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Evan's first band was Charlottesville, Virginia-based Cloud Valley with Missy Raines (bass), Charlie Rancke (guitar), and Steve Smith (mandolin). 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.
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.
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.
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.
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. He also has been touring with Dan Crary (guitar) and Steve Spurgin (bass).
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.
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.
Music Instruction Author
In 2007, Wiley Publishing published the book Banjo for Dummies authored by Evans. This was followed in 2016 in by Bluegrass Banjo for Dummies.
In recent years, Evans has been the author of the "Off the Record" instructional column for Banjo Newsletter magazine.
American Made Banjo Company created the Bill Evans Signature Series 5 String Kel Kroydon banjo.
In 1997, Evans was awarded a musical composition fellowship by the Kentucky Arts Council.
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.