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Chris Jones

Lonely Come Easy – 2013 (Rebel)

Reviewed by Kevin Oliver

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CDs by Chris Jones

One has only to look at the personnel listing on his latest album to realize that Chris Jones is a well-regarded figure in bluegrass circles, both as a songwriter and a singer. In addition to the core group of Jones, Ned Luberecki on banjo, Mark Stoffel on mandolin, and Jon Weisberger, bass, there is a 'Who's Who' of supporting players including Emily Bankester, Jeremy Garrett, Ron Block, Dan Tyminski, Claire Lynch and Sierra Hull.

The big guns don't matter if one is firing blanks, however; in Jones' case that's not a worry as his song choices from both his own pen and those of others are on target and fit his easygoing melodic style well. Highlights include the title track, a rerecorded take of a song Jones and Dwight Yoakam producer and guitarist Pete Anderson released originally as a more country tune, and One Who's Coming After Me, a new gospel song from Jones and Weisberger that focuses on John instead of Jesus. Of particular note for their uniqueness are the final two cuts; the Ralph Stanley classic A Few More Years actually comes from a previous Rebel release for Jones that's currently only available in digital form, while Wolf Creek Pass is a CB radio era song from Convoy hitmaker C.W. McCall, complete with talking verses.

Though Jones is known for his singing and his songwriting mostly, there are a couple of excellent instrumental tracks included here as well. Don't Blink is a fast-paced banjo tune, while Swine Flu In Union County is an appropriately infectious mandolin workout.

Lonely comes easy, as the title of this album says. In the case of great bluegrass music, that seems to come just as easy from Chris Jones no matter what company he's keeping.