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Chris Jones

A Few Words: The Best Of The Originals – 2002 (Rebel)

Reviewed by Kevin Oliver

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CDs by Chris Jones

For a genre steeped in tradition like bluegrass, doing the old songs is not just a rite of passage - it is a sacred duty. In recent years, however, there have been a number of artists creating a new body of music that doesn't forsake the traditional sounds. Singer and guitarist Chris Jones built a career with Chicago's Special Consensus and then struck out on his own starting in 1995 with the first of what is now a catalog of four solo albums.

This collection makes a case for Jones as one of the cream of that new bluegrass songwriting crop, with a dozen tracks culled from his albums and a quartet of new, previously unreleased compositions. Of the new songs, most notable is a co-write with Tom T. Hall, a story song, "Nelson and the Mountains."

Between his strong baritone voice and stellar picking, Jones has the perfect vehicle for a good song, and he has come up with more than a few of those judging from the evidence presented here.