Bluegrass mandolin

Performers at the Paris Exhibition of 1878 catalyzed the spread of Mandolin Mania across western Europe and the USA. Composers, virtuoso performers, and luthiers/makers elevated the instrument to new artistic heights. By the early 1900s, more people in western Europe and the USA played the mandolin than any other instrument, except for the piano. Violin teachers learned a few mandolin chords, added “mandolin” to their shingle, and in many cases more than doubled their clientele. A demand for more and more mandolins led to cheaply made instruments in greater numbers. Mandolin virtuosi of the day thought MandolinMania could continue indefinitely…
The mandolin’s popularity was in decline in the 1920s when the Gibson Mandolin and Guitar Company introduced the F-5 Master Model, and Gibson hoped the F-5 would revive interest in the mandolin. It didn’t, at least for the time being. The mandolin was still declining in popularity when Bill Monroe bought a 1923 Gibson F-5 from a Miami barber in the early 1940s. Monroe took his new prize possession to the stage of the Grand Ole Opry, and the rest, as the saying goes, is history.
Evan had been taking Classical violin lessons for several years when he discovered Country fiddle music, especially the Orange Blossom Special. Friends at school asked him to join their Bluegrass band, Smokewood. During a rehearsal in 1973, Smokewood’s banjo player, Jonathan Bluemel, handed Evan a mandolin for the very first time. It was love at first sound.
Evan continued his Classical violin studies alongside his pursuit of excellence with the mandolin in a Bluegrass context, and then discovered the Italian mandolin tradition while in college. These factors and others have contributed to Evan’s multi-faceted personal style, but his love for Bluegrass music has never diminished. Between 1992 and 2005 Evan performed over 10,000 shows with a Bluegrass-and-comedy show at Disneyland. He continues to play Bluegrass with his brother John in Billy and the Hillbillies and also The Fiddlin’ Marshalls. Recently Evan has teamed up with Brian Oberlin for a Bluegrass/Swing/Classical duo; their first duo CD, Twin Mandolin Slingers, was released in 2015.