30 August 2021

Bill Evans, Kristin Scott Benson, and the banjo

The September issue of Bluegrass Unlimited (not yet featured on the magazine's website) includes, among many other good things, 'Bill Evans and the 5-string banjo', an article by Bill Borwick. The emphasis is on the teaching aspect of Bill Evans's many-sided relationship with the banjo, and in particular with his eight-session online workshop 'Earl Scruggs: a player's guide', now part of Peghead Nation's course catalogue.

The Scruggs course is based on an in-depth study of Earl's playing, made as part of a personal voyage of discovery by Bill Evans, together with feedback from students and other players including Sonny Osborne and J.D. Crowe. Evans writes: 'Just to hear those guys in a room playing, [...] I realised there was so much I didn't know about how one can take the roll pattern approach that Earl Scruggs created and use it to create just an incredible array of music.' When this is taken together with the Earl Scruggs banjo songbook published this year by Hal Leonard, it looks as if there may never have been a better time for learning Scruggs-style banjo. A similar eight-session Peghead Nation course on Crowe's playing is planned for the new year.

Bill Evans and Kristin Scott Benson are also preparing a book together, 25 great bluegrass banjo solos. For more on this, read 'Kristin Scott Benson - What the banjo means to me today' on Bluegrass Today.

© Richard Hawkins

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