Chris Jones

Just A Drifter – 2000 (Rebel)

Reviewed by Kevin Oliver

Chris Jones is a truly contemporary artist in a genre that prizes traditionalism. Musical apprenticeships with Dave Evans, Special Consensus and Lynn Morris in the '80's and '90's led to a string of four solo albums since 1995, and on each Jones has refined his soulful baritone voice and gentle guitar picking into a style which should please fans of such modern bluegrassers as Blue Highway.

Jones produces himself this time, a spot he has not occupied since his debut. The other major change-up is the preponderance of Jones originals. The best of these are "Uphill Climb," a peppy romp dating back to an early 1989 album with his then-band Weary Hearts, and the quietly powerful gospel number, "Witness," which Jones co-wrote with his wife Sally. Of the traditional and other songs included, special note must be made of "The Man On The Side Of The Road," a new song by Tom T. and Dixie Hall, which features Tom T on vocals alongside Jones.