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Dave Evans is one of a select group of bluegrass banjo pickers whose careers have primarily involved leading their own bands. He is not to be confused with a stream of other Dave Evanses, such as the British guitar fingerpicker from the '70s or U2's guitarist the Edge, whose real name is Dave Evans. Even a charming story of how the banjoist became interested in bluegrass is fraught with the danger of mistaken identity: Evans' mother bought a banjo for his father, whose name was Bill Evans but this is not the jazz pianist of great fame who was sitting in front of the little tot, framed by the branches of a Christmas tree, picking on an old Silvertone.
Evans had already been fooling with the accordion, yet it was the banjo that became that certain special interest that children seek as they grow up, not to mention their parents, who might be trying to keep them out of juvenile detention. From this beginning, the Evans biography already differs from that of many other contemporary banjoists, who almost as a unit select Earl Scruggs as the man who introduced them to the banjo, not their dads. Evans also developed a knack for singing while playing a banjo, a form of musical expression that many other pickers have been content to leave to the rhythm guitarist/frontman dude. On top of this pair of talents, Evans also began writing his own songs as early as the age of 13.
His first professional gig was in 1968 with Earl Taylor & the Stoney Mountain Boys; he continued playing with this group for about a year. Following the death of Evans' mother, he brought his own banjo back to his father's side and remained around his hometown area for several years, playing local gigs. Larry Sparks lured him out into wider exposure with his Lonesome Ramblers group in the early '70s. A good deal of Evans' distinctive singing style was developed during that period, as bandleader Sparks began making effective use of the banjoist's singing in the tenor range. Evans went on to work with Red Allen & the Kentuckians, the Boys from Indiana, and the Goins Brothers before forming his own group in 1978, Dave Evans & River Bend. The Rebel label has consistently documented this artist's efforts since that time, releasing at least eight albums under Evans' name.