He was a bonafied member of Motown during a time when that genre of music was at it's hottest. When songs like 'My Girl' and 'Just My Imagination' played on the radio every day. Those were the good old days and in the middle of it all, was Nate Evans. He now calls East Tennessee home and has a new venture here locally.
A mover and a shaker and quite a singer, he made his mark in Motown long ago in bands like The Impressions and The Temptations. He started working in music at age 14 in Gary, Indiana.
"I remember in 1958 Little Anthony and The Imperials had a song called, 'Tears On My Pillow' and Chuck Willis had a song called, 'C.C. Rider' and I was singing with them, you know singing along with the radio and I realize, I thought I sounded as good as they did," says Evans.
In fact, he grew up across the street from another famous family.
"I lived on Jackson Street directly across from the Jackson Five. I believe they lived at 2300 Jackson Street," says Evans. "I knew them very well. We pitched pennies on the sidwalk. Myself and Jermaine (Jackson) did it a lot."
That is not his claim to fame, though.
"I became a promoter. I promoted large shows at 19 and I had guys like Al Green and The Emotions and you know just big acts coming to Gary," says Evans. "I would put myself in the show as the opening act for whoever I brought in."
He started to gain local notariety and soon was asked to audition for The Impressions.
"Curtis Mayfield was leaving the group so they didn't have a lead singer, so somebody suggested I audition for The Impressions and I did and I became an Impressions and then things changed from that point on," says Evans.
They performed all over the world and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. For almost 20 years, that was Nate's life.
And then he took a break, but not for long.
"One night the original lead singer of The Temptations, Eddie Kendricks, called me," says Evans. "He said you want to join The Temptations? So, I started laughing. I said, 'What Temptations?' He said, 'Me, David Ruffin, Dennis Edwards and you'."
He, of course, said yes. "I stayed with them until David died from a drug overdose and Eddie died of cancer and I kept going," says Evans.
Now he still performs Temptations' hits at his own theatre in Sevierville.
"This theatre, we try to keep the Motown sound alive because radio has gone crazy with music you don't know what they're saying and when you do understand you don't want to know about it," says Evans.
And Nate hopes to have other bands come to visit. "The Manhattans, The Chi-Lites, The Dramantics, Billy Paul, Peaches and Herb, The Four Tops, The Marvelettes, everybody's coming here," says Evans. "David Cassidy, Michael McDonald, KC and the Sunshine Band, Frankie Avalon so we're going to have an array of talent coming to this theatre."
But Nate will be there every night Tuesday through Saturday.
"It takes them on a ride back into a time when they were younger and less reponsibility and more fun and you could ride back, the only way you can go back there is with music," says Evans.
And he loves every minute. "When you can do what you want to do and take care of your familly at the same time, make a living from it then you never work a day in your life. So, to me, I don't really work," says Evans.
Nate Evans, a key member of Motown now bringing a little taste of the beloved genre to East Tennessee.
One of Your Stories. There's no place like this one.
Nate also dabbled in acting. He was the bartender in the movie, Life, with Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence.