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J.D. Crowe, Musician


J.D. Crowe

The Folk Heritage Award of the Governor’s Awards in the Arts recognizes a Kentucky artist who has made an outstanding effort to perpetuate and promote Kentucky’s unique artistic traditions. Bluegrass banjo player and bandleader J.D. Crowe, the 2001 recipient, is no exception.

J.D. Crowe with banjoThis Lexington native got his first banjo at age 13 and has garnered ever-increasing national and worldwide recognition with his high standards and performance precision, beginning with his very first band, J.D. Crowe and the Kentucky Mountain Boys. His next band, J.D. Crowe and the New South, received a Grammy Award in 1983. By nurturing many younger players like Tony Rice, Ricky Skaggs, Jerry Douglas, and Keith Whitley, J.D. also has helped create a community of performers and an appreciative audience for the Kentucky-based musical tradition of bluegrass.

Recognized in 1994 as Banjo Player of the Year by the International Bluegrass Music Association, J.D. has been called “a living icon of bluegrass music” and “not only a Kentucky treasure, but a national one as well.” He is cited by virtually all of today’s leading bluegrass banjo pickers as an influence on their playing. Whether as a member of Jimmy Martin’s band in the 1950s or later as leader of his own bands, his impact on bluegrass music and its makers is unmistakable.

J.D. Crowe and the New South have been featured on two KET performance series: In Performance at the Governor’s Mansion and Jubilee.



Program 439

Profiles five recipients of the 2001 Governor’s Awards in the Arts, given each year to honor Kentucky individuals, businesses, and organizations that make outstanding and significant contributions to the arts in Kentucky. (#439)





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