If there were such a thing as bluegrass royalty, J.D. Crowe would rule all he sees. The Kentuckian with perfect time has made incalculable contributions to bluegrass, Kentuckys own contribution to music.
Throughout his nearly 45-year career, J.D. has been in the vanguard of bluegrass musicians, first as a banjo picker and then as a group leader. He is regarded as the quintessential Scruggs-style banjoist, a consummate craftsman with flawless timing and fullness of tone. His band, the New South, has been a proving ground for some of the leading lights of bluegrass musics third generation, including Ricky Skaggs, Jerry Douglas, Keith Whitley, Tony Rice, Jimmy Gaudreau, Gene Johnson, Richard Bennett, and Don Rigsby.
As a kid growing up in Lexington, J.D. spent his Saturday nights in the front row of the Kentucky Barn Dance, listening to Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs. By the mid-1950s, just out of high school, he was playing banjo with Jimmy Martin and the Sunny Mountain Boys. In the mid-70s, he recruited Rice, Skaggs, and Douglas and formed the original New South. Their debut album, J.D. Crowe and the New South, released in 1975, was to become one of the most influential bluegrass albums of all time.
After taking a few years off in the 1980s, Crowe returned in 1991 with a new edition of the New South; their CD Flashback earned the group critical acclaim and a 1994 Grammy nomination for Best Bluegrass Recording. Today Crowe is as much a symbol of Kentucky as the music he plays.