CHRIS JONES & THE NIGHT DRIVERS
“Whither You Roam”
Few bluegrass artists have spent as much time touring outside the United States as frequently as Chris Jones and The Night Drivers, so it should come as no surprise when travel—and the musical influences it can bring—emerges as a theme in his songs. Sure enough, that’s the case with the group’s latest single for Mountain Home Music Company, “Whither You Roam.”
The latest in a long line of Jones recordings—both originals and thoughtfully-chosen covers—that invoke images and narratives of departure and destinations, sailing ships, railways and roads, “Whither You Roam” is unusual in making the journey it depicts a partnership in which the narrator is more the companion than the adventurer: “Across the sea or in the deepest hollow, Through the fog or clearest desert morning, Whither you roam I will roam along.”
“This is the first song I completed after the start of the pandemic,” notes Jones, “which may be why it’s a traveler’s love song during a time when we can’t travel. The word ‘whither’ has an old world feel to me, and though it’s musically pretty straight ahead bluegrass, there’s a little bit of old world influence in the song from the year I spent in Scotland a few years ago. In that case my wife ‘roamed’ there to study and I followed.”
Indeed, an alert listener will detect the fingerprints of that influence in lines like “The sun is out, the dew is on the barley” and “let the highway take us where it will,” as well as in transatlantic touches found in the song’s folk-flavored melody, even though it’s underpinned by the characteristic bluegrass drive of the Night Drivers’ mandolin (Mark Stoffel), banjo (Grace van’t Hof) and bass (Marshall Wilborn).
“It’s like fine wine for the ears,” Americana music icon Jim Lauderdale once said of Jones’ expressive baritone voice. Framed by the simple yet memorable chorus that opens and closes the song, “Whither You Roam” is a performance rich with the tasteful, yet energetic musicianship that’s been an integral part of the group’s sound since Jones created it a quarter of a century ago.
KEY SELLING POINTS
- Chris Jones and his band The Night Drivers are coming off 4x #1 singles at bluegrass radio from their last album The Choosing Road
- Following that success, Jones' in continuing his winning ways with his last two singles, "Leave it at the Gate" and "Quiet Quick" (both originally released in 2020) landing at the top of the bluegrass charts
- Jones can also be heard emceeing on Sirius XM's Bluegrass Junction channel daily.