Welcome to the home page of the Banjo Builder Project! My name is Craig (frailin) Evans.
In March of 2011 I had the crazy notion to drive around North America and interview today's leading open-back Banjo Builders. Fortunately, I'm married to an open-minded artist (a wonderful woman) and she also thought it a worthy project.
My goal was to capture the Builder's stories in their environment. Specifically, I wanted to find out:
* Why they decided to build banjos.
* What are their inspirations... and goals?
I also picked up on their views on life, the music community and much, much more. They even take me on tours of their shops and give tips on building. This is incredibly entertaining fodder for most anyone into banjos... or art!
But the Banjo Builders stories are so much more!
Ostensibly, these Programs are to be about banjos... and they are. But hidden between the words, the sawdust and the humor is the "creative spirit." These people are clearly following their gifting.
Most will tell you, banjo building is a tough trade to make a living, but all will tell you the banjo has contributed immeasurably to their lives. For the majority, it was (and continues to be) well worth it.
Some stories are intensely inspiring (i.e. Bill Rickard).
Some are about amazing lifestyles (Greg Galbreath, Doc (Patrick) Huff).
Some work in homage to the culture and history surrounding this amazing instrument (Pete Ross and George Wunderlich).
And some view the banjo as a contemporary medium and palate for creative exploration (Jeff Menzies, Jason and Pharis Romero).
I've mentioned the stories of only 7 of 25 Builders. Each is unique. Each is fascinating. All are happy and upbeat. There are hours of fun, interesting viewing here.
And all these Builders reverently recognize how their humble contribution to the world does indeed make it a better, happier place. Knowing this made my great adventure MOST worthwhile.
I hope you enjoy experiencing the Banjo Builders as much as I enjoyed meeting this incredible group of "new, old friends."
And now there's Volume 3 - "Conversations with Banjo Historians!" At first I was just interested in recording the stories of those individuals that have actually added significantly to our understanding of this mysterious instrument. But as I looked around, I found more and more people living their OWN stories (today) that WILL be history TOMORROW. So I included them, too. :)
This is a GREAT DVD for those wanting to learn more about the history of the banjo. Enjoy!
Notice the listing of Builders on the right-hand side of this page. These are PPV Programs. Shows can be viewed individually for 7 days for $4.00 each.
*For a short PREVIEW of each Builder's Show in Volume 1, go here. The page opens up in new window.*
Volume 1 DVDs - "Banjo Builders East of the Mississippi" (14 Builders plus 2 "extras") can be purchased here.
Volume 2 DVDs - "Banjo Builders West of the Mississippi" (11 Builders plus 2 "extras") can be purchased here.
Volume 3 DVDs - "Conversations with Banjo Historians" (12 Historians or Collectors plus 7 "extras") can be purchased here.
Volume 4 DVDs - "More North American Banjo Builders" (12 Builders plus 2 "extras") can be purchased here.
A portion of each sale goes back to Banjo Hangout... the forum that makes our amazing, global banjo community possible. Thank you for your support!
You must log into your myHangout account to access any purchased videos.
'Black Mountain Rag' 13 min
'Jerusalem Ridge' 19 min
'Quick advice needed!' 20 min
'Hoffee Case' 28 min
'Gibson banjo. Is this.....' 36 min