Cultivating Creativity: Spencer Evans, the “I’ve Been Everywhere Man Troubadour”

By Jeanette Arsenault

Will the real Spencer Evans please stand up? Judging from his wide ranging musical skills, it’s hard to pinpoint him down to just one.

Self described keyboardist/clarinetist/accordion player/singer/band leader/entertainer/music director/recording artist/composer/arranger/ham (sic), Evans’ eclectic musical taste ranges from jazz to funk, salsa to blues, soul to klezmer and celtic to swing.  In his own words “I love to get people laughing and dancing, creating a fun space where everyone can feel uninhibited.”

You may have heard him in Kingston where he continues to play on the Kingston Thousand Island Cruises; or when he toured with John Prine across Canada, USA and Europe; or on Much Music or Jay Leno’s Tonight show when he was featured playing the clarinet.

He performed with Charles Neville (yes of THE Neville brothers) and many of the jazz greats when he lived in New Orleans for a while.  But one of his best memories is playing from 8PM to 4AM in the local Bywater bar with “music just flowing out of my body.”

In 1994, he moved back to Kingston and was part of the Kingston Summer Theatre Festival, he led the band and worked as assistant MD for Rocky Horror directed by Peter Hinton.

Then it was off to Saskatoon to play accordion/piano for “Sir John, Eh?”.  Not one to sit still he went to Bosnia and Alert, Nunavut to entertain our military troops.

Back to Kingston where Sarah Harmer invited him to record on her Polaris-nominated/gold record “Escarpment Blues” and he ended up playing with Bruce Cockburn and  Feist just recently in Burlington for the “I Love the Escarpment, too” concert.

He has recorded and performed with Willie P Bennett, Luther Wright and the Wrongs, The Good Lovelies, Jill Barber, Arrogant Worms, Tragically Hip just to name a few Canadian iconic musical acts.

Plus he performed with Jeff Healey, Maria Muldaur and was on Stuart Maclean’s Vinyl Cafe.

He recorded live in the Glenn Gould Studio for CBC’s “GO!”; he composed/performed and was music director for Theatre 5 in Kingston; was pianist for the Kingston Symphony orchestra and continues to play in many ensembles from 10-piece Salsa bands to his Spencer Evans Trio and as well as for dances, weddings, corporate events, parties, fundraisers and festivals in Ontario, Quebec and the USA.

His Tribute bands salute Disco/Funk/Space Jams, Ray Charles, Fats Domino & Jerry Lee Lewis.

Stay tuned for his upcoming debut album “Long Second Line” recorded at the Bathouse and featuring many local players and friends.

Find him on YouTube  playing accordion on a Sarah Harmer song.

Find him on Facebook and go out to support live music because #livemusicmatters.