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Life In the Carolina's Podcast

Apr 15, 2020

On this episode of the Life in the Carolinas podcast, Carl sits down with Andy Eversole, banjoist, global citizen, and creator of Banjo Earth.

Banjo Earth is a “world music project” that involves Andy traveling to different countries to find and collaborate with local folk musicians, ultimately producing albums and documentaries on each of these different cultures through the lens of music. “It’s sort of like Anthony Bourdain with a banjo,” says Andy.

Andy’s love of travel began when he studied in China for a short period in 2015 while in college. He took this newfound passion and merged it with his talent for music. “I just started walking around Beijing with a banjo, first of all, looking for music, going to music stores, going to venues, and asking them about musicians.”

Andy divides his albums into three sections: 1) folk songs unique to the country, 2) American bluegrass songs flavored with the music from the country in question, and 3) original songs written by Andy himself, inspired by his travels in that particular country.

The cultural exchange that Andy undergoes while traveling is always a “disarming” experience for him. He reflects on one such experience in India wherein he and a friend were unable to reach their local contact. While playing his banjo in a park to pass the time, a family, who had begun to observe Andy, decided to invite him and his friend over to their home and prepared a meal for them. They also happened to be a musical family, which naturally led to a jam session that lasted the rest of the evening.

Now unable to travel due to the worldwide COVID-19 situation, Andy composed a love song, Quarantined with You, which is based on reflections and conversations with his friends and family—who he is separated from, and they from each other. It’s a song that is very in line with Andy’s worldview that while we will face many situations that we can’t control, we do have control over how we react to it.

Today, Andy takes inspiration from videos that have recently been posted online from Italy, of various individuals playing music and singing songs from their balconies, bringing their communities together in spite of social distancing. “It just shows how music can bring people together,” says Andy. “I try to find [dire situations] like this and turn them into love songs if I can,” says Andy, “because, whatever’s going on, there’s always love happening, still.”