Fascinating watch for the banjo enthusiast. A Bluegrass Today article summarized it well…
“For nearly four decades banjoist Bill Evans has been offering a presentation called The Banjo in America, which condenses the 250 year history of our beloved banjo into a concert-length event. During these shows, which are part performance, part demonstration, and part history lesson, Bill plays a wide variety of musical styles on either historic/vintage or period correct instruments.
Given the difficulty of traveling with a dozen or more banjos, Evans has only been able to offer The Banjo in America on special occasions, or fairly near his home base, but he has recently announced that a combo CD/DVD package of this presentation will be available next month.
Produced in cooperation with David Bragger and Tiki Parlour Recordings in Los Angeles, the DVD is a 65 minute video of Bill’s lecture/performance, paired with an audio CD with full length recordings of the various pieces he plays, 19 in all.
Anyone with an interest in the history and evolution of the banjo, from its ancestral roots in the cultural memories of enslaved Africans, to its current iteration as a professional musical instrument used around the world should find this fascinating. Bill traces the history in both the design and playing styles of historic banjos, along with the music of the various periods that would have been performed on them.”
Bill Evans' The Banjo in America celebrates 250 years of music performed on a variety of banjos from the Haitian-inspired banza to the Gibson Mastertone and eight other historical instruments in between. "The Banjo in America" traces the complex musical history of the banjo through two centuries of African-American and Anglo-American cultural exchange. Bill is one of the few musicians who has mastered multiple American banjo styles including 19th century stroke style, old-time finger styles, classic banjo of the ragtime era, Scruggs-style bluegrass and beyond, to his many original tunes. These styles are all displayed here, performed on a stunning variety of historic and reproduction instruments. Very few musicians have the ability and experience to boast such a dazzling display of banjo alchemy and this set is unlike any other ever recorded. Bill's extensive liner notes provide the background and context for each piece and Tiki Parlour's stunning video work captures each performance in gorgeous detail.
Track listing (video and audio):
1. Pompey Ran Away & Phil Rice’s Excelsior Jig 3:22
2. Devil’s Dream, Bully for All & St. Patrick’s Day 6:37
3. Good Bye John & Hard Times 4:05
4. Whoop Jamboree & Indian Rubber Overcoat 4:16
5. Buckley’s Jig & Whelpley’s Jig 4:08
6. Home Sweet Home 4:50
7. Sunflower Dance 1:55
8. A Ragtime Episode 2:36
9. Ballad #1 2:05
10. Banjoland 2:00
11. Pretty Polly 3:47
12. Coal Creek March 1:43
If you've got questions, shoot us a message or give us a call at 833-BANJOBEN (833-226-5623).