Banjo master Bill Evans’ new album, In Good Company, features an impressive range of bluegrass and American roots musicians like Tim O’Brien, Laurie Lewis, the Infamous Stringdusters, Joy Kills Sorrow, Darol Anger, Stuart Duncan, Mike Marshall, David Grier, Tristan and Tashina Clarridge, and Rob Ickes.
A guest list like this is a testament to Bill Evans’ status in bluegrass for the past thirty-five years, and also to his influence as a teacher. The bands of former students Chris Pandolfi (Infamous Stringdusters) and Wes Corbett (Joy Kills Sorrow) feature on the album. Other prominent students of Evans include Greg Lizst of Crooked Still, Jayme Stone, and Hot Buttered Rum’s Erik Yates.
Since the 1980s Evans has been at the heart of the progressive bluegrass/new acoustic music movement, beginning with his Charlottesville, Virginia-based band Cloud Valley, which included bassist Missy Raines and mandolin player Steve Smith. Over three decades of touring, Evans has appeared with David Grisman, Peter Rowan, the Contribution (members of String Cheese Incident, Railroad Earth and New Monsoon), Tony Trischka, the DePue 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).
Evans is also an expert player of mid-nineteenth century minstrel and late nineteenth and early twentieth century classic banjo styles, performing 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 musician Jody Stecher in the Secret Life of Banjos.
Published on 3 July 2012