Bill Evans: The Banjo in America

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Thursday / April 26, 2012 / 4:00 p.m.
The Loft
939 Boylston St.
United States

Bill Evans is an internationally recognized five-string banjo life force. As a performer, teacher, writer, and composer, he brings a deep knowledge, intense virtuosity and contagious passion to all things banjo, with thousands of music fans and banjo students from all over the world in a music career that now spans more than 35 years.

Evans' banjo artistry is best experienced in live performance and on his recordings Native and Fine, Bill Evans Plays Banjo, and …let’s do something with Megan Lynch. Evans successfully bridges traditional and contemporary sounds and playing techniques, creating a new music that is firmly within the bluegrass tradition but draws upon a broad knowledge of classical, jazz, and world music. Evans is also an expert player of mid-19th century minstrel and late 19th and early 20th century classic banjo styles, authentically performing these styles on historical instruments. He brings these diverse interests together in his solo performance concert "The Banjo in America" and in frequent collaboration with old-time music icon Jody Stecher with The Secret Life of Banjos.

Since the 1980s, Evans has been in the center of the progressive bluegrass/new acoustic music movement, beginning with his Charlottesville, Virginia–based band Cloud Valley, which included bassist extraordinaire Missy Raines and New Mexico mandolin virtuoso Steve Smith. Over three decades of touring, Evans has appeared with David Grisman, Peter Rowan, the Contribution (members of String Cheese Incident, Railroad Earth, and New Monsoon), Tony Trischka, the De Pue Brothers Band, Dry Branch Fire Squad, Los Cenzontles, Mike Seeger, Hazel Dickens and Alice Gerrard, and Laurie Lewis. 

These days, you’ll find Evans on today's cutting edge on stage with Waybacks guitarist James Nash and Hot Buttered Rum bassist Bryan Horne in the new band the NashVillians, and with Steve Smith, Chris Sanders, and Hard Road. On the more traditional side, catch Evans as the leader of the Flatt and Scruggs Tribute Band, which brings together several northern California bluegrass legends (Del Williams, Paul Shelasky, Jim Mintun, Markie Sanders, and David Thom) to perform the music of Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs.

Evans is the author of Banjo for Dummies, the most popular banjo book in the world. In addition, he hosts four critically acclaimed instructional DVDs for AcuTab Publications and is the coauthor of Parking Lot Picker's Songbook: Banjo Edition from Mel Bay. He also writes a popular monthly instructional column for Banjo Newsletter magazine called All Strings Considered.