Banjo player J.D. Crowe was one of the most influential bluegrass musicians of the second half of the 20th century. In the 1960s and 1970s, he developed a distinctive instrumental style that combined influences from country, bluegrass, rock, and blues.
Crowe was born in Lexington, Kentucky, in 1937. He started playing banjo in 1950 when he was 13 years old. In the mid-1950s, he was asked to join Jimmy Martin’s Sunny Mountain Boys, a popular bluegrass group. In the 1960s, he formed his own band, the Kentucky Mountain Boys. After that group broke up, he formed J.D. Crowe and the New South, which was one of the most innovative bluegrass groups of the 1970s. They played an eclectic style of bluegrass that included electric instruments. Crowe would continue to be one of bluegrass music’s leading artists through the 1980s.
Although Crowe official retired from touring in 1988, in recent years, he has returned to performing as part of the Masters of Bluegrass with fellow bluegrass legends Bobby Hicks, Del McCoury, Jerry McCoury, and Bobby Osborne.