Clay Jones back with Mountain Heart

Clay Jones appearing with Mountain Heart at the 2006 Bean Blossom festivalAfter a hiatus of 16 months, Clay Jones has re-assumed the guitar chair with Mountain Heart.

Jones left the band in August of 2007 to deal with some personal and familial issues, and with Clay Hess having left the group to work with Sierra Hull, he is happy for the chance to return.

“I’m so excited to be back with all my brothers! I’m looking forward to seeing the greatest fans in any music again!”

I spoke with Mountain Heart fiddler Jim Van Cleve this morning, and he is likewise stoked to have Jones back onboard.

“It’s no secret that Clay Jones was a large part of the musical personality that MH had developed over the years. He brings a unique spark and intensity to the table that is all his own. That, along with his stage presence, is such a powerful combo. So, of course, we’re all super excited to get to pick with him again.

He and I go back a long time… I’ve known Jones since I was 15!

We just had our first round of rehearsals where we ran through about two and a half hours of music several times. We played all of our material and most all the songs we’ve been performing with Tony Rice. Jones knocked them all out of the park!

He grew up playing with Tony, so I guess that it shouldn’t have been a surprise that he knew that rhythmic feel and most of that material better than anybody! So, with a bit of a return to what MH has become known for, we are all chomping at the bit now to get out and do what we do this year!!”

Jim also mentioned that Clay’s first show back with the band will be at The Ark, in Ann Arbor, MI this coming weekend. This where they cut their current CD release, Road That Never Ends, The Live Album, which features Jones on guitar. From there, the band heads to Clay City, KY.

Sounds like this was meant to be…

You can find the band’s full tour schedule on their web site, and look for a chance to catch Clay with Mountain Heart – and Tony Rice – near you in ’09.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.