Darrel “Curly” Jones is well known in the music industry, as well as the transportation industry. He began his journey with a three day run for the Oak Ridge Boys on July 21, 1969, a three day run which began on a Friday from Nashville, TN to Salem, IN continuing on to Jackson, MS for a Saturday night performance with a final show Sunday in Greenville, SC. He thought he had been around the world. His first ride was a Silver Eagle named “Chocolate” with a speedometer that had a graph and paper, there was no digital display or electronics and no restroom on the bus. His 50 year career came full circle on Friday June 19 as he pulled into Mattoon, IL behind the wheel of The Oak Ridge Boys new luxury tour bus. The band brought their long-time friend on stage to recognize his importance in the industry and celebrate the journey with a personal autographed photo of “Chocolate” and a guitar signed by everyone.
Artists, industry friends and anyone associated with Curly are encouraged to send photos or stories for his retirement memory book to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In an excerpt from the book On the Road with The Oak Ridge Boys is one of many road stories:
“Well, Curly found out that Olivia Newton John was about to go on tour and might need a bus. We didn’t have many dates during this time period, so Curly leased our bus to Olivia. But there was a catch. We did NOT have a bathroom. We DID have a funnel in the back, near The Hell Hole, where the boys could honor nature. It took talent to use the funnel on a moving bus. Sometimes one might miss and pee into the Hell Hole, but that’s another story. So Curly had a bathroom built for Olivia, and she leased our bus for several months. For the dates we had to play we either borrowed Roy Clark’s bus, promoter Sonny Simmons’ RV, or we rented something ourselves. When Chocolate returned to us we had a full-fledged bathroom. We, of course, named it the Olivia Newton JOHN! Curly Jones would leave the Oaks and go into the bus business. His company was among the first of the premiere bus leasing operations in Nashville.”
“I am grateful and honored that the Oak Ridge Boys gave me an opportunity that allowed me to work in an industry that I love and have a true passion for,” said Darrell “Curly” Jones. “Driving for them again meant the world to me and I will be forever grateful to them and cherish the memories we made together.”
“Curly is simply a trailblazing show bus driving legend and we are honored that he started his legendary career driving The Oak Ridge Boys. He is a brother and a friend and after 50 years of leasing and driving buses to multitudes of big-time entertainers how cool it was that he wanted to drive us just one more time,” stated the Oak Ridge Boys. “It was surreal to have Curly in the seat again although as William Lee stated he HAS lost his curls. We love Curly Jones… He is part of our history!”
Jones is proud of the fact he has driven approximately five million miles and never missed a show and never had a traffic accident. The 5’ 41/2” tall driver is also appreciative that Trailway and Greyhound have a height requirement and would not consider hiring him due to his short height.
Curly Jones has driven celebrities, sports figures and music artists from all genres including Melissa Manchester, Chaka Khan, Lee Ann Womack, Melissa Etheridge, Huey Lewis, Little River Band, Heart, Brooks and Dunn, Keith Urban, George Strait, Garth Brooks, Oak Ridge Boys, Billy Joel, Jimmy Buffett, Merle Haggard, Ashley Monroe and many more.
About Darrell “Curly” Jones:
Darrell “Curly” Jones began his journey with a three day run for the Oak Ridge Boys on July 21st 1969. His first ride was the Silver Eagle named “Chocolate” with a speedometer that had a graph and paper, there was no digital or electronics and no on board restroom that took them on a 3 day run which began on a Friday from Nashville, TN to Salem IN continuing to Jackson MS for a Saturday night performance with a final show Sunday in Greenville, SC. He thought he had been around the world. When he started there was no interstate I-24 and I-65 and I-40 were not finished yet and the interstate ended at exit 2 in KY. The busses had a dash speedometer that had a graph and paper, there was no digital or electronics and no on board restroom. has driven approximately five million miles and never missed a show and never had a traffic accident. The 5’ 41/2” tall driver is also appreciative that Trailway and Greyhound have a height requirement and would not consider hiring him due to his short height. An entrepreneur at heart, when times were lean, he convinced the Oak Ridge Boys to lease out their bus for additional income, and the first artist to lease from them was Olivia Newton John. Prevost Tour Busses was started in 1988 and Curly Jones opened Stagecoach VIP and bought the first three Prevost busses! He also became a lease agent for Lock Raven Coach one of the first full service bus companies in Nashville. He has been a driver for the last 16 years for Hemphill Bus line.