Whether it’s in the studio or on stage, Chris Jones & The Night Drivers are making some of the most distinctively elegant yet driving music to be heard anywhere today, and they’re delivering it with a unique blend of dry wit, emotional authenticity and broad humor that’s won the loyalty of a growing number of fans across the country and around the world.
2015 promises to be even bigger for Chris Jones & The Night Drivers.
The group celebrates its 20th anniversary with a mid-August debut release for bluegrass’s top shelf Mountain Home Music label. Filled with more original material, including three Jones-Weisberger co-writes, the new project keeps the spotlight squarely on the Night Drivers themselves, with just a few guests—including labelmates Darin & Brooke Aldridge, former Night Driver fiddler Casey Driessen (Tim O’Brien, Steve Earle) and legends Del McCoury and Bobby Hicks—joining in.
- Between them, Chris and the Night Drivers are winners of eight IBMA awards, including Song of the Year and Broadcaster of the Year
- They had the #1 song in airplay for the year 2012 in Bluegrass Today’s annual survey
- Featured Artists on the cover of the May 2015 issue of Bluegrass Unlimited
- Their last studio album, “Lonely Comes Easy” yielded nine top 20 songs, including three #1’s
- Recent performance credits include Merlefest, DelFest, and the 2015 season of the PBS television series “Song of the Mountains”
- Chris’ performance credits include Conan O’Brien with Earl Scruggs and the Chieftains, New York’s Avery Fisher Hall with the Chieftains, The Grand Ole Opry with Laurie Lewis and Lynn Morris, the Telluride Bluegrass Festival
Founded by guitarist Jones in 1995, the Night Drivers feature four distinct personalities who bring a multitude of talents to each performance. Indeed, the group boasts three broadcasters who appear regularly on SiriusXM’s Bluegrass Junction—Jones, banjo man Ned Luberecki and bassist Jon Weisberger—and Jones and Weisberger have won acclaim for both musical and industry achievements, with the former earning an IBMA Song of the Year trophy (“Fork In The Road”) and IBMA Broadcaster and Print Media Person of the Year awards. Weisberger collected the latter honor over a decade ago (along with a trophy for Best Liner Notes), and was the first recipient of the organization’s Songwriter of the Year award in 2012. Luberecki has also been nominated for the Broadcaster honor several times, and has earned additional recognition as a premiere educator, teaching at banjo camps around the world and recently releasing a popular beginning banjo instructional DVD, while mandolinist Mark Stoffel has built a strong reputation as a producer and recording engineer.
The strength and durability of this lineup—Weisberger and Luberecki have both been Night Drivers for 13 years, with “newcomer” Stoffel on board for the last 8 of those—has made them slow but steady contenders in the bluegrass marketplace. Their most recent studio album, Lonely Comes Easy (Rebel Records, 2013), has generated three #1 and two #2 bluegrass airplay hits, while 2014 saw the quartet break new ground for itself with appearances at festivals ranging from trad-leaning Bean Blossom to Merlefest, Delfest, Grand Targhee and Big Sky Big Grass. The Night Drivers capped the year with the September, 2014 release of Live At The Old Feed Store on their own GSM label; recorded in an intimate Illinois venue, the album shows the band enjoying a comfortable but energetic evening with fans and friends, and has already generated more chart action with the bluesy “Like A Hawk,” firmly lodged in the top 5 in the early months of 2015.