of Regret,” “Bridge to Portsmouth” and “Cloud of Dust.”

Covers include The Delmore Brothers’ “Nashville  Blues,” Johnny Horton’s “I’m Ready If You’re Willing,” Gordon Lightfoot’s “Ribbon of Darkness,” Charlie Pride’s “I’d Rather Love You” and The Louvin Brothers’ “Whispering Now.”

Dixie & Tom T. Hall’s “The Man On The Side Of The Road,” a 2001 Top 5 hit for Jones, is also included.

Musicians on the album include the current Night DriversNed Luberecki, Jon Weisberger and Mark Stoffel — along with former band members Ron Block, Dan Tyminski, Darrin Vincent, Mike Compton, Ron Stewart, Rob Ickes and Aubrey Haynie.

Can’t find it in stores? Try ChrisJonesMusic.com.

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