Evan Bliss: Music and Kindness
Written by Hannah
On August 17th a musician named Evan Bliss collapsed and died at his home in Bethesda, USA due to a pulmonary embolism, aged 35. He was totally healthy, but died to long-distance air travel (we’ll get to that), and a blood clot became lodged in an artery of one of his lungs.
We picked up on his obituary in The Washington Post because of his amazing story, and also because he went to the same college as Jimmy in Ohio..
Evan Bliss had both a solo career and also sang with a group called Evan and the Welchers. Here is their complete album on Youtube:
Check out “I’m Fine With it”, a track starting at 05.32. These poignant lyrics were read out at his funeral:
“I want to run through the forest and lay in the shade till the sun goes down,
And if that’s all there is, and there’s nothing else, I’m fine with it,
And I don’t need to know what’s next because I’m here now and I’m fine with it”
Evan Bliss’ voice was a “bright soaring tenor that could caress a song and keep ringing in your ear”, and he performed at local clubs and venues as far as Nashville and New York. Bliss’ fan base grew while he developed “a distinctive, eclectic sound that blended pop, indie rock, world music and coffeehouse soul”, he wrote more than 100 songs, and many people pored over the lyrics “searching for solace”. He said in an interview that he had a there was a “very intelligent listening community out there, and you always have to treat them with respect”.
A female fan wrote to his wife Mary after his death, describing meeting Evan after one of his shows. She mentioned that he didn’t perform her favourite song “Tell Her Goodbye”. He stopped packing his equipment, and sang the song just for her from the back of his car just on guitar. This one-to-one human kindness and genuine interest in his fans that made him most memorable to those who came across him.
This isn’t the same song but this is my favourite of his, amazing:
If I’d have been her, I would have asked for that as a private rendition.
Earlier in that month he had been travelling throughout Kenya while working on an international HIV research program, only to fly home and work at the Henry M. Jackson Foundation in Washington, an non-profit organisation that promotes worldwide military medical research. He met his wife, Mary Graham, a Foreign Service officer with the U.S. Agency for International Development in 2010, they married a year later and moved to Nicaragua where she worked for USAID and Evan worked for the Jackson Foundation, eventually becoming the data manager. While in DC he also volunteered to teach music to homeless women at a D.C shelter.