JONESBORO — Chris Jones and the Night Drivers will perform a concert of bluegrass music Monday, March 27, at 7 p.m. at the Collins Theatre, 120 West Emerson Street, in downtown Paragould. The concert is part of the Bluegrass Monday concert series presented by KASU 91.9 FM.
KASU will literally “pass the hat” to collect money to pay the musicians. The suggested donation is $5 per person. Seating at the concert is first-come, first-served. Doors to the theatre will open at 6 p.m.
Chris Jones has spent over 30 years as a professional bluegrass musician. Early in his career, he was a sideman for bluegrass legends Dave Evans and Vassar Clements. He was also member of the bands Special Consensus, Weary Hearts, the Lynn Morris Band and Whetstone Run. In 1995, Jones formed his own group, the Night Drivers.
Jones has recorded 12 CDs as a leader, and has appeared as a guest on dozens of projects by other artists. For his work on the CD “40” by Larry Sparks, Jones received an International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) award in the recorded event of the year category.
Throughout his career, Jones has had great success on bluegrass radio stations. Last year, he released his first project for the Mountain Home Music Company. That CD produced two number one hits, “One Night In Paducah” and “Laurie,” which spent six weeks at the top of the chart. His follow-up project, “Made To Move,” was released in February 2017 and that CD has already produced another number one hit, “I’m A Wanderer.”
A prolific songwriter, Jones’ compositions have been recorded by bluegrass artists including the Gibson Brothers, the Infamous Stringdusters, the Chapmans and Lou Reid. In 2007, Jones won the IBMA Song of the Year award.
Jones is also well known as a host on Sirius XM’s Bluegrass Junction satellite radio channel. For that work, he is a two-time winner of the IBMA’s Broadcaster of the Year trophy.
In addition to his work as a musician, Jones has also found success as a columnist. He is a former writer for Flatpicking Guitar magazine, and currently writes a weekly humorous column for the Bluegrass Today website. In 2014, he won the IBMA’s Print/Media Person of the Year award.
The Night Drivers include bassist Jon Weisberger, a three-time IBMA award winner, including being named Bluegrass Songwriter of the Year in 2012. When not touring and recording with the Night Drivers, Weisberger is in-demand as a fill-in bassist for bluegrass greats including Del McCoury, Larry Cordle and Roland White. He is also a past member of the bands Union Springs and the Wildwood Valley Boys. Like Jones, Weisberger also hosts programs on Sirius XM’s Bluegrass Junction satellite radio channel. He has been a member of the Night Drivers for over a decade.
Mark Stoffel plays mandolin for the Night Drivers. He is a native of Germany who became a United States citizen last year. Stoffel has made his home in Southern Illinois for over a decade, and he is a former member of the band Shady Mix that performed in the Bluegrass Monday concert series on two occasions in 2004. Stoffel has been a member of the Night Drivers for 10 years.
The newest member of the Night Drivers is banjo player Gina Clowes. She began playing bluegrass at a young age as part of the Furtado family band. She was a frequent finalist in the prestigious bluegrass banjo competition at the Galax Old Fiddler’s Convention. For four years, she was a member of the band Bud’s Collective, recording three CDs with that group. Clowes joined the Night Drivers a year ago.
Additional information about Jones and the Night Drivers, including videos of the band in concert, is available at http://www.<www.chrisjonesgrass.com><www.chrisjonesgrass.com>chrisjonesgrass.com<www.chrisjonesgrass.com>.
In addition to the concert, Terry’s Café, 201 South Pruett Street in Paragould, opens on Bluegrass Monday nights to welcome bluegrass music fans. The café serves a buffet meal beginning at 4:30 p.m. on the evenings of Bluegrass Monday concerts. Concessions will also be available at the Collins Theatre.
Bluegrass Monday concerts are held on the fourth Monday night of each month. These concerts are presented with support from the Northeast Arkansas Bluegrass Association, Bibb Chiropractic, the Posey Peddler, Holiday Inn Express and Suites of Paragould, and KASU.
KASU, 91.9 FM, is the 100,000-watt public broadcasting service of Arkansas State University in Jonesboro. For more information, contact KASU Program Director Marty Scarbrough at firstname.lastname@example.org or (870) 972-2367. Bluegrass Monday is also on Facebook (search “Bluegrass Monday”).
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This and other news releases are also available at: AState.edu/news
Attached Photo: Chris Jones and the Night Drivers (from left) Mark Stoffel, Jon Weisberger, Chris Jones and Gina Clowes.