Texas-born musician John Evans’ new album Polyester has the mission of telling the journey he’s led ever since he first began writing songs. His decorated career has earned him a variety of different awards and accolades, including eight straight years of Houston Press awards, starting with six-time Best Male Vocalist, four-time Best Songwriter, two-time Musician of the Year and Best Roots Rock Band.
Although he has released seven albums prior to Polyester, this album is a bit more special. It is his daughter Abigail Evans that has been his inspiration, and the spirit and driving force behind his new record.
Prior to his career in music, Evans was setting passing records as a quarterback at Lamar University in the late 1980s. After the university’s football program shut down in 1989, he began writing country songs. This revelation was a byproduct of his exposure to rock-and-roll music growing up and his attraction to Texas music. “I think it began with my love of roots music,” says Evans. “I grew up with music from the '50s through the '80s.”
Evans is also an award-winning producer. His production characteristics are very diverse, ranging from blues-based rock 'n' roll to country music. Americana, though, is the term mostly used to describe his southern, multi-genre production approach. “Songwriting has been a creative outlet for me and production has been a natural progression for my creativity,” says Evans.
During Polyester’s development, Evans took an approach different from that of previous albums in terms of the recording process. “I chose to let go of some of the responsibility on this recording,” Evans adds. “I wanted the players to be able to play parts on this record that no one else would let them play on other records.”
This injection of studio musicians from Austin makes the album unique. Yet, Evans claims that he incorporates this style in order to satisfy his own creativity and not for attention or fame.
When asked whether he has a favorite single from Polyester, Evans replied, “Every song on this record has its own personality. I love all of them, but, I believe 'Dust Bowl' is a standout.”
“Dust Bowl” certainly is marked by musical diversity, but the entire album is unquestionably inspired and influenced by Evans’ late daughter, Abigail. She was with John as he wrote and produced Polyester and had a large influence on the songs that were actually selected to be on the album. “Abigail was a big part of this record. She was around for the whole recording process and helped me choose the songs,” says Evans.
Abigail tragically died of a rare skin disease in 2013. Her death humbled Evans and inspired him to have a positive outlook on life and remember to never take anything for granted. “She's taught me to appreciate the highs and lows in life,” says Evans. “Our time here is not to be taken for granted; love conquers all.”
There will be a release party for Polyester, Evans’ first record in six years, located at The Raven Tower. The party is guaranteed to echo with the sounds of Americana and the enduring warmth of Abigail’s spirit.
May 14 at 7 p.m. $15. Raven Tower, 310 North St. 832-925-7585. raventower.net