He shared both a statement and a video with us to explain his thinking.
“This was one of the toughest decisions I’ve ever made. Chris, Jon and Mark are like family to me, and I really wish the best for the Night Drivers. I’m incredibly proud of the music we’ve made and the success that we’ve had. As I post this, I am on tour with Chris and the band in California and Arizona. In fact, we’ll be finishing the tour with Jeremy Garrett filling in on fiddle, which is the same lineup of the band as when I joined in 2003. The tour dates are posted at chrisjonesgrass.com.”
Becky also shared her enthusiasm for having Ned on board.
“Among bluegrass banjo players, there are a few who have left such an indelible mark on their craft that they’re known simply by their first names: Earl (of course), Ralph, Sonny, Don, J.D., Alan, Tony, Béla, Alison, Sammy, Scott, Ron, Jason, Rob, Noam, Kristin… (Baucom is known by his last name.)
When you mention ‘Ned’ to a banjo enthusiast pretty much anywhere in the world (or outer space), he or she will know exactly whom you’re talking about.
While I hate to see him leave Chris Jones & The Night Drivers (Oh, yes! I’m a fan!), I’m in awe that banjo legend Ned Luberecki wants to work with my group and me. He’s such an incredible musician. He’s a mentor to so many. Along with the rest of the Bluegrass Junction crew, he’s one of our favorite voices on Sirius/XM. And he’s so funny! I’m having trouble waiting for our first show of the season at WoodSongs Coffee House in Dalton, Ga., on Jan. 30 at 7:00 p.m.
I will be announcing the rest of my band members in the coming weeks. Stay tuned and thanks for listening!”
Congratulations to Ned and Becky.