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The Bluegrass Place

The Blue Ridge Mountain Boys


      Originally based in the Eastern United States, the Blue Ridge Mountain Boys have performed bluegrass music from coast to coast and overseas.   The group was founded in the mid-/late 1960's by Bob Jones, who named it after the Blue Ridge region of the states of Virginia (a childhood home) and the Carolinas. In 1972 Jones moved the group's base of operations to the West Coast.   The Blue Ridge Mountain Boys toured primarily in the western states until Jones, leader as well as founder, temporarily broke up the band late in 1975 and moved to Nashville, Tennessee, to join Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys on guitar and vocals. In 1977 Jones re-formed the Blue Ridge Mountain Boys with new personnel, again based on the West Coast. In 1979, the Blue Ridge Mountain Boys was named Band of the Year by the California State Bluegrass Federation.

      After Jones's sojourn in Nashville and the East, he decided to spread bluegrass to other parts of the world. When in the United States, the Blue Ridge Mountain Boys toured mainly in the West. Jones has toured Europe (six times, most recently in 2001 and 2009), Australia (in 1984, 1985, 1989, 1995, 2001, & 2014), & New Zealand ('85, '92, '94, '99, 2000, 2005, 2008, 2011, & 2016), where enthusiastic audiences love his bluegrass just as they always have in the United States.

Flash! Bob Jones is now available for bookings in the United States, Europe, and the UK in June, July, and August of 2018.

 




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Bob Jones, founder of The Blue Ridge Mountain Boys

      Partly raised in Virginia and Maryland, Bob Jones absorbed the rich musical tradition of the South. Before discovering bluegrass, Jones sang and played traditional Appalachian music and gained further respect as a formidable singer and player of traditional blues. Along the way, Bob Jones became a skilled mandolin player as well as a singer and guitarist. Soon, he began playing and singing bluegrass--a natural extension of his interests in the blues and traditional Appalachian music. In bluegrass success came quickly to Bob Jones. After playing for a couple of years with groups like the Rank Strangers, he joined banjo player Don Stover in the legendary Lilly Brothers band as featured vocalist. Later, Bob worked briefly with virtuoso mandolinist Frank Wakefield as a member of the well known bluegrass trio The Greenbriar Boys. Bob's own group, Bob Jones and the Blue Ridge Mountain Boys has become one of the best known bluegrass bands, with many successful tours of the United States, Europe, Great Britain and other parts of the world. In 2016 and 2017, Bob has played the fiddle to great acclaim on most of his performances, although his singing remains the highlight of every show. Bob Jones of the Blue Ridge Mountain Boys
      In 1976, Bob Jones became a regular member of the prestigious Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee, and joined Bill Monroe and his Blue Grass Boys. As guitarist and vocalist in the Blue Grass Boys, Bob Jones toured and recorded with "the Father of Bluegrass music". After leaving Nashville and the Blue Grass Boys, Bob stayed in touch with bluegrass by re-forming the Blue Ridge Mountain Boys and by way of occasional guest appearances with well-known bluegrass bands throughout North America and overseas.

      As a regular member of the Grand Ole Opry, Bob toured mainly in the South and the MidWest. In 1979, Bob's band, the Blue Ridge Mountain Boys was named Band of the Year by the California State Bluegrass Federation. Also, Bob sang and played guitar on the California State Bluegrass Federation's 1988 Album of the Year, "Bill Monroe on the Radio". In 2002, Governor Paul E. Patton of the Commonwealth of Kentucky honored Bob with a commission as a Kentucky Colonel for his career in bluegrass music. In 2003 Bob Jones became the first (and so far the only) performer ever to be named "Bluegrass Singer of the Year" three times (the first time in 1978 and again in 1991) by the CSBF.


What has the press been saying about Bob Jones?

". . . one of the best bluegrass singers."
Springfield News, Springfield, Oregon

"If there's a better singer than Bob Jones, I haven't heard him."
Boston After Dark, Boston, Massachusetts

"Bob Jones . . . was brilliant from the start."
Albany Advertiser, Albany, Western Australia

"Bob Jones is probably the best all around entertainer ever to play in this city."
Willamette Valley Observer, Eugene, Oregon

". . . entertaining. . . . discovered bluegrass and became an addict."
The Courier, Grants Pass, Oregon

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Personal Glimpses
(Notes from interviews and conversations with the founder of the Blue Ridge Mountain Boys)

"The first time I saw Bill Monroe live was at Whippowill Lake, Warrenton, Virginia. A friend and I had caught a ride to Washington, D.C., with David Grisman. We rode out to the show with Alice Foster. Pete Rowan (whom I knew slightly), Richard Greene, & Lamar Grier were in the band. I was a teenager, and I found the whole experience quite amazing and the music enthralling."

"My respect for and delight (perhaps 'rapture' would be more accurate) in Bill Monroe's music grew pretty much continuously from the first time I heard him. The idea of my playing in his band couldn't even have been called a distant dream. By the late '60s, however, I had become aware that the guitar player's job in the Blue Grass Boys was a bit of a revolving door and that my working for Bill Monroe was a real possibility. In 1968 Roland White, who was playing guitar for Mr. Monroe at the time, kindly let me know that he was planning to leave the group soon. I therefore resolved to approach the Father of Bluegrass at the Philadelphia Folk Festival, where they were performing that year (we had met several times previously, and Mr. Monroe had spent a night or two as a guest in my home, but I'd never said anything about working for him and I don't think he had ever heard me play or sing). We arranged a time to play a few tunes together, and I went back to where I was camped. After checking that my guitar was all in order, I had a final drink of cola to soothe my throat (and perhaps my nerves). Unfortunately, a wasp climbed into the can without my noticing. When I took the last drink from the can, the wasp stung me on the inside of the throat. Two festival security personnel virtually frog-marched me over to the festival's medical center, where I was ordered to sit for the next two hours. As a result of that little wasp, I didn't work with Bill Monroe until nearly ten years later."

"In the mid- to late '60s, I was writing a regular bluegrass and country music column for The Broadside [a Boston-based music and culture magazine]. I was renting a spacious (indeed, huge) three bedroom apartment in Cambridge. When I heard that Bill Monroe was coming to Boston, I invited him to stay at my place. He accepted, and he and the Blue Grass Boys arrived for an early afternoon dinner. After the meal and a relaxed afternoon, I was delighted to ride to the show aboard the Blue Grass Boys' bus (only later, in the course of Bill Monroe's second visit, did I learn why bluegrass musicians in Nashville referred to Bill Monroe's bus as the "Bluegrass Breakdown"). I don't remember much about the night Mr. Monroe spent there, but I remember that I had never before felt so honored ńs I did to have the Father of Bluegrass a guest in my home."

"The second time Bill Monroe was a guest in my home, I was living in New England, renting an apartment in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He dropped in after a show in Boston. Although I'd known Mr. Monroe for four or five years, I'd never heard him play the guitar (or didn't know that I had--I later learned that he played guitar on the Blue Grass Boys' first recording of "Muleskinner Blues"). I was amazed and impressed--he was very good. He not only played well with a straight pick (which one would expect from a mandolin player) but played some very pretty finger-style blues."


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