Lesotho RPCV Jason Wilder Evans' song, Come Home Soon, has attracted lots of attention on Neil Young's Web site
Evans spent almost two years in Lesotho, an enclave of South Africa that is slightly smaller than Maryland. "My job title was environmental engineer, but I was working as a beekeeper,” explained Evans. "I also was involved in HIV education and teaching secondary school students, ages 12 to 18 or 20.” Evans was in a remote area of Lesotho. "Many times I was the only Westerner within an hour's drive,” he said. "But my time there really flew by.”
It was in Africa that his penchant for writing and singing really developed. His song "My Given Love” was featured in the independent film, "Trust Fall.” Evans' sometimes dark lyrics are not always in the stereotypical country music vein, which he attributes in part due to the physical isolation of his Peace Corps experience. "During that time, my writing process was so introverted, the things that I saw and the life that I lived, not that different from Jack Kerouac or Ernest Hemingway,” he said. "I wrote from what I knew and looked inward for strength, ideas and turned them into somewhat autobiographical fiction.” Read more.
Paraguay RPCV Rich Hopkins leads the Luminarios, one of Tucson's biggest desert rock bands
"I started when I was in the Peace Corps in 1981 in Paraguay, South America. It was just something fun to do. Everyone played music down there. I had always wanted to play music, but it took me until I got out of college and had time. I always wanted to play music as a kid, but my parents didn't really encourage me to do that so it took me a long time to get around to doing what I really always dreamed of doing."
"I would love to basically get back to a point where I really could open for bands like Tom Petty and Neil Young because that's kind of where I see myself, and I think I'm really good enough and the band is good enough. But I think it's a combination of what length are you willing to go to to get there and try to 'make it again' and also the right timing. Life is a combination of work and timing." Read more.
Mauritania RPCV Shauna Wells performs lyrical, acoustic pop music with a folk bent and a contemporary style
Wells is a charismatic singer-songwriter whose infectious melodies and powerful vocals have launched a great breath of musical fire into the contemporary folk scene. Her first full-length release, Burn Up the Sun, (October 2002) brims with tales of old lovers and old cars, in addition to more serious material dealing with world events and her experience as a special education teacher. Although new to the music scene, Wells' life experiences make you feel as though she is a seasoned performer. A former Peace Corps Volunteer, she began taking her songwriting seriously while living in Mauritania, West Africa. Read more.