In 2012 Gruff Rhys embarked on a solo ‘investigative concert tour’ through the heart of America following the route taken by his distant relative John Evans. Every night he presented songs augmented by a power point presentation that detailed his relative’s unbelievable history, along with any new piece of information that had come his way during the day. He was ultimately looking for Evans’s lost unmarked grave.
Along with many major cities the tour took him to play shows at the Mandan and Omaha tribe reservations, a Missouri vineyard, villages that no longer exist that lay at the bottom the Mississippi river and a New Orleans bordello. Along the way he photographed and filmed a 1 meter high felt avatar of John Evans in order to share his unusual story. Now that the investigative concert tour is over, Rhys is ready to bring his musical power point presentation to the masses! This he plans to do in the form of a tour and a ground breaking multi platform project, ‘American Interior’, which follows the cult Welsh musician’s adventure through America as he unearths a bizarre – yet- true family myth.
Rhys retraces the story of his 18th century relative, the impoverished farm hand John Evans; a significant but forgotten character in American history who left Wales in 1792 in an attempt to discover a lost tribe of Welsh Speaking Native Americans believed to be roaming the great plains. In doing so he embarked on a series of incredible adventures, lived with a multitude of tribes, swam with Alligators, defected to the Spanish, changing his name to Don Juan Evans, surviving imprisonment, attempted murder and disease only to die in New Orleans at the age of 29, but not before leaving behind him a trail of chaos that changed the history of North America forever.