CROWE, JAMES DEE “J.D.” (1937-)

While still in high school, banjo legend J.D. Crowe served a summer apprenticeship with Jimmy Martin at WPFB in Middletown. After J.D. graduated, he went with Jimmy full time for five years and was part of one of the tightest bluegrass bands ever. His banjo style is crisp, clear, and intricate. After leaving Jimmy, he played for several years in the Red Slipper Lounge at the Holiday Inn in Lexington, Kentucky, a pretty upscale location for bluegrass at the time. His bands, the Kentucky Mountain Boys and the New South, have been a training ground for the bluegrass elite, musicians such as Doyle Lawson, Red Allen, Tony and Larry Rice, Ricky Skaggs, Keith Whitley, Jerry Douglas, Jimmy Gaudreau, Bobby Slone, and Dwight McCall. He was the IBMA Banjo Player of the Year in 1994 and 2004. His first Rounder album, The New South, is one of the most influential bluegrass albums of all time. He was part of the all-star Bluegrass Album Band and was elected to the IBMA Bluegrass Hall of Fame in 2003 and the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame in 2004. He was the subject of a biography, Crowe On the Banjo, written by Marty Godbey and published by the University Of Illinois Press in 2011.

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