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California Banjo Extravaganza with Ryan Cavanaugh & Riley Baugus, Nov 12-15: Concerts + Banjo Camp!

Posted by bevans on Thursday, October 22, 2015

Hi everyone,

It's time to share the news about the 4th Annual California Banjo Extravaganza, four concerts throughout northern California and an afternoon of banjo workshops in Berkeley celebrating the five-string banjo! This year's headliners are Riley Baugus, the great North Carolina old-time player & Ryan Cavanaugh, the incredible progressive jazz three-finger master. Also on hand will be Bill Evans and a truly All-Star backup band consisting of John Reischman (mandolin), Chad Manning (from the David Grisman Sextet, fiddle), Jim Nunally (from the David Grisman Bluegrass Experience, guitar) and Sharon Gilchrist (from Peter Rown & Tony Rice and Uncle Earl, bass).

Here's concert + banjo mini-camp info with links:

Thursday, November 12: Santa Cruz, CA, The Rio Theatre for the Performing Arts, 1205 Soquel Avenue, 7:30 p.m. show, 6:45 p.m. doors. Info at

Friday, November 13: Winters, CA, The Palms Playhouse, 13 Main Street, 8 p.m. show. Info at

Saturday, November 14: Palo Alto, CA, Redwood Bluegrass Associates, Etz Chaymin Hall, 4161 Alma Street, 8 p.m. Info at

Sunday, November 15: Berkeley, CA, Freight and Salvage Coffeehouse, Banjo Mini-Camp with Ryan Cavanaugh, Riley Baugus and Bill Evans, 2020 Addison Street, 1 to 4:30 p.m. Info at

Sunday, November 15: Berkeley, CA, Freight and Salvage Coffeehouse, 8 p.m. show, doors at 7 p.m. 2020 Addison Street. Info at

Here's what folks are saying about Ryan, Riley and Bill:

Ryan Cavanaugh is the most versatile banjo player in the world whose name isn’t Fleck…He can play anything, and he’s proven he’s crafty enough to impress John-Oh-My-God-McLaughlin.” No Depression

Riley Baugus embodies quintessential American old-time music. The instrumental component is impeccable, while Baugus’ vocals sound like they’ve been echoing through the Appalachian Mountains for about 150 years,” Billboard magazine.

Bill Evans has a world view shared by a precious few. It shows in the breadth of this own bluegrass playing and, especially, through his composing. Evans infuses his work with hints of jazz, classic and music of other realms, all fitting snuggly into his conception of the bluegrass sound.” –David Royko, The Chicago Tribune

This year’s annual northern California five-string banjo celebration features progressive banjo wizard Ryan Cavanaugh (from the Jeff Austin Band), old-time music master Riley Baugus and San Francisco Bay Area bluegrass favorite Bill Evans. Joining them is a veritable All-Star West Coast band featuring John Reischman (mandolin), Chad Manning (fiddle), Sharon Gilchrist (bass & mandolin) and Jim Nunally (guitar) for an evening of bluegrass, old-time, jazz and beyond, focusing on the many different ways music can be made on the five-string banjo.

Riley Baugus was born and raised near Winston-Salem, North Carolina and started playing banjo at the age of 10. He was inspired by the traditional Appalachian music that he heard in his family’s community in the Blue Ridge mountains and went on to learn his craft while still a youngster from such old-time greats as Tommy Jarrell, Dix Freeman and Robert Sykes. Riley has played with numerous old-time string bands, including The Red Hots and the Old Hollow Stringband and has recorded on his own for Rounder and Sugar Hill records. He sings on the soundtrack to the Academy Award winning film Cold Mountain and performs on the Grammy award winning Raising Sand by Alison Kruass and Robert Plant and Willie Nelson’s Country Music. Riley performs internationally, often with Dirk Powell and dancer Ira Bernstein.

Ryan Cavanaugh is leading the pack among young instrumentalists pushing the progressive boundaries of the five-string banjo. Currently touring with the Jeff Austin Band (Jeff performed with the Yonder Mt. String Band for 14 years), this North Carolina musician honed his jazz chops for over a decade as a member of saxophonist’s Bill Evans’ band Soulgrass. He’s won every major banjo contest in the world, including MerleFest and Rocky Grass, and he is now focusing on his own compositions, which he performs in both acoustic and jazz fusion contexts. Bringing an equaled sophistication in both harmonic and melodic approaches, you are simply not going to believe what you’re hearing when you experience this great player perform.

San Francisco Bay Area musician Bill Evans has spent a lifetime bringing together folks who love and play the five-string banjo. His books Bluegrass Banjo For Dummies and Banjo For Dummies are among the most popular instructional books in the world and his 2012 CD In Good Company topped both folk and bluegrass charts. In recent years, you’ll find him performing with his solo show The Banjo in America, with flatpicking legend Dan Crary and singer-songwriter in the trio Crary, Evans and Spurgin, with banjo great Alan Munde and legendary fiddler Fletcher Bright. Over the last fifteen years, he has performed on the Freight stage with David Bromberg, David Grisman, Peter Rowan, the Steep Canyon Rangers, J. D. Crowe, Kathy Kallick, Claire Lynch and Jody Stecher, among many others.

Homepage links:

Riley Baugus

Ryan Cavanaugh

Bill Evans

Video links:

Riley Baugus performing “Undone In Sorrow”

Ryan Cavanaugh performing “Dear Dragon” live on EMGtv (solo jazz fusion):

Ryan Cavanaugh performs “Angeline The Baker” at the Midwest Banjo Camp:

Bill Evans on A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor:

And a big thank you to EMG Pickups, the official tour sponsor, along with Deering BanjosStraight Up Strings and Homespun Tapes, our Banjo Mini-Camp sponsors. 

Media contact: Bill Evans, 510-520-7005,

Thanks folks! I hope to see you at one of these performances!


Bill Evans

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