BILL EVANS BANJO
“It's one thing to be a strong progressive banjo player; another to excel at the traditional end of the spectrum. To be able to add an indelible mark to the whole history of the instrument is getting ridiculous. High kudos to Bill Evans.” —Tony Trischka
“The banjoist has a world view shared by a precious few. It shows in the breadth of his own bluegrass playing and, especially, through his composing. Evans infuses his work with hints of jazz, classical and music of other realms, all fitting snuggly into his conception of the bluegrass sound. ” —David Royko, The Chicago Tribune
“One of the best banjo pickers on the planet.” —Mark Wittington, San Jose Mercury News, Jan. 2006
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 over thirty-five years.
Bill’s banjo artistry is best experienced in live performance and on his recordings Native and Fine (Rounder 0295), Bill Evans Plays Banjo (Native and Fine 906-3) and …let’s do something (Native and Fine 906-8) with Megan Lynch. Bill 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, drawing upon his experiences as a graduate student in Music at the University of California, Berkeley.
Bill 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 1980’s, Bill 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, Bill 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 & Alice Gerrard, Laurie Lewis, Jim Hurst, Lynn Morris, Robin and Linda Williams, Kathy Kallick, Alan Munde, Don Rigsby, Bluegrass Intentions, Due West, Megan Lynch and the Bill Evans String Summit (featuring Scott Nygaard, Tashina & Tristan Clarridge and Michael Witcher).
These days, you’ll find Bill 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 & Hard Road. On the more traditional side, catch Bill 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 & David Thom) to perform the music of Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs.
Bill 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 co-author of Parking Lot Picker’s Songbook: Banjo Edition from Mel Bay. He also writes a popular monthly instructional column for Banjo Newsletter magazine, “All Strings Considered.”
Bill has been a mainstay at many of the most important banjo and bluegrass music camps the world over for the last decade, including Sore Fingers Bluegrass Week (England), the Midwest Banjo Camp (Michigan), Banjo Camp North (Massachusetts) and the California Bluegrass Association Music Camps. Along with banjo legend Sonny Osborne, Bill hosts his own camp, The NashCamp Banjo Camp in Fairview, Tennessee. Now in its 11th year, this camp has featured J. D. Crowe, Jens Kruger, Ron Block, Alan Munde, Tony Trischka, Robbie McCoury, Charlie Cushman, Kristin Scott Benson, Pete Wernick, Ned Luberecki, and Frank Neat, among others. In most years, this camp is a sell out.
Bill has probably taught more one-on-one banjo lessons than anyone else in the world. His list of former students is impressive: Chris Pandolfi (The Infamous Stringdusters), Greg Liszt (Crooked Still), Wes Corbett (Joy Kills Sorrow), Jayme Stone (From Africa to Appalachia) and Erik Yates (Hot Buttered Rum). However, Bill is just as adept at instructing the older adult learner whose goal is to have fun in a jam session or local band.
At any one time in his home near Berkeley, Bill teaches between forty and sixty private students. Bill also teaches bluegrass ensemble classes for all instrumentalists at the Freight and Salvage Coffeehouse and these are among the most popular band classes in the Bay Area. He also hosts frequent online Banjo Hangout workshops and offers private one-on-one banjo lessons via Skype and iChat.
You can contact Bill via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone him at home at 510-528-1924.