While bluegrass fans have often divided themselves between those who like the traditional and those who like the progressive strands of the music, contemporary bluegrass strikes a compromise. While the acoustic backdrop of contemporary bluegrass sounds pretty traditional, the vocals eschew the high, lonesome tenor of Bill Monroe for a more commercial, countrified sound. Chris Jones stands at the forefront of the contemporary scene. While he's mostly known for his deep, expressive vocals, he's also a good songwriter and a fine flatpicker. A Few Words: The Best of the Originals collects Jones' work from a number of group and solo projects over the past seven years. He's joined a cadre of well-known players, from vocalist Sally Jones to dobroist Rob Ickes to fiddler Ron Stewart. Familiar fare like "Dark Wind of Missouri" and "Bridge to Portsmouth" sits comfortably beside new songs like "Too Far Down the Road" and the title cut. One also wouldn't want to miss "Wit's End," a lovely instrumental that rolls along like a drive in the country on a warm summer afternoon. A Few Words collects 16 of Jones' self-penned and co-penned songs, making a strong case for his skills as a songwriter. The collection also offers an excellent introduction to anyone unfamiliar with Jones' music, meaning anyone who hasn't been listening to bluegrass radio during the past few years.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.