Though he’s a classically trained composer and award winning music jouranlist who performs regularly as a bass player with bluegrass artists Chris Jones & The Night Drivers, Roland White and others, Jon Weisberger is probably best known these days as the first recipient of the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Songwriter of the Year award. Starting with his first song, written some 20 years ago, he has become one of the music’s most prolific and frequently recorded writers.
Jon first gained prominence as a songwriter in 2001, when The Chapmans recorded two of his songs on their Follow Me release for Pinecastle records; one of them, “Losing Again,” became one of the most widely aired songs of the year on bluegrass radio, earning him a nomination for SPBGMA’s Songwriter Of The Year award. Still, it took several years before he scored his next major cut, placing “Blown Away And Gone” on the Del McCoury Band’s Grammy-winning The Company We Keep.
By that time, Weisberger’s catalog was beginning to grow, thanks to co-writing sessions with collaborators like Mark Simos, Mountain Heart’s Jim Van Cleve, and Blue Highway’s Tim Stafford. By 2008, he’d accumulated more than enough material to produce an album of original songs, If This Road Could Talk, featuring a dazzling array of co-writers and guests like Stafford, the Infamous Stringdusters’ Jeremy Garrett and Andy Falco, Alison Krauss & Union Station’s Ron Block, mandolin whiz Jesse Brock and many more. Over the next two years, artists like Blue Highway, Doyle Lawson, the Dixie Bee-Liners, the Stringdusters and his long-term employer, Chris Jones & The Night Drivers, joined the list of artists who have recorded his material.
Since then, Jon has seen an unsurpassed number of his songs recorded—more than 40 between 2010 and 2012—by an even wider array of artists, from jamgrass favorites the Infamous Stringdusters (who put four of his songs on their Silver Sky release alone) to hard core traditionalists Joe Mullins & the Radio Ramblers, and from veterans like Special Consensus and Blue Highway to newcomers such as Nu-Blu and NewTown, and even with overseas artists like Italy’s Red Wine. And late in 2011, Jon scored his first bluegrass #1—both as a player and as a songwriter—when Chris Jones & The Night Drivers’ “Final Farewell,” co-written with Jones, topped the Bluegrass Today airplay chart, remaining on the chart for the next 6 months.