Editor's Note: Nashville-based and originally hailing from Tobias, Nebraska, Evan Bartels answers some questions for us ahead of his show tonight at Pour Bros. in Downtown Champaign for their one year anniversary.
Smile Politely: We’re excited to have you in Champaign — have you visited or performed here before?
Evan Bartels: Yeah, I got to come and play this last fall for the first time.
SP: What do you most want to tell readers about what to expect at your performance?
Bartels: Definitely some songs that you’ve heard before in a new way, along with my originals and some of the stories that go with them.
SP: Are you a craft-beer fan? What beer do you know you’ll be sipping during the performance?
Bartels: I am a craft beer fan, I don’t drink alcohol but I support anything that supports local communities. I love to work with my hands and the craft beer movement is right in line with that.
SP: 2019 has been a big year for you. How have you been managing a full tour schedule, and your Promised Land EP release this past April?
Bartels: Mostly by enjoying things and living in the moment. It’s easy to get caught up in all the plans for the future but taking things day to day makes everything much more worth while.
SP: Known for your “old soul voice”, how have your values shaped your authentic and “story-telling” style?
Bartels: I just quit trying to be anyone else. I know that I like to tell stories through music and while I have strong influences from some of my favorite artists, I’m not interested in trying to do the exact same things.
SP: You’re a solo artist but also have a band The Stone Lonesomes. Can you share some differences creating solo music versus collaboration?
Bartels: I named my band The Stoney Lonesomes because I use the same guys for everything from touring to studio, I thought it’d be good to give them an identity and I think it’s more fun than “Evan Bartels Band”. I like to keep things dynamic so when I play with the band we’re able to add all sorts of depth within the songs.
SP: How does music help you understand the world?
Bartels: It does and it doesn’t. The biggest thing I know between the two is they’re both full of infinite possibilities.
SP: What inspired “Run Like the Devil”?
Bartels: I have a buddy that has a '69 Chevelle, always thought it’d be cool to do a car chase in that thing so this would be the soundtrack to that movie.
SP: What’s next for you?
Bartels: I’d like to do some fishing. I've got a whole bunch of new songs that I’m fixing to record as well.
SP: Feel free to share or expound on anything you didn’t get the chance to share.
Bartels: Looking forward to coming back to Champaign, one of my favorite parts of doing this for a living is meeting good people. In my experience, Illinois has its fair share, so I reckon it’ll be a fine time.
Evan Bartels is performing tonight at Pour Bros Craft Taproom's Artist Alley starting at 8:30 p.m. The show is free and open to the public.
Photo by Ron Orman