If you’re familiar with artists like The Allman Brothers Band, Warren Haynes, Umphrey’s McGee and Gov’t Mule, then you’ll love Bill Evans’ Soulgrass.
After completing tours across Europe, Japan, Canada and the United States, Soulgrass is headed right for Fairfield, Conn. They have repertoire that spans four albums, including their most recent, “Dragonfly,” released in 2012. The high energy of the band and soulful sax lines resonate through all 10 tracks and will amount to a powerhouse performance on StageOne at the Fairfield Theatre Company on Friday, Sept. 12.
Soulgrass cannot be confined to any one music genre, as they are a fusion of different styles. From the beginning in 1990, the band has incorporated everything from funk and rock beats to screaming horns and expressive solos with soul and jazz instrumentation. With no boundaries, the band travels seamlessly from one gig to the next.
“One thing that’s for sure, is that the band grooves hard,” said Evans. “We plan on bringing improvisation at the highest level, technical music and a burning energy.”
Josh Dion, lead singer and drummer, presents another twist to the band’s structure. With other bandmates Ryan Cavanaugh on banjo, Mitch Stein on guitar and vocals and Dave Anderson on bass, Soulgrass is pushing the envelope in a world of limitless sound.
Evans is a Grammy Award-winning saxophonist and producer who began to tour with Miles Davis when he was 21. To date, he has 19 solo albums and performed with a variety of artists in addition to those already mentioned: Robben Ford, Randy Brecker, Willie Nelson, Herbie Hancock, Mick Jagger and Medeski Martin & Wood.
“If you want to be like Miles, be like yourself,” Evans said. This sense of individuality inspired
Evans, just as it inspired Davis. , Evans became fluent by studying jazz and bebop at a young age, enabling him to “say what I want [musically] in any situation.”
“I’m always having fun,” said Evans, and with his jazz knowledge he can simply “react,” whether he is playing a blues, straight-ahead jazz or swing feel. “It’s still me,” assures Evans. This allowed Evans to develop an unmistakable sound that can only be heard through the story belting from his saxophone.
All stops are out as Soulgrass plans to release their newest album, “Live in Moscow,” in early October. The album includes performances at The Tsereteli Gallery of Arts and The Spaso House, U.S. Ambassador Residence, both in Moscow. Furthermore, Evans is excited to have various guest artists such as Warren Haynes, Anders Osborne, JJ Grey & Mofro, as well as solos from John Medeski of Medeski Martin & Wood.
Evans’ Soulgrass is a group that is relatable to all, whether they be folk, jazz, rock or funk fans. For college students, these are our primitive year of learning and listening and it all comes together with Soulgrass. They are where genres mix, practice meets experience and were our voices are heard.