So before we get too deep into this, let’s acknowledge what some will accuse, and somewhat fairly, which is that this subject feels a little bit gossipy or tabloid in nature. And since this particular online music periodical has been pilfered with accusations of posting tabloid fodder when it comes to the Turnpike Troubadours in the past (fair or otherwise), this will be further fuel for those critics. Nonetheless, since there was some speculation and misinformation brewing around this issue, and other outlets have already posted about it, the cat was already out of the bag, and it was deemed important to address.
Some new photos of Turnpike Troubadours frontman Evan Felker were posted by a photographer named Calvin Shofner late Monday evening, May 10th, that were taken on the same day, meaning they’re not old photos as some have speculated. They were posted on Calvin Shofner’s Twitter and Instagram accounts. The photographer was at the Canada Ranch in Oak Island, TX, (across Trinity Bay from Houston) primarily to photograph the ranch, which is what Shofner does. But he knew ahead of time that Even Felker would be there as well.
The photographs were received very warmly by many Turnpike Troubadours fans as the first physical signs they’ve seen of Evan Felker in quite some time—since roughly May of 2019. We did see Evan in a video for his song “Whiskey In Your Water” that he released via The Next Waltz in late October of 2019 that was recorded previous to the indefinite hiatus of the Turnpike Troubadours, announced on May 31st, 2019. Bust aside from that, Evan Felker has been completely MIA from the public eye.
It is definitely great to see these photos of Evan, and though they’re just snapshots in time, he looks happy and healthy. It’s reassuring to know he’s standing on two feet, and probably doing something that he loves and that will keep him busy. They also happen to be really great photos of Felker in general, rendered extra compelling by the poetic nature of a country music songwriter ending up on a ranch somewhere to help get his head straight.
The worry from some was if the posting and sharing of the photos was an invasion of Evan Felker’s privacy. Sure, fans want to know that Evan is alright, but they shouldn’t want to do so in any way that may injure his efforts to get his mind and body where it needs to be. We discovered during the drama of canceled Turnpike Troubadours shows in 2018 and 2019 that privacy is something Evan Felker and the other band members cherish greatly.
But Saving Country Music has confirmed with photographer Calvin Shofner that the photos were taken and shared with Evan Felker’s permission. There should be absolutely no issues with Calvin Shofner posting them. Ideally, Shofner’s social media pages is probably where the photos should have remained to be discovered by fans. But as they got passed around, speculation and rumor began to brew, as is common within the Turnpike Troubadours crowd.
Similarly, others are speculating if this is some sort of publicity stunt. If so, we have yet to see the next shoe to fall, or what specifically Evan Felker is attempting to publicize. Releasing photos on a photographer’s Twitter page isn’t exactly selling your marriage photos to People Magazine. Maybe it was Evan Felker’s way of letting us all know he’s alright. Maybe he just happened to be on a ranch whose owner wanted some cool photos for his archives.
Calvin Shofner told Saving Country Music that he could not speak upon Evan Felker’s state of mind or future plans. But if a picture is worth 1,000 words, seeing Felker on horseback on a ranch is heartening and consoling for fans who’ve been worried about his whereabouts and state of mind for quite a while now with no word at all.
Evan Felker ranchin’ on the Canada Ranch down in Oak Island, Tx— Calvin Shofner (@calvin_shofner) May 12, 2020
📸: me pic.twitter.com/KGOzP55ez4