Bill Evans is an internationally recognized five-string banjo life force. As a performer, teacher, writer, and composer, he brings a deep knowledge, intense virtuosity, and contagious passion to all things banjo, with thousands of music fans and banjo students all over the world, the product of a music career that spans more than 35 years. As heard in his live performances and recordings, Bill successfully bridges traditional and contemporary sounds and playing techniques, creating music firmly within the bluegrass tradition while drawing on a broad knowledge of classical, jazz, and world music.
Since the 1980s, Bill has been in the center of the progressive bluegrass/new acoustic music movement, beginning with his Virginia-based band Cloud Valley featuring Missy Raines and Steve Smith. Over three decades, Bill has appeared with David Grisman, Peter Rowan, Tony Trischka, Dry Branch Fire Squad, Mike Seeger, Hazel Dickens and Alice Gerrard, Laurie Lewis, Jody Stecher, the DePue Brothers, the Contribution, Jim Hurst, and Lynn Morris, to name just a few. Bill also assembles first-rate progressive acoustic ensembles to perform his own music in the Bill Evans String Summit, which has included Scott Nygaard, Todd Phillips, Josh Williams, Don Rigsby, Matt Flinner, Chad Manning, Joe Walsh, Tashina and Tristan Clarridge, Mike Witcher, and Sharon Gilchrist.
Bill is also an expert player of mid-19th century minstrel and late-19th and early-20th century classic banjo styles, authentically performing these styles on historical instruments in his solo performance concert The Banjo in America.
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 Owensboro, Kentucky.
Bill is the author of Banjo for Dummies, the most popular banjo book in the world; has produced six critically acclaimed instructional DVDs for AcuTab Publications, Homespun Tapes, and the Murphy Method; and is the co-author of Parking Lot Picker’s Songbook: Banjo Edition from Mel Bay. Bill has been a mainstay at many of the most important banjo and bluegrass music camps around the world for the last decade, including Steve Kaufman’s Acoustic Kamp (Tennessee), Sore Fingers Bluegrass Week (England), Midwest Banjo Camp (Michigan), and the California Bluegrass Association Music Camps. Bill hosts his own annual California Banjo Extravaganza and the NashCamp Sonny Osborne Banjo Camp.
Bill learned one-on-one from an impressive list of banjo gurus: Tony Trischka, Alan Munde, Bill Keith, Ben Eldridge, Sonny Osborne, and J. D. Crowe. In turn, he has probably taught more one-on-one banjo lessons than anyone else in the world. His list of former students is impressive: Chris Pandolfi (Infamous Stringdusters), Greg Liszt (Crooked Still), Wes Corbett (Joy Kills Sorrow), and many others. But Bill is just as adept at instructing old and young learners who just want to have fun in a jam session or local band.