“Journeyman” seems like the most fitting tag for guitarist and singer Chris Jones, who even as a kid bounced back and forth between his mother in New York and his father in New Mexico. Since tackling music full-time in 1981 he’s done several stints in Chicago with the veteran bluegrass combo Special Consensus and spent some time in Nashville as a member of Dale Evans & Riverband, along with several other groups. His resume also includes work with the Chieftains, Earl Scruggs, Vassar Clements, and April Verch, all of whom have had an influence on his recent solo album, Too Far Down the Road. Produced by Pete Anderson and released on his Little Dog label last year, it’s a record full of highly personalized honky-tonk with strong folk and bluegrass accents. (It even features bluegrass heavies like Rhonda Vincent, Mike Auldridge, and Chris Hillman.)
No matter how upbeat Jones’s material, the dark, nasal tone of his voice automatically brings everything back down to earth. He’s kinda like a more tuneful Robert Earl Keen, minus the detail-obsessed narratives. This Saturday he’ll have a homecoming of sorts, closing out the always worthwhile Bluegrass Legends series at the American Legion Music Hall in Evanston. He’ll be joined by his long-time band the Night Drivers—banjo player Ned Luberecki and bassist Jon Weisberger.