Chris Jones & The Night Drivers welcome the band’s newest member, banjo player Gina Clowes, who will make her debut alongside current members Jones, Mark Stoffel (mandolin) and Jon Weisberger (bass) at the World Famous Station Inn in Nashville, TN, on February 19th.
“We’re having a great time on our final set of dates with Ned Luberecki,” says Chris, “but at the same time, we’re excited to be sharing this news......
.....We met Gina shortly before last year’s World of Bluegrass when we appeared with Bud’s Collective in West Virginia, and were really impressed by her playing. Not long after that, she had indicated to Jon that she was interested in pursuing other opportunities, so when Ned gave his notice, she came immediately to mind.”
Luberecki announced his amicable departure from the band on January 15th.
A Virginia native, Clowes started on piano before switching to the banjo at the age of 11. She studied with IBMA Distinguished Achievement Award winner Murphy Henry, and with 2013 Banjo Player of the Year Mike Munford (Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen), and was a frequent finalist in the bluegrass banjo competition at the Galax Old Fiddlers’ Convention. Her professional experience began in a family band that included sister Malia Furtado, now with Circa Blue. More recently, she spent four years with Bud’s Collective, recording three albums, including 2015’s holiday-themed Naughty List (National Media Services), which included her original “thoughtful meditation” (Bluegrass Today), “Joseph’s Song.” Gina lives in Winchester with her husband, Paul, and their children.
"Having enjoyed Chris Jones' music for years, I am very excited to be taking on the role of Night Driver's banjo player,” Clowes says. “The elegance and tastefulness of their music has always struck a chord with me, so I am grateful to them for welcoming me into the group. The boys in Bud's Collective are family to me, so it is a bittersweet departure. I wish them the best in everything and look forward to what they have in store."
Chris Jones & The Night Drivers celebrated their 20th anniversary in 2015 by releasing their 9th album and first project for Mountain Home Music Company, Run Away Tonight. Founded by guitarist and lead singer Jones, its members are known not just for the group’s distinctive contemporary bluegrass, but for contributions to the community in multiple realms; both Jones and bassist Jon Weisberger have earned IBMA awards in both musical and industry categories ranging from Song of the Year and Songwriter of the Year to Broadcaster of the Year and Print Media Person of the Year. Run Away Tonight’s first single, “Laurie,” written by Jones and Weisberger, spent six weeks at #1 on Bluegrass Today’s weekly airplay chart, and though it was released well into the second half of the year, appeared in the top 5 for all of 2015. The group’s current single, another Jones-Weisberger composition, is “One Night In Paducah.”
"Gina has the technical mastery, stylistic breadth and inventiveness that are essential to the Night Drivers sound, and since a number of our recordings have featured a female voice guesting on harmonies, it will be great to have that as part of the band, too," Jones says. "We look forward to introducing her to our fans—I know they’re going to appreciate her talents as much as we do."