Evans family enjoys playing music together

Tanner and Kristen Evans are a brother-sister team of fiddle players. By Jim Jarrett

The Evans family fiddles around in their spare time.

For more than a decade, Brian Evans, his son, Tanner, 20, and daughter, Kristen, 17, have played music together. Jane, the mom, is the group’s booking agent.

“We kind of started when (Tanner) was 10,” said Brian. “I think it’s gotten better over the years. I know they have. I don’t know about me.”

One year, the group opened for Country and Western Hall of Fame singer Ray Price in Turkey. Tanner and Kristen play primarily fiddle, while Brian works the guitar.

“They are both pretty good,” said Brian. “I don’t know how they put up with me.”

The family works many charity events, said Jane. They’ve appeared at the Lions Club Pancake Supper, the American Cancer Society Relay for Life and often go to area nursing homes.

Tanner also recently appeared on a PBS fundraiser and teaches fiddle and guitar lessons.

How did this band get started?

Kristen: “I started doing it (playing the fiddle) in kindergarten. I’ve been doing it ever since.”

Brian: “Tanner started taking lessons. His grandfather (Ray Sanderson) was kind of a fiddle collector. He knew an old man who taught fiddle lessons and asked Tanner if he wanted to take fiddle lessons. He was one of those kids who would do anything. The first lesson he learned a song and he’s just kind of taken it from there. … Kristen was the same way. She started the same time he did. She was 5. When Tanner was 10 and Kristen was 7, they opened for Ray Price in Turkey and got to meet him.”

Tanner:  “My dad decided he needed to play guitar so he could back me up at some of the places I was playing at.  My sister started after that, too. (Kristen’s) good. She enjoys it.”

Tanner Evans
Age: 20
College: Lubbock Christian University pre-med major, sophomore.
Hobbies: Piloting planes.
Favorite food: Steak.
Favorite type of music: Country, but likes everything.

Kristen Evans
Age: 17.
High school: Junior at Frenship High School.
Hobbies: Listens to music.
Work: Roly Poly Sandwiches.
Church: Monterey Church of Christ.

Brian Evans
Age: 45.
Occupation: Farmers Insurance property adjuster.
Hobbies: Golf and hunting.
Favorite food: Steak.
Favorite music: Country.

How does dad fit in?

Kristen: “When Tanner and I started playing places, we needed someone to back us up, so he started playing the guitar.”

Brian: “When he used to go into classrooms and stuff, he just needed someone to back him up with guitar. I thought I needed to learn rhythm guitar and make a little noise behind him, so I did that. That’s what I do now.”

What sort of music do you play?

Kristen: “Mostly country and western. We do old stuff.”

Tanner: “I play pretty much everything. When all three of us play, we do a lot more of the old country stuff.”

Brian: “Tanner branches out a lot more. He recorded ‘Brown-Eyed Girl’ for his girlfriend for her birthday. He played guitar, drums, vocals.”

What instruments do you play? Who handles the vocals?

Kristen: “I play the fiddle. I can play the mandolin a little bit. I also play some guitar and sing.”

Tanner: “Kristen and I sing. I play fiddle and some guitar. Dad plays rhythm guitar.”

Brian: “I don’t sing at all. It’s all Tanner and Kristen. I just carry the stuff.”

What’s your favorite song?

Kristen: “‘Cowboy’s Sweetheart.’”

Tanner: “I like all the old Bob Wills stuff. There’s some good fiddle stuff.”

Brian: “I like them all. I just enjoy playing with the kids.”

Tell me about some of the venues you’ve played?

Kristen: “We opened for Ray Price.  We played at the Cactus (Theatre). Tanner’s played there (several times). We played 4th on Broadway and sang there. We played at jamborees in the area.”

Brian: “A bunch of them.”

Do you have a favorite place you like to go?

Kristen: “I like going to the nursing homes. They really enjoy what we play because that’s what they grew up listening to.”

Tanner: “I enjoy playing for anybody — just anyone who will listen. Some of the neat opportunities I’ve had was playing with the Maines Brothers and opening for Ray Price. That was a neat deal.”

Do you remember the first time you performed? What was that like?

Kristen: “It was at Cagle’s Steakhouse. It was kind of scary and the same time fun. People were listening, and they enjoyed it.”

Tanner: “I had one fiddle lesson. I had learned one song. My fiddle teacher was at Cagle’s Steaks. We went out there to watch him play on a Saturday night. He asked me to come on stage. … You know I’ve always enjoyed performing. A lot of people say they get nervous, but I never really worried about it. I enjoy playing the music.”

Brian: “It was at North Ridge Elementary. It was in a classroom. I was nervous. Tanner wasn’t.”

How long do you keep the band together?

Kristen: “I’ll still play for fun. … When we get together, we usually play.”

Tanner: “As long as possible. That’s something we’ve done for a long time. It’s something we enjoy doing. We’ll still do quite a bit of that. I hope it lasts a long time.”

Brian: “I’ll play with them as long as they need me. Tanner is a pre-med student at Lubbock Christian. … We’ll just row with the flow and keep playing as long as we can.”

Where do you see yourself a few years from now?

Kristen: “I want to go college. I’m not sure what I want to do yet, but I’ll probably still play.”

Tanner: “I will probably always play music.  I’m going to LCU right now, a pre-med major.”

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