Banjo virtuoso and bluegrass innovator JD Crowe dies at 84


The formation of the New South, however, marked the real turning point in his career, attracting musicians of wide sensitivity who regularly crossed the ranks of the group before moving on to other projects. Among the most notable of these was singer Keith Whitley, who arrived in the late 1970s who, like Mr. Skaggs, would achieve considerable success in mainstream country music.

Mr. Crowe began to slow down professionally in the 1980s, limiting himself to reunion concerts and selected recording projects like the six-album series he performed with the Bluegrass Album Band, a bluegrass supergroup that ‘he founded with Mr. Rice.

Mr. Crowe won a Grammy in 1983 for best country instrumental performance for his recording “Fireball”. He was inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Association Hall of Fame in 2003. Kentucky Educational Television aired the documentary “A Kentucky Treasure: The James Dee Crowe Story” in 2008.

Mr. Crowe is survived by his wife of 48 years, Sheryl Moore Crowe; one son, David; one daughter, Stacey Crowe; and a granddaughter.

Mr. Crowe’s musical catholicity belied the belief that bluegrass is all about sticking to tradition.

“So many bands try to keep the same sound, and that’s great, if you can,” he said in 2012. “But to me, I mean, how are you going to replace a Tony Rice? and a Ricky Skaggs and a Jerry Douglas?

“You’re not going to do this. If you try to do that, you’re forcing someone to do what they really can’t do. Although they can try, this does not happen. So I was like, well, the best thing is to hire people who have good voices, who can sing well, choose well and let them do their thing.

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