JOHN EVANS – SATURDAY, 5/21 @ 1:00PM
Standing at six-foot-five, adorned in polyester, with a smile on his face and sparkle in his eyes, Texas-born musician John Evans is hard to miss when he takes the stage. Big hair, horn-rimmed glasses, bell-bottoms and vintage cowboy boots may be part of his iconic look, but it’s his contagious energy and memorable sound that captures the audience. As a performer, if Johnny Cash, Buddy Holly and Elvis Costello were to have a love child, John Evans might just be it. But it is also his songwriting that has built his legacy over the past 20 years as a troubadour in the great state of Texas. Music runs deep in this man’s blood, and with just a tiny bit of whiskey to make it flow even better, Evans is embarking on a new album and a new chapter that will go down easy, with or without a shot.
Evans’ life journey has revolved around performing, whether on the football fields of Texas in his younger years, or on stage at venues scattered across America. His journey began by earning his keep and his education through athletics, and later by entering the realm of Texas roots rock music as he took to the road. When he isn’t songwriting or touring with the John Evans Band, Emily Bell or El Trio Grande, Evans is an award-winning producer who creates albums with an untouchable southern elegance, ranging from bluesy rock-n-roll to rootsy country music. He has produced albums for Jason James, folk pop singer Ashley Monical, Jesse Dayton and Emily Bell in the past year alone. His production with Corb Lund (Cabin Fever) went to #1 in Canada knocking Justin Bieber out of that position. Evans also has several album writes and co-writes with Hayes Carll including mainstays, Take Me Away and KMAG YOYO. He is a true virtuoso whose sound and musical style cannot be defined by one genre or one project.
His latest endeavor is his new album Polyester, which tells the story of the journey he has led ever since the day he decided the life of a songwriter was the only path for him. He hasn’t looked back since. John has written over 400 original songs that can touch the soul of music fans from all genres, across all spectrums. His songs are delivered as an outpour of emotion rather than merely singing; songs that make you want to get up and dance, or rock out in your convertible in the heat of a Texas summer. But he also offers the listener lyrics that can be transparent and vulnerable, reflecting what is moving him in his everyday life. Each song speaks to his life experiences, every one having a unique sound and revealing the most important aspect of his music – staying true to his artistry. Whether it be a punk song that comes from a place of anger, a tear-bending country song that stems from sadness, or a song that was just inspired by a longneck bottle, John’s music has the ability to connect with his fans and cut to their hearts.
“I’m extremely proud of this project and everyone involved with it. The past few years have been a journey. I’m really excited and prepared to see where this album takes me,” he says.
Evans’ music career has earned many accolades and awards including EIGHT STRAIGHT YEARS OF HOUSTON PRESS AWARDS starting with six-time BEST MALE VOCALIST, four-time BEST SONGWRITER, two-time MUSICIAN OF THE YEAR and BEST ROOTS ROCK BAND. They span over seven albums, not including his new release on the way. His songs have been featured in films and TV including “Country Strong” and “Friday Night Lights.” His newest album is featured in “Butterfly Girl,” a recent SXSW documentary film about his young daughter, Abigail Evans, who tragically passed away from a rare skin disease in 2013. From a very young age, Abbie was very involved in her dad’s career, traveling on the road with him, selling merchandise at his shows, often serving as a muse for his creativity. She enjoyed spending a lot of time in the studio with him and even sang background on the Johnny Falstaff record that Evans produced.
“The gusto she lived her life with opened my eyes to how delicate life can be and how you really have to take life by the reigns and go live it,” Evans stated. “She was one heck of a girl.”
Abbie’s life and sudden passing has granted John the time and focus to gain perspective of that situation, not only the immense loss, but also the inspiration Abbie left behind. All the songs on this new record were written and recorded when she lived with him in Austin. With her passing, John took the time he needed to heal and explore his inspiration behind the album, that being Abbie. He pushed back the release of Polyester until he was ready to unveil it to the world. And now the time has come.
Polyester will be his first album recorded in his home in Austin, Texas. Evans produced it.
“Sonically it’s a different record,” Evans explains, “I left more space between the notes on many of the tracks to let the songs breathe. I’m always intrigued by new sounds. I embrace arrangements that aren’t conventional.”
Accompanied by new musicians, a different environment and access to studios across Texas, he has found the freedom to delve into his creativity. Players on the record include Emily Bell on background vocals, Scott Davis on guitar, bass and banjo, Falcon Valdez on drums and percussion, Ricky Ray Jackson on steel guitar, Sweeny Tidball on piano, Will Sexton on guitar (on tracks “Trouble Is” and “Instant Society”), and Josh Owen on additional guitar (on tracks “Polyester,” “Pretty,” “Dustbowl” and “Instant Society”).
The album title Polyester not only embodies the avant-garde fashion he is known for, but also his music style that tends to have no tangible boundaries. Fans know Evans is notorious for his patchwork of genres on his records, some of which include his family influence of old Mississippi delta blues, to growing up with 60’s/70’s rock n’ roll and the 80’s punk era. With Polyester, Evans has assembled an album that is not trying to fit into a particular genre. Instead, it seeks to be creative with an American appeal. It’s the essence of Americana.
“When listening to the album, pay attention to the songwriting and song construction,” says Steve Christensen, the album’s engineer. “It’s recorded in a way where it will not fall onto deaf ears of an eclectic music lover.”
John Evans’ time has come again. He is a musical workhorse with an infectious smile and incredible desire to create. He walks to the beat of a different drum and leaves fans wishing they were having what he is having for dinner, or wearing what he is wearing, as if it is just another day in the life.
Might just be time to bring out that old polyester.