As a longtime subscriber to Flatpicking Magazine, I assumed that regular columnist Chris Jones was just another hotshot flatpicker. Wrong again. A Few Words: the Best of The Originals proves that Chris is first and foremost a great songwriter. From the opening bars of "Dark Wind of Missouri" his songs reach out and grab your heart. Jones has a way of writing songs that sound so traditional, so authentic, that it’s hard to believe they are all contemporary compositions. Plus Jones’ voice is the perfect bluegrass voice, warm, mellifluous, intimate, and well traveled. "Just a Town," co-written with his wife Sally, along with "Model Prisoner," co-written with John Pennell, tie in my mind as the best songs on the album. Each combines emotionally powerful lyrics with haunting melodies.
The sideman list for A Few Words: the Best of The Originals reads like a who’s who of A-list pickers. A slew of mandolinists including Adam Steffey, Aubry Haynie, Wayne Benson, Dan Tyminski, Jesse Brock, Paul Kramer, and Ron Stewart join banjoists Ron Block, Dave Talbot, Doug Knecht, Kristin Scott Benson, bass players Irl Hees, Markie Sanders, Barry Bales, Mickey Harris, Darrin Vincent, and other luminaries including Rob Ickes on dobro to fully populate every cut with hot licks and smooth harmonies. Chris Jones handles most of the guitar parts himself. His playing kicks some serious butt. Listen to the only instrumental "Wits End" if you want to hear flatpicking guitar at its very best.
Selected primarily from his three previous Rebel records releases, A Few Words: the Best of The Originals provides a first class introduction to Chris Jones’ substantial talents. While not destined to be an audiophile reference disc, still the overall sound quality is good enough so it never gets in the way of the music. A picker who can sing and write great songs is a unique combination that you deserve to enjoy.