Posted tagged ‘chris jones & the night drivers’

GINA CLOWES, “True Colors,” Mountain Home. 12 tracks

October 16, 2017

Gina Clowes picked up a banjo for the first time when she was 11.

A year later, she was taking lessons from acclaimed bluegrass banjo player Murphy Henry.

By her late teens, Clowes was playing professionally with such bands as Blue Light Special, New Girls Night Out, Nash Street and On The Run.

After time out to start a family, she’s been playing banjo with Chris Jones and the Night Drivers for almost two years.

“True Colors” is a collection of 11 songs she wrote plus Nina Simone‘s “Beautiful Land.”

The title track is a bouncy love song, a tribute to her husband.

“Puppet Show” is about a woman in a controlling relationship who cuts her strings and leaves.

“Saylor’s Creek” is an instrumental that was inspired by a Civil War battle.

“Looking For Sunshine,” with vocals by her sister, Malia Furtado, finds a woman looking for a friend to help her heart mend.

“For Better or Worse,” with vocals by Heather Berry Mabe, is about a woman who sticks by her abusive husband because she promised to stay with him for better or worse. Then, he dies and she finds happiness.

Scott Bannon sings lead on “Good Old Fashioned Heartbreak,” a song about, well, heartbreak.

“I’ll Stay Home” finds a woman telling her musician lover to go back on the road and she’ll wait for him at home.

“Goodbye, Lianne” is a fiddle tune; “Wayward Kite” is classical; and “La Puerta del Diablo” — “The Devil’s Door” — is a gypsy jazz style.

Good album.

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CHRIS JONES & THE NIGHT DRIVERS, “Made To Move,” Mountain Home. 12 tracks

January 23, 2017

Chris Jones worked as a sideman with Dave Evans and then Special Consensus before moving to Nashville in 1989 as a member of Weary Hearts.

In 1995, he created his own band — Chris Jones & The Night Drivers.

And 22 years later, the music just keeps getting better.

“Made To Move,” which hits record bins on Feb. 10, is a blend of traditional and contemporary bluegrass.

Jones wrote six songs — four with bassist Jon Weisberger.

Weisberger co-wrote two others with other writers.

And banjo player Gina Clowes and mandolinist Mark Stoffel each wrote an instrumental — “Last Frost” by her and “What The Heck?!” by him.

The other two songs are covers of the Grateful Dead‘s “Dark Hollow” from 1973 and Johnny Rodriguez‘s “You Always Come Back (To Hurting Me)” from the same year.

“The Old Bell” is a Civil War song about a church bell that’s melted for bullets.

“Sleeping Through The Storm” is an uptempo gospel number.

“Range Road 53” is a hard-charging song about a man who’s been gone from home for too long and is on his way back.

“Silent Goodbye” is about a woman who never talks about her feelings. But her actions say she’s leaving.

Guests include Brooke Aldridge, Shawn Lane, Tim Surrett and Darrin Vincent.

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CHRIS JONES & THE NIGHT DRIVERS, “Lonely Comes Easy,” Rebel. 13 tracks.

August 6, 2013

Chris Jones got his musical start as an 18-year-old with the New York band, Horse Country.

He went on to hone his bluegrass skills with Dave Evans and Special Consensus before moving to Nashville 25 years ago as a member of Weary Hearts, a band that included Ron Block, Mike Bub and the late Butch Baldassari.

In the mid-1990s, Jones formed the Night Drivers, a band that has been on the verge of moving to bluegrass’ top ranks for years.

He’s a singer, songwriter, guitarist and a host on SiriusXM’s “Bluegrass Junction.”

And “Lonely Comes Easy,” the band’s first album of new material since 2009, showcases the first three skills.

Jones wrote or co-wrote six of the 13 songs on the album.

Night Drivers banjo man Ned Luberecki and mando man Mark Stoffel each contributed an instrumental — “Don’t Blink” and “Swine Flu in Union County” respectively.

There’s an amazing version of “Wake Up, Little Maggie,” a tribute to the late Doc Watson, that’s mostly a capella with Buddy Greene’s harmonica interspersed and the other instruments joining in near the end.

And the band does an outstanding version of C.W. McCall’s 1975 spoken word classic, “Wolf Creek Pass,” about a runaway chicken truck in Colorado’s San Juan Mountains.

Claire Lynch and Sierra Hull perform as the “Wolf Creekettes,” the backing chorus on the song, which features an extended bluegrass jam.

There’s also a great version of Ralph Stanley’s “A Few More Years,” a song about the shortness of life.

A good album packed with a lot of good songs.

Look for it stores on Aug. 27 or online at places like