Chris Jones

No One But You

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It's getting less and less easy to divide bluegrass bands cleanly into "modern" and "traditional" categories. On this album, the Gordon Lightfoot and Don Williams covers would normally indicate a progressive orientation (the Seldom Scene's versions of Eric Clapton and Bob Dylan songs). But the Night Drivers' instrumental style is strictly traditional, without much in the way of chromatic fanciness or envelope-pushing arrangements. One thing that definitely sets this band apart from the traditional crowd, though, is its generally gentle, crooning style -- this is not hard-driving, high lonesome bluegrass of the Ralph Stanley or Bill Monroe variety. Jones sings in a velvety baritone voice, and his tempos are always moderate. That gives an extra poignance to songs like "Stream of Love" and "In a Mansion Stands My Love," and an extra wistfulness to the band's swinging version of Lefty Frizzell's wry "My Baby's Just Like Money." They never sound smooth exactly, but they do manage to sound relaxed, which is unusual in bluegrass. This is a very fine album from a promising young talent.

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