Bill Evans – Banjo
Bill Evans is an internationally known five-string banjo life force. As a performer, teacher, writer, scholar 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 career that spans over thirty-five years.
In Bill’s solo concert presentation “The Banjo in America,” he presents the banjo from its West African roots to the New World, performing musical examples from the 1700’s to the present day on a variety of vintage instruments, ranging from an African ekonting to a mid-19th century minstrel banjo, a modern bluegrass banjo and even an electric banjo. From an 18th century African dance tune to the music of the Civil War, and from early 20th century ragtime to folk and bluegrass banjo styles to Bill’s own incredible original music,The Banjo in America illuminates as well as entertains, exposing audiences to over 250 years of American music.
Bill also assembles first-rate progressive acoustic ensembles to perform music from his CDs at major festivals around the world. Acoustic luminaries Todd Phillips, Josh Williams, Don Rigsby, Matt Flinner, Barbara Lamb, Jim Nunally, Chad Manning, Mike Barnett, Lincoln Meyers, Missy Raines, Steve Smith, Joe Walsh, Tashina & Tristan Clarridge, Mike Witcher and Sharon Gilchrist are just some of the folks who have shared the stage with Bill in a moving musical feast he calls “The Bill Evans String Summit.”
Bill is the author of “Banjo For Dummies,” the most popular banjo book in the world and has been a Banjo Newsletter columnist for over fifteen years. He has also performed with acoustic legends David Grisman, Peter Rowan, David Bromberg, Dry Branch Fire Squad, Tony Trischka, Jody Stecher, Laurie Lewis, James Nash and Kathy Kallick, among many others.
Bill has appeared at many bluegrass and folk festivals all across North America, including appearances at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass (San Francisco, CA); FreshGrass (North Adams, MA) and Wintergrass (Bellvue, WA). In 2012, Bill performed in 12 states, Canada, Germany and participated in a U. S. State Department-sponsored tour of Russia. Venues played in 2012 include the Birchmere Restaurant, VA; Banjo Camp Munich, Germany and an appearance with the San Francisco Symphony.
Bill will make his debut appearance on “A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor” in February 2013.
Bill’s 2012 CD “In Good Company” features 26 guest artists, including The Infamous Stringdusters, Tim O’Brien, Joy Kills Sorrow, Stuart Duncan, Rob Ickes, Darol Anger, Mike Marshall, David Grier, Todd Phillips and many others. “In Good Company” was the #1 CD on the Roots Music Report national Bluegrass Charts for the first two weeks of November 2012 and was the #1 CD on the Folk DJ-List charts for May 2012.
“In Good Company” occupied either the #1 or #2 chart position on the California Roots Music Report charts from May to October 2012. This project received a Spotlight Review in the August 2012 edition of “Bluegrass Unlimited” magazine. “In Good Company” has been named to many “Best of 2012” CD lists, including Pop Matters, Folk Alley, Kansas Public Radio, Engine 145, Prescription Bluegrass, and WDHX-FM.
Bill has a Master’s Degree in Music from the University of California, Berkeley with a specialization in American music history and he has been a scholar/artist in residence at many universities across the United States. He has served as a consultant to the National Endowment for the Arts and is the former Associate Director of the International Bluegrass Music Museum in Owenboro, Kentucky.