Chris Jones

“Country music tells a story…”

Interview with Interview with Chris Jones, bluegrass musician and radio DJ
© Lilly Drumeva-O’Reilly.

On September 24th, during the International Bluegrass Music Association conference in Raleigh, North Carolina, I had a chance to talk to Chris Jones. We have known each other for many years. He is a renowned bluegrass artist (Chris Jones & The Night Drivers), radio DJ (Sirius XM), songwriter and workshop panelist.

What do you like about bluegrass music?

I first heard it when I was a teenager. I was moved by the sound of the banjo and quickly became interested in the singing side, especially the harmonies. I started playing guitar when I was 14 years old. My dad had some bluegrass recordings, my uncle played the banjo.

What is bluegrass?

It’s a form of country music that originated in the United States, but has influences from Europe, a kind of American string band music.

How did you become a radio DJ?

I’ve been doing it now for 12 years. I started in university. I studied animal science. I was interested in farming. Worked on a dairy farm in Vermont to make money. Played music in the same time and presented it on the university radio station.

You have a clear and distinctive voice. Did you have some coaching at the radio?

No, not really. I learned while doing it.

What other genres do you like?

Country music. I heard it in New Mexico. My dad moved there when I was young. I listened to swing, jazz and Irish music as well.

What do you like abut country music?

It has a soul, it tells a story.

What are your songs about?

Feelings and experiences that I had. Stories that are invented, but they are related to something that touched me.

Is it hard to be a band leader?

Yes, it is. I’ve been lucky. I had mostly the same members for 10 years. That makes it easier. It is a challenge to start a new a new band. I worked also as a side man and it is so much easier!

Thanks Chris, nice talking to you!

Lilly Drumeva