Jones' first four albums were originally released on vinyl on the Trailer Records label. Currently only the first two are available on CD. Legal wrangles continue to impede Jones' full back-catalogue from being re-released.

In 2001 Penguin Eggs was voted to 2nd place in the "Best Folk Album of all Time" by listeners of the Mike Harding show on BBC Radio 2. The opening track on this album, "Canadee-I-O" was also recorded by Bob Dylan and included on his 1992 album Good as I Been to You. Some critics have accused Dylan of stealing Jones' arrangements for this song without credit or offer of royalties. Others disagree, and believe the arrangements to be different.


Nic Jones was born on 9 January 1947 in Orpington, Kent. He first learned to play guitar as a young teenager and early musical influences included such artists as The Shadows, Duane Eddy, Chet Atkins, Wes Montgomery and Ray Charles. His interest in folk music was aroused by some old school friends who had formed a folk band called The Halliard. When the members of the group decided to turn professional, one of them left to pursue a different career and Nic was invited to take his place. Whilst playing with The Halliard, Jones learned to play the fiddle, and also how to research and arrange traditional material. The group toured the UK between 1964 and 1968, eventually splitting up when two of the members decided to pursue careers outside the folk music business.[5]

In 1968 Jones married Julia Seymour and they eventually were to have three children together – Daniel (d), Helen and Joe. The couple settled in Chelmsford and Jones decided to pursue a career as a solo folk artist. He started playing professional gigs in 1969, and in 1970 released his first album, Ballads and Songs for Trailer Records.[6] Between 1971 and 1980 Jones recorded four more solo albums - three more for Trailer Records and his last, "Penguin Eggs", for Topic. Apart from Jones' trademark vocals, fingerstyle guitar and fiddle, the records also introduced guest instrumentalists playing piano, harmonium, bodhran, melodeon and recorders.

During his career, Jones was much in demand as a session musician and he guested on albums by leading UK artists such as June Tabor, Shirley Collins, Barbara Dickson, Richard Thompson and many others. He was also a member of short-lived folk group "Bandoggs", comprising Jones, Tony Rose, Peter Coe and Chris Coe, and which released one album in 1978.

In February 1982 Jones was involved in a serious car accident while driving home after a gig at Glossop Folk Club. Jones' car ran into a lorry pulling out of "Whittlesea brickworks" on the road between Peterborough and March in Cambridgeshire. He suffered very serious injuries, including many broken bones and brain damage, and required intensive care treatment and hospitalisation for a total of eight months. Jones's injuries left him with permanent physical co-ordination problems and unable to play the guitar as well as before – he could also no longer play the fiddle at all. The accident effectively ended his career as a touring and recording professional musician.[7]

Jones now lives in Devon and continues to play guitar and write songs for his own pleasure and enjoys playing chess. His wife Julia set up the record label Mollie Music which has issued four albums of re-mastered live recordings from Jones's early career.

On 5 August 2010, after an absence of 28 years, Jones made a return to the stage. He appeared at an event dedicated to his music at Sidmouth Folk Week. Jones sang three songs with one of his former bands Bandoggs and commented that he would "consider performing again – but wanted to sing his own songs."[8]
Guitar style

Jones developed an intricate, rhythmically-complex fingerpicking and strumming guitar style. He started off playing in standard guitar tuning (EADGBE) but then gravitated towards a variety of open tunings after hearing the recordings of Martin Carthy, whom he acknowledges as an important influence. These included tunings such as the well-known DADGAD, but also variants of C and G major/minor/modal tunings heard on such tracks as "Canada-I-O" and "Billy Don't Weep For Me".[9] Jones was also influenced by classical and flamenco guitar playing.

He played a Fylde Orsino acoustic guitar with a plastic thumb pick and "bare" fingers. Jones plucked the strings with some force causing the strings to lift up and rebound against the fingerboard - accounting for the "spitting", slapping sound characteristic of Jones' guitar accompaniments. Another important feature was a regular percussive sound made by striking downwards with the middle and ring fingers of the right hand on damped bass strings close to or above the bridge of the guitar. This is akin to the technique used by banjo players called frailing. This can be heard to good effect on such Jones tracks as "Ten Thousand miles" (on The Noah's Ark Trap, 1977) and "Master Kilby" (on From the Devil to a Stranger, 1978). Jones also skillfully used selective string damping to achieve other percussive effects such as on "Billy Don't Weep For Me" (on From the Devil to a Stranger).

A feature of his later, mature guitar style is the introduction of subtle counterpoint lines that complement the lead vocals. This can be heard on such songs as "Miles Weatherhill", "The Golden Glove", "Courting is a pleasure" and others.[10]

This free website was made using Yola.

No HTML skills required. Build your website in minutes.

Go to www.yola.com and sign up today!

Make a free website with Yola