Bill Evans (banjo)
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Bill Evans (banjo)

San Pablo, California, United States | INDIE

San Pablo, California, United States | INDIE
Solo Folk Bluegrass

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Banjo player Bill Evans is in good company indeed, with an all-star lineup of guests on this CD exploring a range of progressive bluegrass stylings. Make no mistake about it, though, that despite the glittering array of talent on hand, Evans' own banjo playing demonstrates that, while he is not as well-known as many other bluegrass banjo players, his banjo work is unsurpassed. There's a barn burning bluegrass tune in Dakota, with the likes of guitarist David Grier, fiddler Stuart Duncan, and dobro and mandolin from Rob Ickes and Matt Flinner, and an exploratory opening track, The Distance Between Two Points, that builds in intensity after a pastoral opening, with Grier, Mike Marshall on mandolin, Todd Phillips on bass, and three fiddlers (Darol Anger, and Tashina and Tristan Clarridge). Bill is joined by the Infamous Stringdusters on one song and Joy Kills Sorrow on another, and welcomes special guests Tim O'Brien and Laurie Lewis to sing Follow the Drinking Gourd. There's even a Beatles medley, with striking arrangements of four Fab Four tunes. - Kansas Public Radio


Evans teamed up with Tim O'Brien, Laurie Lewis, The Infamous Stringdusters, and many more to present this varied collection of original, traditional and contemporary collaborations. Mostly instrumental, with some great singing too, and a healthy dose of classic Beatles songs. - Folk Alley


"Banjo master, song-writer, entertainer and world statesman. This CD is a joy to listen to from start to finish. What a talent!" - Prescription Bluegrass


Writer Steve Leftridge names "In Good Company" as the #4 Bluegrass CD of 2012, just behind the Punch Brothers, Steep Canyon Rangers and Balsam Range. - PopMatters.com


"In Good Company" finishes at #15 for the year of 2012 on the Roots Music Report/Cash Box charts. The CD was #1 for several weeks on this chart. - Roots Music Report


Bill Evans’s new album in “In Good Company” is one of the best and most surprising albums I’ve heard in a long time.

June 20, 2012 by Ethan Smith

Every once in a while I’m just totally blown away by an album. I’ve heard and played A LOT of bluegrass. It takes quite a bit to blow me away these days. I’m not saying I’m the Bluegrass Police or an old, grumpy picker who hates anything made after 1960, but I’m getting there.

That being said, this morning I was totally blown away when I popped in the new Bill Evans album “In Good Company” for the morning commute.

From the first note it manages to strike the perfect balance of new grass mellowness, taste and restraint with solid traditional Bluegrass drive. It’s dry but with a hint of moistened reverb, clean with specks of dust, edgy when it needs to be but traditional in just the right spots without ever being cliché or ironic. (Thank the lord, because I’m really getting sick of ironic)

Honestly, I try to take an open minded approach to these things and listen without any pre-conceived notions, so going in to this I had no idea what this album was all about. But when I got to the office I opened up the liner notes to find out it’s a smorgasbord of bluegrass deliciousness. I then understood EXACTLY why I thought it was SOOO good. Check out the listing of contributors…

Bill Evans with The Infamous Stringdusters, Tim O’Brien, Joy Kills Sorrow, Darol Anger, Cindy Browne Rosefield, Tashina & Tristan Clarridge, Stuart Duncan, Corey Evans, Matt Flinner, David Grier, Rob Ickes, Dominic Leslie, Laurie Lewis, Ned Luberecki, Mike Marshall, Todd Phillips and Missy Raines. Produced by Bill Evans, Stephen Mougin, Darol Anger & Tom Size.

Good grief if you can’t make a killer album with that line up, you need think about doing something else. That being said it even exceeds the sum of it parts by an order of magnitude. Bill Evans really has put a good one together.

The first track called the “The Distance Between Two Points” starts it off perfectly and from there it was a joy to listen to all the way through. From the first note you can tell it’s a technical masterpiece where every note is placed with perfection and care. It’s not just the musicianship that stands out either.

The engineering and production values are off the chart AMAZING! The complexity and space surrounding the instruments is phenomenal. There is serious subtly in the bass tone.The woodyness of each instrument comes through in all it’s sparkling glory. It’s a rare beast indeed that brings this kind of complexity to the table without becoming too tedious, wonky, over-complicated or esoteric. This album has NONE of that, and for that, it’s a breath of fresh air to be sure.

It also manages to hang together as a cohesive idea too, which is rare on these all-star projects. Sometimes these kinds of albums can fall apart and turn into a few decent tracks with some filler. However “In Good Company” manages to maintain a solid feel and vibe that is consistent through out the entire length of the record. It has a nice change of pace and mix of feels but at the same a uniformity that seems to be elusive in today’s scatterbrained culture. I love that!

This is an album that should have a place in every Bluegrass fan’s shelf, it’s the work of a master and his good company. - The Fiddle and Creel


Bill Evans
Album: In Good Company
Label: Native & Fine
Tracks: 12
Website: http://www.billevansbanjo.com

Banjo ace Bill, trusty bluegrasser of more than 35 years' standing and mentor to a whole generation of players, has here gathered round him what's described as a powerhouse guest list, a host of musical friends to help him spread the gospel that neither the banjo nor bluegrass itself need be regarded as insurmountable musical barriers to any true music lover.

Bill takes the spirit of the acknowledged bluegrass repertoire and largely through his own intuitive and onwardly mobile, forward-looking compositions he expands it outwards from its artificially imposed ghetto, presenting it as a living, breathing experience that encompasses all manner of content and stylistic variation, though without ever compromising either its standards or its basic values of good playing, good singing, good musicianship and good communication: all's in the quest to serve as ambassador for the music and the banjo and introduce its delights to potential new audiences.

Well there's the theory that Bill's brand of alt-grass propounds - and to a large extent he succeeds here, for as well as setting an accomplished benchmark, there's certainly also a deep joy permeating the performances on this disc. Here Bill's own peerless and authoritative picking, while often a primary focus, is tellingly augmented by a core team consisting of Mike Marshall (mandolin), David Grier (guitar), Darrol Anger with Tashina & Tristan Claridge (fiddles) and Todd Phillips (bass), the relaxed virtuoso instrumental Some Other Creek being the most straightforward example. Then for added interest, making appearances on specific tracks we find Tim O'Brien (Follow The Drinking Gourd), Rob Ickes and Matt Flinner (Dakota and Big Chief Sonny, the latter also featuring banjoist Neal Luberecki), crack outfit The Infamous Stringdusters (John Martin's Walk To The Water), and rising combo Joy Kills Sorrow (Sarah Siskind's On And On).

Although Bill's banjo ia the element that unifies the album sessions, of that there's no doubt, maybe in the end there's not quite sufficient artistic focus to the package as a whole, a feeling that's reinforced by the inclusion of a (for me) fairly expendable four-track-long Beatles medley towards the end of the record. After which, admittedly, the appealingly laid-back, thoughtfully jazzy final track, on which Bill's joined by his percussionist daughter Corey and double bassist Cindy Browne Rosefield, lets us down very gently indeed and leaves us with the smoothest and most favourable of impressions.

David Kidman - fatea-records.co.uk


Bill Evans – In Good Company
by Shawn Underwood in Acoustic, Americana, Bluegrass, Folk

Sometimes a record has such a clear vision and superior execution that a review just writes itself. That’s pretty much the case with Bill Evans newest project, In Good Company. Long before he, literally, wrote the book on how to play the banjo, Evans was studying with the likes of J.D. Crowe and teaching music at San Francisco State, Duke, and the University of Virginia. He also gave individual music lessons to students like Chris Pandolfi of The Infamous Stringdusters and Greg Lizst of Crooked Still. Oh, and he toured and played with David Grisman, Tony Trischka, Peter Rowan, and many others. So when he decided to do an album with friends, well, “in good company” is an understatement.

The record starts with The Distance Between Two Points, a song-writing collaboration with his daughter Corey. The first notes are just Bill on his banjo, but before long other musicians have joined in, one by one. They include Todd Phillips on bass, Mike Marshall on mandolin, David Grier on guitar , and Darol Anger and the Clarridges on fiddle. It finishes as a spectacle of bluegrass instrumental solo and harmony virtuosity. Other guests include Tim O’Brien and Laurie Lewis on Follow the Drinking Gourd, The Infamous Stringdusters on Walk To the Water, and Joy Kills Sorrow on On And On.

Evans doesn’t just borrow musicians to play with him on the project, he also borrows a few songs. Most notably, he covers four Lennon & McCartney tunes in a sort of medley near the end of the album. It’s hard to say which one of those I liked best. Mother Nature’s Son is a gentle, sway-in-your-chair cover with Tristan Clarridge’s cello adding just the right bit of classical to an otherwise pure folk arrangement. You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away ebbs and flows more than the original, and I enjoyed the difference. Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds, geez, how can you not like a banjo playing the lead on that. The set finishes with A Hard Day’s Night. A strike on a banjo doesn’t quite give you the same jolt at the beginning that Harrison did with his electric guitar, but from there it goes into a breakneck bluegrass romp that’s just infectious.

There’s so much to like on this album. Different genres of music, incredible solos, vocal and instrumental harmonies, original songs and covers. The one thing that ties them all together is the banjo of Bill Evans. If you’re a fan of Evans, you’ll certainly like In Good Company. If you’re not familiar with his work, this is a good primer and worth adding at least a couple of songs to your musical library.

About the author: I like music, food and wine. And the view on a clear day from the top of a mountain. I like the designated hitter and instant replay. And fast cars, of any shape or size. A well turned phrase elicits a smile, too. - twangville.com


The hootenanny lives! Banjo master/educator Bill Evans’s In Good Company has that feel of an informal gathering of musicians playing exactly what they want to play, complementing each other to a T and having a great time doing it. The difference between Evans’s hootenanny as recorded here and your everyday hoot is the presence of all-star musicians making it all happen. Apparently Evans had no grand ambition when he began recording in Berkeley, CA, with a stellar crew comprised of guitarist David Grier, fiddler Darol Anger, mandolinist Mike Marshall and fiddling siblings Tashina and Tristan Clarridge, but the sessions went so well he decided to expand his horizons. Out went invites to his handpicked co-conspirators, and In Good Company emerged. And lo, it is good, exceedingly good indeed.

In addition to the abovementioned players, the full cast now includes Tim O’Brien, The Infamous Stringdusters, Joy Kills Sorrow (the latter two bands both include former Evans banjo students in Chris Pandolfi and Wes Corbett, respectively), Laurie Lewis, Rob Ickes, Todd Phillips, Matt Flinner, Missy Raines, Stuart Duncan, Neb Luberecki and even his daughter Corey Evans (on drums and clearly a chip off the old block, as she and dad co-wrote the gently driving, jazzy opening instrumental, “The Distance Between Two Points,” a showcase for Evans’s nuanced banjo soloing, to be sure, but even more so a star turn for fiddlers Anger and the Clarridges, who twists and turns off the melody line bring some heat to the medium-cool arrangement).

If a hootenanny it be, it’s upgraded for our times. Five of the tunes are new Evans originals; four are Lennon-McCartney classics; and Sarah Siskind (“On and On,” with Joy Kills Sorrow’s Emma Beaton delivering a riveting lead vocal) and John Martyn (“Walk to the Water”) are sources for two others. Only “Follow the Drinking Gourd” hearkens back to the late ‘50s-early ‘60s folk revival, and a fine hearkening it is, as Tim O’Brien and Laurie Lewis team up on a determined lead vocal in an arrangement more meditative than this song usually receives. With O’Brien on bouzouki, Ickes on dobro, Flinner on mandolin, and Duncan on fiddle supporting Evans’s spare picking, the tune is far less the rouser it has traditionally been and more reflective of the 1928 song’s coded lyrics guiding runaway slaves to freedom by way of the stars.

Elsewhere the fare blurs the line between traditional and progressive bluegrass. John Martyn’s beautiful and mysterious “Walk to the Water” features The Infamous Stringdusters, with Travis Book taking a strong but plaintive lead vocal with Evans (baritone vocal) and Andy Hall (tenor) adding affecting harmonies to the wondrous recounting of a woman’s seeming spiritual transformation (“save by the water/she said and she was right, I know she was…”), a development the music then celebrates in taking most of the last three minutes of the four-and-a-half minute rendition in a joyous instrumental hallelujah with ample room for solos, most notable among these being Dominick Leslie’s electrifying mandolin run following Andy Falco’s fleet-fingered guitar solo about halfway through.

Amidst all this fine picking and singing, however, the true showcase moment here is the nine-minute, four-song, all-instrumental Beatles tribute, encompassing a soft, thoughtful “Mother Nature’s Son” (with Mike Marshall’s lyrical mandolin leading the way in a lineup sans Evans but including Grier on guitar, Anger and Tashina Clarridge on fiddles and Tristan Clarridge on a most subdued cello); a glorious, banjo-fired mountain soul treatment of “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away”; a temperate 1:19 assaying of “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” focusing on the breathtakingly beautiful melody stripped of its hallucinatory lyrics; and a straight-ahead, barnburning take on “A Hard Day’s Night” sparked by Evans’s spirited banjo, which leads the charge ahead of lush, keening fiddling by Anger and the Clarridges, Mike Marshall’s sprint up and down the mandolin neck, Grier’s fiery guitar solo and a cool strutting bass by Todd Phillips. After all this, the only way to go out is the route Evans chose, his own quiet, introspective instrumental, “They Say You’re Never Lonely in Louisville,” with Cindy Browne Rosefield on bass and daughter Corey on brush drums–a soothing instrumental exhale with the slightest tinge of melancholy about it. Indeed, it’s hard to say goodbye. Anyone for another hootenanny?
- deeprootsmag.org


Bill Evans does for the five-string banjo what Van Gogh did for colour ... treats it in a different way and then shares it with you. And his recent release ‘In Good Company’ is a virtuoso master class in exploring bluegrass from the tradition to the far edges of alternative. With this album ‘good company’ is definitely to the point as you will find yourself in the company of some first-class music.

An excellent Evans composition (and there are five to enjoy) ‘The Distance Between Two Points’ opens the album, this is followed by a stunning cover of John Martyn’s ‘Walk To The Water’ featuring The Infamous Stringdusters. Bill delivers his brilliantly structured ‘Big Chief Sonny’, ensures the room gets rocking with ‘Dakota’ and also teams up with Joy Kills Sorrow to deliver Sarah Siskind’s ‘On and On’ featuring Emma Beaton’s sorrowful vocals.

The tour de force of this album is a four-song Beatles medley – including the reflective ‘Mother Nature’s Son’ an oft-forgotten song from ‘The White Album’ and ‘You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away’ complete with powerful bass line, delightful banjo and incisive fiddle breaks. There’s a soaring take on ‘Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds’ and with a blisteringly punchy drive added for good measure, ‘A Hard Day’s Night’. This medley is simply stunning. If you thought Lennon & McCartney’s music could not transition to bluegrass banjo, then listen to this and think again.

So ‘In Good Company’ is doubly appropriate because it features a stellar collection of superb musicians (a full listing appears on the sleeve notes) who in company with Bill deliver an album that will break boundaries and bring bluegrass to a wider audience. ‘In Good Company’ is available here.

Reviewer: Tom Franks - www.folkwords.com


Bill Evans is a master banjo player, one intent on showing that the instrument can tackle music that stands outside the usual country and bluegrass canons. That's not to say he ignores that side of things, by any means, and with some powerhouse guests, he plays some mean country music and bluegrass. There are also four Beatles covers, all performed instrumentally, that highlight the beauty and depth in the melodies ("You've Got to Hide Your Love Away" is a standout, while "A Hard Day's Night" is nothing less than a banjo-picking fest at fast and furious speeds, where all the musicians get their heads down and sprint for the finish). But throughout the disc there are remarkable performances, as with the cover of John Martyn's "Walk to the Water," where Andy Hall is a tower on Dobro, although the speed of the performance belies the lazy mood of the original. But, really, this is a showcase for the breadth of Evans' talent, and it does that superbly. - www.allmusic.com


Bill Evans
In Good Company – 2012 (Native & Fine)
Reviewed by Larry Stephens

Bill Evans is one of the top banjo players, though his name may not be as familiar to the bluegrass world as, say, J. D. Crowe's. While he has strong ties to bluegrass, including heading up a Scruggs tribute band (complete with Stetsons), he is also an expert in varied banjo styles and you're as likely to hear him playing old-time or jazz as you are bluegrass.

The first thing you'll notice with this new CD is its unusual insert. No run-of-the-mill booklet, it's a 14 x 19 inch array of photos featuring Evans and friends on one side and a large-print standard insert on the other. Score a point for ingenuity.

After you finish admiring the insert, drop the CD in the player and settle back for a treat of banjo music. If you have a visual display you'll note the record company categorizes this as folk music, but don't expect the Kingston Trio. With seven compositions from Evans, this is a combination of bluegrass (Dakota, with David Grier, Stuart Duncan, Rob Ickes, Matt Flinner and Missy Raines), jazzy instrumentals (They Say You're Never Lonely In Louisville) and songs like On and On with a bit of the Sarah McLachlan sound, a traditional number Follow The Drinking Gourd (with the Dakota contingent plus Tim O'Brien and Laurie Lewis) with a jazzy, swing feel, to Some Other Creek, a cousin to tunes like Jerusalem Ridge with Grier, Mike Marshall, Tashina andTristan Clarridge and Todd Phillips.

Then there's the nod to rock 'n' roll with a four-number Beatles medley.

While it may sound like a mishmash collision of songs and styles, Evans and his talented friends pull it all together into a delightful and entertaining collection that proves the 5-string banjo (and resonator guitar) has a life away from the bluegrass stage. It's not Flatt & Scruggs but it's great listening. - Country Standard Time


Bill Evans / In Good Company
Record Label: Native and Fine Records
Released: May 2012

One quick first listen to this CD was all I was going to have time for….. three hours later I was still at it! Time flies when you’re havin’ FUN! Several things became obvious right away. #1. Bill Evans is one of the finest banjo players I’ve ever heard. #2. Bill Evans is every bit as good a song-writer as he is an instrumentalist. #3. Bill must be incredibly intelligent, because he totally understands that by bringing in the hottest musicians to record with, he not only pushes himself to play better, he brings out the very best in the rest of the team. And with twenty six players, what a team it is!

Bill and The Infamous Stringdusters do the 1971 gem by the late John Martyn, “Walk To The Water.” Bill joins Joy Kills Sorrow to do Sarah Siskind’s “On And On.” And the great vocals of Tim O’Brien and Laurie Lewis harmonize on the Bill and Tim arrangement of the old traditional song “Follow The Drinking Gourd.” All three of these songs are invigorating, interesting, exciting and a pure delight to hear. And they are the only three songs on In Good Company that have vocals on them! It took me a while to realize why I wasn’t missing vocals on the other nine songs….. Bill’s banjo, coupled with his playing technique’s, has a very unique “voice” all it’s own. Smooth, soft and soothing….. smokey and sensual….. feisty and furious. It’s all there when Bill’s banjo “SINGS!”

Bill wrote a total of five instrumentals for this CD, and they are as different and varied as the many shades you’ll find on a color wheel. “Big Chief Sonny” is a rollicking, good time almost Dixieland piece. “Dakota,” is a barn burner and sizzles in it’s speed and intricacy. “The Distance Between Two Points,” and its accompanying, just released video, is a free form excursion that builds in tempo and intensity. As the first song, it is a perfect opener. Its sets a tone of mystery that draws the listener in immediately. “Some Other Creek,” is…… WOW! My personal favorite is “They Say You’re Never Lonely in Louisville.” Accompanied only by Corey Evans on drums and Cindy Browne Rosefield on bass, Bill plays a slow, sultry jazz feel that is both intimate and enticing. Oscar Peterson has nothing on Bill’s banjo here…… As the last song of the CD, it’s a very gentle way for Bill to say “thank you and good night.”

Bill does four songs by The Beatles, and having grown up on the Fab Four (and having heard at least a thousand not so glorious versions of each one) I wasn’t expecting what Mr. Evans delivered. Those Lennon and McCartney melodies took on a whole new, refreshing and warm feel! I couldn’t help myself, I was singing along with each one and then playing them again as I remembered more forgotten lyrics! It’s a gutsy move to take an established song and even attempt to take it someplace new. Its pure artistry and vision if you can do it and succeed! Congratulations Mr. Evans.

At this point it dawned on me that Mr. Evans has two more qualities that are very obvious. Graciousness and an unselfish demeanor. On “Mother Nature’s Son,” he doesn’t even play! He turns the reins over to his team and lets THEM shine. How cool….. And on three other songs, Bill is joined by a second banjo player, and joyously makes room for everyone.

The title of this CD, “In Good Company,” sums up the gentle vibe that seems to flow so easily out of each song. To name each of the cast members and how each impressed me would take hours. From the famous and well known to the not so well known, its safe to say they wouldn’t be here if Bill Evans wasn’t a fan of their playing and knew they would shine on this project. But, on a personal note, I was totally knocked out by the talents of Mike Marshall on mandolin and David Grier on guitar.

The team that Bill put together also included his co-producers, Stephen Mougin, Darol Anger and Tom Size. And, although recorded at five different studios, the team made sure the quality and feel of this CD was first rate and top shelf all the way through, from start to finish. AND… if there was a Grammy Award for best liner notes, this one would win, hands down! All folded up and tucked into a pocket is an 18 inch by 14 inch double sided poster with pictures on one side and all the info on each song printed out in lettering big enough even I could see it without my bifocals. Thank You Mr. Evans!

Yep……. You need to have this CD in YOUR collection, and you may as well go ahead and get two of ‘em, because it won’t take long ‘til you have the first one worn out.
- The Prescription Bluegrass Blog


BILL EVANS, IN GOOD COMPANY

Native and Fine Records 906-9

Some musicians’ visions and scope far outstrip the confines of their chosen instrument. Earl Scruggs obviously had listened to more than the country music of his day. A close listening to his earliest work with Bill Monroe reflects not only an understanding of the swing vocabulary of that day, but an internalization and execution on an instrument, that up until that time, was never used in quite that manner. His phrasing and musical vision took the instrument into new places, and he became the most copied banjo player of all time.

Bill Evans demonstrates his far-reaching vision and music vocabulary on this current release. Not content to regurgitate a rehash of banjo clichés, Evans walks out on the limb and takes control of the entire tree. There is a progressive bluegrass setting with the Infamous Stringdusters covering John Martyn’s “Walk To The Water,” featuring two banjos. In addition to performing with established groups, he also gathers two groups of A-team musicians for this project. The first iteration features David Grier on guitar, Mike Marshall on mandolin, Darol Anger and Tashina and Tristan Clarridge on fiddles, and Todd Phillips on bass. This stellar cast explores spaces and places that go beyond bluegrass without ever completely leaving the genre altogether, as on “Some Other Creek.”

A second iteration includes Grier with Stuart Duncan on fiddle, Rob Ickes on resonator guitar, Matt Flinner on mandolin, and Missy Raines on bass—another dream team that is tuned in on a more hard-edged bluegrass exploration of the musical frontier. This last iteration features vocals by Tim O’Brien and Laurie Lewis on the old folk song “Follow The Drinking Gourd,” a rich, not to be missed track. O’Brien plays some funky bouzouki to good end here. They go on to support Ned Luberecki and Evans in a banjo duet on “Big Chief Sonny,” a pure bluegrass tribute to Sonny Osborne. Then they burn into “Dakota,” another solid Evans original. “On And On” is not the old bluegrass standard, but a Sarah Siskind song performed here by Joy Kills Sorrow and Evans. It is a pensive piece that reflects the best of the new acoustic string band sounds that are becoming more prominent in the world of acoustic music.

The gem in the crown of this project is the four-song Beatle medley performed by the first iteration described earlier. They move through these songs like movements in a minor suite. From the warm, soft opening of “Mother Nature’s Son,” they build through “You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away,” “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds,” and then they explode with the chord into “A Hard Day’s Night” that climaxes with the whole band playing George Harrison’s original 12-string guitar break as a unit. A powerful and musically exciting ending to a great medley. As a thoughtful reprise to this project, Bill Evans performs in a trio with Cindy Browne Rosefield on bass and Corey Evans on drums. This Evans original, “They Say You’re Never Lonely In Louisville” brings to mind another Bill Evans, an intellectually evocative piano player whose compositions and readings were musical magic. That magic is here on this jazz waltz, an outstanding piece from first note to last.

This project should be high on any discerning listener’s list for best recordings of the year. There is so much more here than can be described. The depth of the performances has the sheen of well-polished wood. (Native & Fine Records, 1563 Solano Ave., #454, Berkeley, CA 94707, www.nativeandfine.com.)RCB - Peter V. Kuykendall


Discography

In Good Company (Native and Fine 906-9) #1 CD Roots Music Report Bluegrass Chart (Nov '12), #1 Folk-DJ List (May '12), Spotlight Review Bluegrass Unlimited August 2012. Best of 2012: www.popmatters.com, www.folkalley.com, www.engine145.com, Kansas Public Radio, www.prescriptionbluegrass.com, KDHX-FM.

Bill Evans Plays Banjo (Native and Fine 906-3) Chicago Tribune Top 10 Bluegrass CD of the Year, County Sales Top Instrumental CD of the Year

Native and Fine (Rounder Records 0295) NAIRD Honorable Mention for Acoustic Instrumental Recording of the Year

let's do something...with Megan Lynch (Native and Fine 906-8)
"Rocks and Water" #6 Song of the Year, Folk DJ-List charts

These Boots by Due West (Native and Fine 906-6)

Old As Dirt by Bluegrass Intentions (Native and Fine 906-4)

Photos

Bio

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.

Band Members