Behind The Mic is a new feature which we hope will be a weekly column highlighting the many bluegrass broadcasters who report their spins for our Bluegrass Today Weekly Airplay Chart. We want to give them a little bump for helping us create the chart, and believe that our readers will enjoy getting to know a little bit about the people Behind The Mic.
It’s no secret that many bluegrassers wear multiple hats. In addition to playing music, many also write songs, manage recording studios, teach, or find themselves working in a variety of other music-related jobs. Florida’s Ernie Evans is one of those grassers. In addition to his role as guitarist and lead vocalist for Ernie Evans and the Florida State Bluegrass Band, Evans and his wife Debi run Evans Media Source, a full-service music production company, and co-host a weekly radio show, The Sunday Afternoon Breakdown, on WFCF in St. Augustine, FL.
Evans has been a radio broadcaster for over eight years. He had been a musician and involved in bluegrass music associations for quite some time, and was asked by a program director to consider taking over hosting duties for a show that had been running for fifteen years. He says, “It didn’t take long to decide once I convinced my wife I wasn’t crazy, and that she should co-host the show with me. We immediately began classes at Flagler College. From there we jumped in with both feet.”
Evans’ musical background includes time working both in bluegrass (with Vassar Clements and Valerie Smith and Liberty Pike) and outside the genre (with the legendary Motown group The Platters). He says that he and Debi are very grateful to everyone who has helped them and worked with them in their musical lives. “Each experience has made us who we are and our existence would not be possible without them,” he says.
He took the time to answer a few questions for us, giving us a closer look at his thoughts on bluegrass music.
How would you define bluegrass music as a genre?
“In addition to being an important part of our American heritage, in my honest opinion, bluegrass is a therapeutic language enjoyed communally by the listener as well as the player. The magic of bluegrass is contagious and addicting with no cure. To me, a bad day of bluegrass is just as good as a good day of golfing.”
What form of bluegrass do you most enjoy?
“I like it all when it’s done well.”
If you could only listen to one album for the rest of your life, which one would it be? Why?
“The Osborne Brothers Greatest Hits. It is one of the albums that changed my life. I went through some challenging times as a teenager wanting to escape life and I found myself sitting alone listening to Sonny and Bobby create magic. I actually had the opportunity to share that story with Sonny about six years ago. It was a good feeling to finally tell him what their music had done for me 30 years later.”
What album or artist is currently playing in your car stereo?
Artists interested in having their music played on Evans’ radio show should send a physical copy of their albums to:
6143 Sabre Drive
Jacksonville, FL 32244
For more information on Ernie and Debi Evans, visit their website at www.floridastatebluegrassband.com.
If you host a bluegrass radio show and would like to participate in our chart as a weekly reporter, please fill out this form and we’ll get right back to you.