Bill Evans (bluegrass)
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Bill Evans Bluegrass
Bill Evans
William G. Evans
Born (1956-09-02) September 2, 1956 (age 62)
Norfolk, Virginia
GenresBluegrass music, old-time music, country music, folk music
LabelsNative & Fine Records
Cloud Valley, Dry Branch Fire Squad, Bluegrass Intentions, Due West, Peter Rowan, Bill Evans String Summit

William G. "Bill" Evans (born September 2, 1956) is an American musician, author, and instructor noted for his banjo proficiency and knowledge of the history of the instrument.


Evans earned a Master's Degree in Music from University of California, Berkeley in 1992, with a focus on ethnomusicology. He learned banjo in person from masters such as Tony Trischka, Alan Munde, Bill Keith, Ben Eldridge, Sonny Osborne, and J. D. Crowe.[1]

Cloud Valley

Evan's first band was Charlottesville, Virginia-based Cloud Valley with Missy Raines (bass), Charlie Rancke (guitar), and Steve Smith (mandolin).[2] The progressive bluegrass band released two albums: A Bluegrass Ensemble in 1983 and Live In Europe in 1985. Their final perforomance was in Winfield, Kansas in 1985, but Evans still collaborates with individual band members.[3]

Dry Branch Fire Squad

For some time, Evans performed and recorded with Dry Branch Fire Squad.[4][5]

Bluegrass Intentions

Evans was a member of the bluegrass ensemble Bluegrass Intentions with Suzy Thompson (fiddle, Cajun accordion, vocals), Eric Thompson (mandolin, guitar, vocals), Larry Cohea (bass, vocals), and Alan Senauke (guitar, vocals). They released one album Old as Dirt on Evans's Native and Fine record label in 2002.[6][7]

Due West

Bluegrass group Due West featured Evans, Jim Nunally (guitar), Erik Thomas (mandolin), and Chad Manning (fiddle). Their one album is These Boots released in 2003.[8][9]

Bill Evans String Summit

The Bill Evans String Summit is Evans, Scott Nygaard (guitar), Michael Witcher (dobro), Cindy Browne (bass), Tashina Clarridge (violin), and Tristan Clarridge (violin, cello). Group members bring together their influences from their backgrounds in jazz, classical, and world music.[10]

Recent collaborations

Evans has been touring and holding workshops several weeks each year with Alan Munde (Country Gazette). He has also been recording with long-time bluegrass fiddler Fletcher Bright. Evans tours frequently with mandolin player Steve Smith from Cloud County, and with fiddler Megan Lynch.[11] He also has been touring with Dan Crary (guitar) and Steve Spurgin (bass).[12]

Education and teaching

Evans has taught ethnomusicology at San Francisco State University, the University of Virginia, and Duke University. Evans gives private banjo lessons at his home in Albany, California. He also stages banjo workshops at major music festivals all over the country.[13]

A convocation by Evans "The Banjo in America: A Musical and Cultural History" has been presented in various venues across the country. This convocation traces the history of the banjo from West African to the New World, with performances on vintage instruments of music from the 1700s to today.[14]

Music Instruction Author

In 2007, Wiley Publishing published the book Banjo for Dummies authored by Evans.[15] This was followed in 2016 in by Bluegrass Banjo for Dummies.[16]

In recent years, Evans has been the author of the "Off the Record" instructional column for Banjo Newsletter magazine.[17]

Evans and Dix Bruce co-authored the Parking Lot Pickers Songbook published by Mel Bay Publications.[18]


American Made Banjo Company created the Bill Evans Signature Series 5 String Kel Kroydon banjo.[19]


In 1997, Evans was awarded a musical composition fellowship by the Kentucky Arts Council.[20]

In 1996, Evan's album Native and Fine earned an honorable mention in the category of Acoustic Instrumental Recording of the Year from the NAIRD (National Association of Independent Record Retailers and Distributors).

The album "Bill Evans Plays Banjo" was cited by the Chicago Tribune as a Top 10 Bluegrass Recording of 2001.[8]


Solo albums

  • 1995: Native and Fine (Rounder)
  • 2001: Plays Banjo (Mighty Fine)
  • 2009: ...Let's Do Something... (Native and Fine) with Megan Lynch
  • 2012: In Good Company (Native and Fine)
  • 2013: Fine Times at Fletcher's House (Native and Fine) with Fletcher Bright
  • 2016: Songs That Are Mostly Older Than Us (Native and Fine) with Fletcher Bright, Norman Blake, and Nancy Blake

As a member of Cloud Valley

  • 1982: A Bluegrass Ensemble (Outlet)
  • 1985: Live In Europe (Strictly Country)

As a member of Dry Branch Fire Squad

  • 1996: Live! At Last (Rounder)

As a member of Bluegrass Intentions

  • 2002: Old As Dirt (Native and Fine)

As a member of Due West

  • 2003: These Boots (Native and Fine)

As producer

  • 1998: Suzanne Thomas - Dear Friends & Gentle Hearts (Rounder)

Also appears on

  • 1983: Alan Munde - In the Tradition (Ridge Runner) - banjo on track 3, "Five by Two
  • 1999: Buckeye - Buckeye (B Music)
  • 2000: Enzo Garcia - Words (Recaredo)
  • 2001: Kathy Kallick - My Mother's Voice (Copper Creek)
  • 2004: Chad Manning - Old Gnarly Oak (Tricopolis)
  • 2007: Jim Nunally - Gloria's Waltz (FGM)
  • 2008: Los Cenzontles - Los Senn-Sont-Less (self-released)
  • 2008: Tony Trischka - Territory (Smithsonian Folkways)
  • 2010: Steve Smith, Chris Sanders, and Hard Road - Signs Along the Road (self-released)
  • 2012: Mike McKinley - Bindlestiff (Sand Rabbit)
  • 2012: Bill Emerson and the Sweet Dixie Band - The Touch of Time (Rural Rhythm)
  • 2012: Jody Stecher - Wonders & Signs (Vegetiboy)

Music Instruction


  • 2003: Power Pickin' Vol. 1: Up the Neck Backup for Bluegrass Banjo (AccuTab)
  • 2005: The Bluegrass Banjo of Sonny Osborne (Accutab) hosted by Bill Evans and Tom Adler
  • 2010: Power Pickin' Vol. 3: Playing Banjo Backup in a Bluegrass Band (AccuTab)
  • 2010: Power Pickin' Vol. 4: Power Pickin Vol. 4: Bluegrass Banjo Master Claas (AccuTab)
  • 2012: Harmony Singing Made Easy DVD (Murphy Method) with Janet Beazley, Chris Stuart, and Murphy Henry
  • 2013: Bluegrass Banjo Favorites (Homespun)
  • 2016: Bluegrass Banjo Licks-ercises Vol 1: Scruggs Style (Homespun)
  • 2016: Bluegrass Banjo Licks-ercises Vol 2: Single String and Melodic Styles (Homespun)


  • 2006: Absolute Beginners: Banjo (Music Sales America) ISBN 978-0825634994
  • 2007: Banjo for Dummies (Wiley) ISBN 978-0470127629
  • 2007: Parking Lot Picker's Songbook: Banjo (Mel Bay) with Dix Bruce ISBN 978-0786674916
  • 2015: Bluegrass Banjo For Dummies (Wiley) ISBN 978-1119004301


  1. ^ "Bluegrass Banjo with Bill Evans". Peghead Nation. Retrieved 2017.
  2. ^ Hicks Henry, Murphy (May 1, 2013). Pretty Good for a Girl: Women in Bluegrass (1 ed.). Retrieved 2017.
  3. ^ "Bill Evans". Twangin': Who's Who. Retrieved 2017.
  4. ^ Tony Trischka (1 April 2005). Banjo for Beginners: An Easy Beginning Method. Alfred Music Publishing. pp. 45-. ISBN 978-0-7390-3733-1.
  5. ^ Kasten, Roy (December 31, 1996). "Dry Branch Fire Squad - Live At Last!". No Depression. Retrieved 2017.
  6. ^ "Bluegrass Intentions". Eric & Suzy Thompson. Retrieved 2017.
  7. ^ Griffin, Sid (2005). Bluegrass Guitar: Know the Players, Play the Music (1 ed.). Retrieved 2017.
  8. ^ a b staff writer (Feb 12, 2003). "Bill Evans to present convocation, Due West to perform at Carleton". Northfield News. Retrieved 2017.
  9. ^ "The Bands Past and Present". Jim Nunally website. Retrieved 2017.
  10. ^ Lawless, John (March 18, 2006). "Bill Evans String Summit makes CA debut". Bluegrass Today. Retrieved 2017.
  11. ^ "Bill Evans & Megan Lynch". Freight & Salvage. Retrieved 2017.
  12. ^ uncredited (April 26, 2016). "An Interview with Bill Evans". Banjo Cafe. Retrieved 2017.
  13. ^ Bartlett, Jean (April 5, 2011). "Bill Evans mighty banjo breakdown - Saturday in Pacifica". Pacifica Tribune. Retrieved 2017.
  14. ^ "Convocation: Bill Evans". Carlton College. Retrieved 2017.
  15. ^ Lawless, John (December 14, 2006). "Bill Evans - Banjo For Dummies". Bluegrass Today. Retrieved 2017.
  16. ^ Perry, Ian (April 1, 2016). "Bluegrass Banjo for Dummies by Bill Evans". The Banjo Newsletter. Retrieved 2017.
  17. ^ "Bill Evans in Banjo Newsletter". Banjo Newsletter. Retrieved 2017.
  18. ^ Bruce, Dix (Dec 29, 2010). Parking Lot Picker's Songbook (1 ed.). Retrieved 2017.
  19. ^ "Bill Evans Signature Banjo". American Made Banjo Company. Retrieved 2017.
  20. ^ "Lecture Concert: Bill Evans - the Banjo in America" (PDF). Kobe Shoin Women's University. Retrieved 2017.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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