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Green Grass

While every Waskasoo Bluegrass concert is special, making this one more significant is that Nashville-based Chris Jones- purveyor of what has been called the ‘low lonesome sound’- has chosen to spend this winter in Northern Alberta. With in-laws as life-long residents, it is surprising that this concert marks the first Alberta appearance for Chris Jones & The Night Drivers in a decade.

Chris Jones is no newcomer to the musical spotlight. His resume includes appearances and recordings with some of the world’s most respected musicians including The Chieftains, Earl Scruggs, Vassar Clements, Lynn Morris Band, April Verch Band, the McCarters and the award-winning quartet Weary Hearts, among others. He has performed as a sideman at the Grand Ole Opry and has been seen on such television shows as Conan O’Brien, Emeril Live, and The Grand Ole Opry Live. Jones’ collaboration with legendary country singer/songwriter Tom T. Hall led to the release of the duet “Man On The Side Of The Road” from Chris’ “Just a Drifter” album, which became one of the Top 5 airplay bluegrass songs of 2001. Most recently, he appeared in the PBS series “The Appalachians” as a both a performer and commentator.

Chris Jones is one of the most recognized names and voices in bluegrass. Armed with a keen sense of humour, Chris Jones was named Broadcaster Of The Year at the International Bluegrass Music Association’s 2007 awards for his work as a DJ on Sirius Satellite Radio’s bluegrass channel. The same evening, Jones took home a co-writer’s Song of the Year trophy for “Fork In The Road” by the Infamous Stringdusters. The double-barrelled achievement marked the first time in the organization’s history that a single person has won honors for both musical and non-musical accomplishments.

Yet to those who already know him, the dual awards came as no surprise. For though he’s best known as a bluegrass artist, Chris Jones has always had a field of vision too wide to be contained within a single dimension. Perhaps that’s been shaped by his voice — low and mournful rather than sharp and soaring–or perhaps by the way he’s felt compelled to write so many of the songs he sings, filling them with a heartfelt intimacy and contemporary depth that’s still rare in the genre. Even when he’s been most firmly planted within the bluegrass mainstream, these qualities have made him stand out from his peers – and have garnered him critical notices for his personal musical style and sound. And when he’s brought those same qualities into the world of broadcasting, the results have been no less striking.

With six albums to his credit, including his debut with Union Station forming his band, as well as numerous instructional DVDs, Chris Jones has established himself as one of the finest writers and most identifiable voices within bluegrass. The Night Drivers are comprised of banjoist Ned Luberecki (himself a Sirius bluegrass host), bassist Jon Weisberger (one of the most widely-published writers within the bluegrass and Americana fields), and mandolinist Mark Stoffel (who Jones met while touring Germany in the 90s).

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