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Back Beat

Music News & notes from down in the Willamette valley.
Freddie Gibbs
Freddie Gibbs

Farewell John Evans. The former Oregon Bach Festival director (2006-2014) and head of music for the BBC’s classical network passed away from a heart attack March 20, reports Slipped Disc, a classical music site, and Eugene Art Talk, a site by local arts writer Bob Keefer. Evans was 62. Originally from the UK, Evans was a preeminent scholar of British composer Benjamin Britten. He compiled the 2009 book Journeying Boy: The Diaries of the Young Benjamin Britten 1928-1938

Evans legacy can still be seen and heard at Oregon Bach Fest, for which he recruited the organization’s current artistic director Matthew Halls. Tickets for the beloved festival (June 23-July 10) go on sale April 1 at oregonbachfestival.com. OBF features an extra-special guest ensemble this year: The Punch Brothers, a band that combines bluegrass and classical sensibilities, attracting audiences across the spectrums of age and taste. 

In other music news: Renowned rapper Freddie Gibbs hits the stage 8 pm Tuesday, April 2, at WOW Hall, joined by ILLFIGHTYOU, Chaz French and Cool Nutz for the “Shadow of a Doubt” tour, named after Gibbs’ 2015 release. Grantland describes Gibbs as “your classic hard-knock street MC,” which makes sense being from Gary, Indiana, a gritty city-turned-ghost-town near Chicago that has lost more than half of its population since its peak in the 1960s — it’s also the hometown of The Jackson Five.

In a 2015 interview with Vice’s Noisey, Gibbs was asked if he’d like to see “a future where the circumstances in the U.S. that create gangsta rap no longer exist?” Gibbs responded: “Ummm…nah [laughs]. What is the world without a Scarface movie? There has to be some kind of struggle to combat with. That’s the beauty of it. This country was built on corruption, the blood of other people, free labor. This shit ain’t never going to be correct. So as long as it’s incorrect we’re always going to have subject matter and something to talk about.”