Greetings from Arizona, where we’ve just wrapped up playing at the bluegrass festival here in Casa Grande. Given the eastern weather reports, we’re feeling pretty fortunate about the timing. This wraps up a 10-day tour of California and Arizona.

The view out the front door of our rustic lodging in Felton, CA:


Jeremy Garrett of the Infamous Stringdusters (and former bandmate of ours) was nice enough to fill in on the tour:

Playing with Jeremy at the Agri-country Bluegrass Festival in Casa Grande, AZ

We also appreciated Shelby, Jocelyn, and Tori of Gold Heart joining us on “Wolf Creek Pass” (backstage rehearsal, pictured left).12622327_1562509574071106_7717018800174460245_o

Well, if you haven’t heard the news yet, we have our first band personnel change in over a decade. After 13 or so years, Ned Luberecki is departing the Night Drivers. We’ll certainly miss him. He’s been a great guy to work with, both musically and personally. You’ll be able to catch Ned out on the road with the Becky Buller Band, as well as at the various camps where he teaches throughout the year. Ned and I will continue to work together on SiriusXM’s Bluegrass Junction. I mention that, because I’ve been surprised at the number of people who, after hearing of Ned’s departure from the band, say, “we’re certainly going to miss you on Bluegrass Junction.” This is, of course, how misunderstandings happen!

Meanwhile this past week, we were very excited to announce the newest member of Chris Jones & The Night Drivers: Gina Clowes, a very talented young woman from Winchester, Virginia, who will be joining us immediately after this weekend, and she’ll be making her debut with us at the World Famous Station Inn in Nashville on February 19th, followed by a show at our midwestern home-away-from-home: The Old Feed Store in Cobden, IL on February 20th. GInaClowesI first met Gina, and was very impressed with her playing, when she was playing with an excellent Virginia/West Virginia band called Bud’s Collective. The full press release about this, and about Gina, is on our home page, but you can access it here. Mark Stoffel, Jon Weisberger, and I are all very optimistic about this new chapter in the band’s history, and we’re looking forward to our first shows together.

In other news, we have a new video out to go along with out current single on Mountain Home, “One Night in Paducah.” It’s a riverboat tale written by me and Jon Weisberger, and we’re grateful to the bluegrass radio programmers who have been playing it.

Take care, stay warm, and I hope you get a chance to come see the new lineup soon.