Author Archives: Bob

About Bob

... is an award winning, Canadian finger-style guitarist and the 2003 U.S. National Fingerstyle Guitar Champion. He combines an eclectic mix of contemporary finger-style guitar and traditional roots music with a warm vocal style, tilted sense of humour and down to earth stage presence to provide a refreshing performance experience for music lovers in general. Definitely not just for "guitar geeks".

Bob Evans Newsletter – Vol. 1 No. 1

News From Bob

AKA "Not that Bob Evans"

Vol. 1 : No. 1 – January 12, 2011

A New Year, eh?

Whew! I just spent last week systematically breaking all the New Year’s resolutions I was silly enough to have made in that mad dash up to the end of 2010. I’m exhausted. Tough work, but it had to be done so I could move on to the new things that have to get done in 2011.

So what’s happening?

Upcoming Shows: LA here I come!

This week I’m headed down to play a couple of shows in the Los Angeles area and to take in the big NAMM music trade show.

This is my first time playing in the area, so if you know of anyone living in or near Long Beach, Altadena or Lancaster you think would be interested in coming out to any of these shows, please do pass this information along to them.

Click on the gigs below for full details.

Mon. Jan 17 – Altadena – Coffee Gallery – 8pm
Sat. Jan 15 – Lancaster – House Concert – contact me for details
Fri. Jan 14 – Long Beach – Portfolio Coffeehouse – 8pm

The “Living in the Past” Project

Yeah, I know. You’re thinking, "What’s he doing starting off the year with such a pessimistic sounding project?". I dunno. Just my nature, I guess. But work with me for a moment folks.

The Olden Days

Waaaay back in The Olden Days (ie. 1975) I recorded my eponymously titled first album. Musically, it ran the folk gamut: an Child ballad performed a capella, instrumental ragtime guitar pieces, a few traditional English folk songs, a couple of Americana tunes (although back then we just called that folk music), and a bluegrass instrumental to round it out. It was all served up solo on guitar, 5-string banjo and vocals.

Five hundred copies were promptly pressed in the 12″ vinyl format. Over the next few years ALL of those copies were SOLD!!! Or given away … or lost … or I guess if we’re going to be completely honest … some might even have been thrown out when we moved.

In The Olden Days, that would pretty much have been the end of the story. The album’s story would have run it’s course. One or two copies might still reside, forgotten and collecting dust, in the collections of only the most fastidious record enthusiasts. But for all practical purposes, the album would be long forgotten by now.

So Long Olden Days …

But that was then. This is now. In today’s Wonderful World of Google, it turns out nothing ever really gets forgotten. And thanks to services like EBay, all of those formerly forgotten things can actually be found and purchased.

I first noticed copies of the Blue Album, as people referred to it, surfacing for sale on EBay about six years ago. Since then I’ve seen it pop up a couple of more times.

Over the same period, I’ve received a number of inquiries (granted, probably countable on a near-sighted carpenter’s two hands) about whether I am going to re-release the album on CD.

The short answer is: I’m not.

The slightly longer short answer: I’m not, for a number of reasons. Not the least of which is the master tape is long gone.

However, it did get me to thinking it might be fun to revisit those tunes as a little side project. So, I’m not going to re-release the album as a CD. But I am going to re-record those songs over the next little while and make them available through my website to the insatiably curious.

Maple Leaf Rag

To start things off, here’s one of the ragtime guitar instrumentals I included on it: Scott Joplin’s Maple Leaf Rag. Now the keeners amongst you will say, "Wait a minute. That’s cheap. You recorded that on Dr. Bob’s Acoustic Tonic last year."

Well, yes and no. The version on DBAT was a vocal based version that included an obscure set of lyrics for the tune. However, it is true the instrumental portion of that recording was the same arrangement I played all those years ago on the Blue Album. Sue me.

So, for those of you who have always wondered what this piece might have looked and sounded like if I’d been forty pounds heavier in my youth, here’s a Youtube video of me playing it today … well a couple of days ago actually, but you get the idea.

Once again, for the guitaristically inclined, I’ve uploaded a transcription to my website for those who would like to have a go at it themselves.

Ok, that’s it for kicking off the Living in the Past project. Watch for more tunes in future newsletters. Thankfully, they won’t need to be as long winded as this one explaining the project.

Enjoy. That’s all for now.

Santa Claus is Coming to Town

Transcription available

Level: Int/Adv     Tuning: Standard


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Yikes! We’re already half way through December. I figure I better get this out before I slide right through the holiday season into the new year.

Lyrically, Santa Claus is Coming to Town has to be one of the creepiest tunes in the Christmas song catalogue. Sung to a beguilingly cheerful tune, the lyrics are an Orwellian view of Christmas, where Santa is a punitive Big Brother. He monitors everything you do and judges you accordingly. He knows all about you: when you’re happy, sad, good, bad, awake, asleep … everything! He is watching YOU.

Phew! Listen to this song a couple of times and it won’t be the anticipation of presents on Christmas morning that makes it difficult for you to get to sleep at night.

Fortunately, this is an instrumental version of the song. You don’t have to be worried about a seasonally induced dose of paranoia while listening to this arrangment.

Silent Night – Be vewy, vewy quiet

Transcription available

Level: Intermediate     Tuning: Standard


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If ever there was a Christmas carol that should be played on the guitar, it would be Silent Night. After all, according to numerous recountings of the songs humble origin, it was first performed at the Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve, 1818, with the musical accompaniment coming not from the church’s organ, per standard operating procedure, but from Fr. Mohr’s guitar. In the almost 200 years since its creation, it has become a central piece in the Christmas canon.

Stories abound about the reason the organ wasn’t functioning: mice had chewed the bellows, the organ had broken down and there was no organ technician who lived close by to repair it, and so on. But the role of the guitar in its composition and first performance remains consistent.


Gruber’s original autographed manuscript of the song with guitar accompaniment appears to the right.

This is my humble arrangement of the tune. You’ll find it is a relatively straightforward arrangement, although it does shift positions up and down the neck.

CAAS 2010 and Artisan Guitars Chet Atkins Tribute Show

The 2010 Chet Atkins Appreciation Society (CAAS) Convention has come and gone for another year. This was my tenth year to have had the good fortune to perform at it. Ten years? Yikes, where does the time go?

Kicking the week off on the night before CAAS began, Tuesday (July 6), Artisan Guitars held their annual Chet Atkins Tribute evening in Franklin, TN. Over the past five years this show has developed in to a pre-convention tradition. I was honoured to be asked once again to perform as part of that evening, sharing the stage with Muriel Anderson, John Knowles, Thom Bresh, Tommy Emmanuel, Sean Weaver, Andy Walberg and Earl Klugh. Whew! That’s an evening of pretty heady company.

There are so many great players every year at CAAS that you can’t possibly take them all in in one year. So every year I’m making “new” discoveries of players I’m hearing for the first time, even though they may have been there before. The highlights of the “new guys” for me year would include Adam Palma from Poland via Britain playing some terrific fingerstyle funk; the duo of Loren Barrigar and Mark Mazengarb played some stunningly great guitar duets; and Bobby Cochran who displayed a most tasteful and discrete use of a looper pedal to play some fine rockin’ guitar.

If you’re a lover of the guitar, be sure to put CAAS on your list of to-dos. Four days of great guitar music and company. It’s held each July in Nashville. Full details can be found at the Chet Atkins Appreciation Society website

At Last, My Name in Lights!!!

All performers dream of their name in lights. My turn has finally come.

True. It’s not outside Carnegie Hall. But it is on an 80′ billboard on a major US interstate highway – the I65 heading south out of Nashville, to be exact. And I’m so proud to say it’s not related to some exhaustive FBI manhunt. What more could I ask for?

This is a digital billboard advertising next week’s (July 6, 2010) Chet Atkins Tribute concert presented by Artisan Guitars in Franklin, TN. While this picture shows “Featuring – Bob Evans”, if you stand there for a few minutes you’d also see the following fellow featured artists mentioned: Sean Weaver, John Knowles, Muriel Anderson, Thom Bresh and Tommy Emmanuel. It’s going to be a great show.

If you’re in the area (Franklin, TN), come on down. Tickets for the show are available through Artisan Guitars .

And even if you can’t make it to the show, be sure to drop by Artisan Guitars next time you’re in Franklin, or visit them online. This is one of the best “little” acoustic guitar stores around

Be there or be square.