Tom Paxton (Various Artists) - The Last Hobo (Chris Jon
  • The Last Hobo (feat. Chris Jones)
  • The Last Hobo (feat. Chris Jones)
    Genre: Bluegrass
    MP3 (03:38) [8.32 MB]
After two folk-flavored singles from Mountain Home Music Company’s forthcoming multi-artist Bluegrass Sings Paxton collection — the ‘grassy yet delicate “I Give You The Morning” from Claire Lynch and Tim O’Brien’s guitar-driven “You Took Me In” — the spotlight turns to full-bore bluegrass with Chris Jones’ energetic take on Lifetime GRAMMY award winner Tom Paxton’s tale of life on the rails, “The Last Hobo.”

Featuring the same top shelf group of instrumentalists who appeared on Lynch’s track,”The Last Hobo” includes two award winners in banjo player Kristin Scott Benson and fiddler Deanie Richardson, along with acclaimed mandolinist Darren Nicholson, bass player Nelson Williams (Chris Jones & the Night Drivers, New Dangerfield) — and the aforementioned Jones, who does double duty as player and singer.

“It was such an honor to get to participate in the Bluegrass Sings Paxton project as both studio band guitarist and as a vocalist on ‘The Last Hobo,’” says Jones, whose 2022 IBMA-nominated “Riding The Chief” underscores his own affinity for the rails. “I was immediately drawn to this song, which struck me as a classic Tom Paxton story song of travel and love lost. It’s the kind of song that pretty much sings itself. Plus,” the award-winning humor columnist adds, “I’ve just always wanted to sing a song that mentions Tucumcari, New Mexico.”

Opened and closed by an energetic fiddle and mandolin flourish that transforms the laid-back pedal steel guitar opening of Paxton’s original version into dynamic bluegrass terms and solos passed around among the instrumentalists, Jones’ take on “The Last Hobo” rattles along like the lyric’s “last boxcar,” as his laconic voice delivers its tale of a nameless man for whom a failed romance has led to a life on the rails:

Now he’s the last hobo
On the last boxcar
On the last freight train
Leaving here

With Chris Jones’ familiar voice and the inspired accompaniment of the all-star ensemble, “The Last Hobo”’s well-paced story and irresistible chorus offer a compelling case that, after more than a half century of bluegrass adaptations of Paxton’s songs, the well is as deep as ever.

  • Members:
    Darren Nicholson - Mandolin; Deanie Richardson - Fiddle; Chris Jones - Acoustic, Vocals; Kristin Scott Benson - Banjo; Nelson Williams -Upright Bass;
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  • Profile Last Updated:
    07/09/24 15:06:02

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