Evie Andrus has spent most of her adult life adding tasty licks to other people’s projects, adding just the right ingredient to make a piece of music sound its best. With the release of her first album under her own name, “Evie’s Great Adventure,” the fiddler/vocalist ready to deliver the main course.
The new album is flat-out feel-good music delivered with the same heart and soul that’s made Evie a popular performed all across the Southeast.
Maybe you caught her bands Barefoot Sanctuary or Buffalo Fiasco, or heard her backing up renowned cellist Dave Eggar, irreverent singer-songwriter Roger Alan Wade, or performing at the Big Ears Festival with improvisational great Lonnie Holley, or maybe you spotted her backing up Foreigner on a short tour. There’s also the possibility that you heard her music on the HBO series “The Outsider” or saw her appearance on “American Ninja Warrior.”
Born in Fargo, N.D. and raised in Minot, N.D., Evie began playing fiddle at six years old in her father’s band Crossroads, but she was already a stage veteran. She first performed on stage at the age of 3, blowing a train whistle, on one of her father’s songs.
When Evie was in the 4th grade, her father started a family band called Family Ties, which included her father on banjo and her brother Joe on bass. Mom ran sound for the group.
“Our thing was to wear funny ties,” says Evie. “My favorite was a rubber Swiss cheese tie … In the summer, we were out and about. We played a lot around North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and Canada, Good Sam conventions and re-enactments, fur trade re-enactments.”
Who even knew there were “fur trade” re-enactments?
All through high school, Evie performed in bluegrass bands and her high school orchestra, but she didn’t have a lot in common with her classmates.
“I grew up in a very bluegrass-centric family,” she says. “Plus, we had no TV. My entertainment was listening to (vintage radio shows) ‘Sherlock Holmes,’ ‘Dragnet’ and ‘Inner Sanctum.’”
Evie later attended North Dakota State University, majoring in athletic training, and playing in a group called Ironwood and, later, Sisters of the North on the side. It was an encounter with East Tennessee bluegrass act Blue Moon Rising that made Evie decide to move to East Tennessee. She moved to Johnson City, Tenn., and landed a scholarship in the East Tennessee State University bluegrass program.
“My first fiddle teacher there was (former Bluegrass Boys’ fiddler) Tater Tate,” says Evie. “I couldn’t believe I was getting a scholarship to take lessons from Tater Tate!”
While in Johnson City she worked at the Acoustic Coffee House, working as a server and making music. She was a regular at late-night jam sessions and later became a favorite player to accompany singer-songwriters.
“It was a different approach to music than what I had done before,” says Evie. “It was kind of freeing in a way.”
After a graduation, Evie returned to North Dakota for few years before taking a music job in with the Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Show in Pigeon Forge, Tenn.
After a year and a half of dinner shows, Evie leaned into teaching and playing with a variety of bands and musicians and then founded Barefoot Sanctuary, which later became Buffalo Fiasco. A gig with Lonnie Holley at the Big Ears Festival led to Evie getting a call from HBO to be part of the limited series “The Outsider.”
“The scene at the festival with the fiddle tunes, that’s me!” says Evie. “I’m blurry in the background, but it was really awesome.”
As a side person, Evie says she’s always known where she fits.
“I call myself a Jell-O player,” says Evie. “There’s always room for Jell-O. It fills in all the cracks.”
With the release of “Evie’s Great Adventure,” though, she knows where she fits as well.
“I’m really excited to get my true musical voice out more,” says Evie. “In an odd way, it took the pandemic to make me take time to find my voice. Now I want to share my love of music and adventure. It’s not earth shattering. It’s something people can put on and just have a great afternoon.”
Her passions beyond music include hiking, kayaking, biking and spending time with her nieces and nephews. She lives in Knoxville, TN and loves to be in the mountains as much as she can. Born and raised in North Dakota Andrus moved to East TN to attend East Tennessee State University and participate in the Bluegrass, Old Time and Country Music Program.