Chris Jones and The Night Drivers
March 16, 2019 8:00 pm
9 Time IBMA Award winners!
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 (he was featured on their 2003 U.S. tour), 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 has been named Broadcaster Of The Year at the International Bluegrass Music Association’s annual awards for his work as a DJ on Sirius Satellite Radio’s bluegrass channel, Jones also took home a co-writer’s Song Of The Year trophy for “Fork In The Road,” the title track of an Album Of The Year winner 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.
Ned Luberecki’s banjo playing combines crisp, hard-driving timing with a fluid melodic sense to stand out in a crowded field. Born in Baltimore, Maryland, he joined Paul Adkins’ Borderline Band in 1987, recording more than a half-dozen albums with the group, including three for Rebel Records After a brief stint with Missouri’s Radio Flyer, Ned rejoined several Borderline Band colleagues in the Gary Ferguson Band. In 1998, Ned became part of the Rarely Herd, frequent winners of SPBGMA’s Entertaining Band of the Year award, and appeared on the group’s “A Part Of Growing Up” (Pinecastle, 2000). In addition, he has appeared on recent recordings like The Stelling Banjo Anthology, and numerous editions of the Pickin On… series, as well as CDs by Jim Hurst, Bull Harman and others. Ned moved to Nashville in 2003, where he is now a sought after studio musician and banjo instructor. When not working with the Night Drivers, Ned can often be heard playing with Jerry Salley, Jim Hurst, The Lonesome Heirs and others. Like Chris, Ned hosts a daily show on Sirius Satellite Radio’s Bluegrass channel.
A member of the Night Drivers since the beginning of 2003, Jon Weisberger is a quadruple bluegrass threat as bass player, songwriter, radio producer and journalist. He first drew attention as a member of Cincinnati-based Union Springs, which released three well-received CDs in the 1990s, following that with a stint in the Wildwood Valley Boys before moving to Nashville at the end of 2002. In addition to his regular gig as a Nightdriver, he has also appeared with artists ranging from Hazel Dickens, Jimmy Martin and Roland White to Tony Trischka, Harley Allen, Melonie Cannon, 3 Fox Drive and Canadian fiddler April Verch. As a bluegrass journalist, he has written features and reviews for multiple publications and liner notes for more than 80 albums, earning him the IBMA’s Print Media Person of the Year award in 2000 and Best Liner Notes in 2001. His “Losing Again,” recorded by the Chapmans, was among the most popular songs of 2001, and his songs have subsequently been recorded by Del McCoury, Blue Highway, Jim Van Cleve, Dwight McCall and others. Since 2006, Jon has produced Into The Blue, the most widely syndicated bluegrass radio show in North America, and Sirius satellite radio’s Hand-Picked with Del McCoury.