Dave Evans was born in Portsmouth, Ohio (Scioto, Ohio) and has been an avid lover of Bluegrass Music since the age of eight. When asked to tell a little about himself in his own words, the following is what he had to say: One of the first memories I have is when my mother, Bessie Evans, purchased an old Silvertone 5-string banjo which was a Christmas gift for my father, Bill Evans. Shortly after Christmas, I found myself seated on the floor of our home at the time in Columbus, Ohio. I was listening to my father play the first banjer licks I would hear.
Pop (what I called my father) played the old-time Clawhammer-style. I was eight years old and had been playing the accordion for about a year, but when Pop introduced me to the beautiful sound of the 5-string banjo, something happened to me. Like most kids, I was searching for one special item of interest, something that would become a goal setter in my life. I would find myself able to play that ole' banjer really well someday. Needless to say, after six or seven years of hard, never-ending practice and determination, I found I was well on my way to becoming what I wanted: to be called a "banjer picker".
Some of the first tunes I learned were "Pretty Polly", "John Henry", "Cripple Creek", "Little Maggie" etc. Then came the harder ones like "Sally Goodin", "Foggy Mountain Breakdown", "Ground Speed", etc, (a list too long to name). Well, I found out in a hurry I was wrong about these tunes being hard to learn. When I was introduced to such tunes as "El Com un Char'o" by Jim and Jesse and The Virginia Mountain Boys, "Rawhide" by Mr. Bill Monroe, "Hardtime" by Ralph Stanley, needless to say I learned some of these tunes well enough to play them on stage, but for the most part, I gave up on the rest. I really don't know to this day why, but soon I found I was becoming a pretty decent singer along with learning the 5-string. I found myself starting to sing the lyrics or humming the melodies while learning the licks on the banjer to different tunes. So it went, and slowly, but surely I developed into a singing banjer player. Then came the next phase: a songwriter of Bluegrass Music. Back then, my thirst for knowledge (generally speaking) of Bluegrass Music became an obsession to me. I wanted to create my own melodies and write my own lyrics creating a new sound altogether. The roving dreams of becoming a professional musician can be found in my own handwritten lyrics to a tune named "Highway 52":
"From the ole' Queen City,
To new Boston town,
Ironton and Ol' Hanging Rock,
I've made every stop,
I've played every station,
While travel'n down Ol' Highway 52."
I wrote these lyrics at the ripe old age of thirteen, (ha, ha.) So, you see, somehow, somewhere, some way I always felt it in my heart and soul, I knew for a fact someday I'd be playing that Ol' music called Bluegrass.
Throughout the early years (around 1968), after I had graduated from high school, I had progressed as a singer, songwriter, musician to the point where I was able to land my first professional job, playing the banjer for Mr. Earl Taylor and the Stoney Mountain Boys. I worked with Mr. Taylor for about one year and had to return to Ohio due to an illness to my mother. Mother died in 1969 and I remained in Columbus, Ohio for a while playing clubs, theaters, fairs, festivals, etc.
In 1972 came the opportunity I had been waiting for all of my life, to play hard driving Bluegrass Music. I went to work for Mr. Larry Sparks and became one of the Lonesome Ramblers. I helped Mr. Sparks with five long play albums and his personal appearances in 1972 and 1973. I sang tenor for Mr. Sparks and this helped me to create a singing style that I have to this day.
After leaving the Lonesome Ramblers, I worked with a few well-known groups such as Red Allen and The Kentuckians, The Boys from Indiana, The Goins Brothers, etc. Then I came to the biggest stepping stone in my life, I decided to form my own band. In 1978 I created a band that would become known all over the world as "Dave Evans and River Bend".
Money, I've always heard said, can't buy happiness or love (true love that is)!!! But for me, Dave Evans, my true love lies in Bluegrass Music. She's always been faithful, never lied or let me down through all the years. She is "my" true foundation to happiness. I've handed her my heart and soul. Through the storms of life she has sheltered me, she had made me laugh and has made me cry. She has never left me lonely or forgotten (like so many promises in life do). No, Oh no!1 She instead has given me beautiful sweet reminders of all my friends, family and fans alike, that I can recall forever. I have never hungered, because she has fed me, there has always been "One Loaf of Bread". Yes sir, I'll say indeed these are my Bluegrass memories too!! For all these reasons alone I thank my God for giving her to me. Now children, I've but one thing left to say. I am mighty proud of and have earned every gray hair she has put on my head.