Most of today’s country music entertainers can trace their love of the genre back ten years, or, perhaps, a generation. After all, the majority of today’s country music stars were introduced to the music by such late 80s, early 90s artists as Reba McEntire, George Strait, Garth Brooks, Vince Gill, Alan Jackson, Patty Loveless and Trisha Yearwood.
That’s not the case with Evan Webster, whose Irish ancestry--and country roots--go back to the late 1600s! There has always been a connection between Ireland and country music. And, to this day, touring country artists enjoy a huge following among the Irish people.
Born in Anguilla, British West Indies, to a father of Irish heritage, and a mother of African descent, Evan Webster’s fondest memories were listening to the music of George Jones, Conway Twitty, Charley Pride and the other country music legends who laid the foundation for country music’s major breakthrough in the 1990s.
“I’ve always had a ‘connection’ with country, gospel and folk music as they were the earliest forms of music on our Island. Among the first settlers to Anguilla were seamen from an Irish ship which sank near Island Harbour in 1698,” commented Evan.
Also, Evan could tune in to WSM’s Grand Ol Opry on Friday and Saturday night, or catch up on the latest musical trends by striking up a conversation with American tourists who visited the small Caribbean island from nearby Puerto Rico, St. Thomas and St. Maarten.
Evan put his music aspirations on the backburner while he earned degrees in Accounting and in Banking & Finance and met and settled down with his wife, Avon, to raise his two sons, Carland and Vince, (who is named after another one of Evan’s favorite artists, Vince Gill).
But ever since Evan was twelve years old, music—particularly gospel and country music—have occupied his thoughts. He was known to sing at every opportunity, whether it was a church event, social function, family gathering, or an occasional gig at one of the hotels or restaurants on the Island.
One of seven children (two sisters and two brothers who still live on the Island, plus another brother who lives in St. Maarten and an older brother who lives in the USA), Evan was attracted to country and gospel music because of the message: often stories that spoke of common life experiences or contained spiritual or positive values.
Evan visited Nashville—once in 1993, and, again, in 1994—to attend a NSAI seminar and to record an independent CD. The release sold over 2,000 copies, which is remarkable since Anguilla has only 15,000 residents!
“The NSAI seminar was a great learning experience for me. It helped me formulate ideas, made me think about the importance of the story, and also provided me with a lot of networking opportunities. Plus, I had the chance to meet another one of my idols, the late Harlan Howard,” commented Evan.
Another visit to Nashville resulted in the recording of his new CD, “No Man Is An Island”, and features some of Nashville’s top session players and background vocalists. “They are so good at what they do and they learn the songs so fast, you would think they wrote all the songs themselves,” observed Evan, adding that his latest recording experience was ‘a dream come true’. The album has been played as far as the European Country Charts.
Subsequently, the song, “To Be Your Man”, from the recent CD (“No Man Is An Island”), was released on a compilation CD with Higgins Music Group out of Nashville, and that song has been played on over 2,000 radio stations across the USA.
In 2007, Evan produced his latest album of Gospel Favourites, titled, “My Favourite Songs”. The album was recorded at his own recording studio, Elite Sound Studios, in Anguilla and manufactured by Disc Makers, New Jersey.
In 2013, Evan attended the funeral of his musical hero, George Jones, who he met in person in 2007 at one of his concerts in Florida.