Podcast 352: A Tribute to J. D. Crowe with Bill Evans

On this week’s Fretboard Journal Podcast, we pay tribute to banjo and bluegrass legend J. D. Crowe with his friend, student, and collaborator, Bill Evans. Crowe passed away on Christmas Eve, 2021, nearly a year, exactly, after the death of his friend and former bandmate, Tony Rice.

Evans is a natural storyteller and educator and was slated to begin filming instruction videos with Crowe for Peghead Nation later this year. He talks about Crowe’s impact on bluegrass, his unique style of banjo playing (and how it differed from that of Earl Scruggs), the unique interplay Crowe had with guitarist Tony Rice, and the importance of the 1975 album, J. D. Crowe and New South album (Rounder Records 0044), featuring Crowe, Rice, Jerry Douglas, Ricky Skaggs, and Bobby Slone.

It’s an hour-long deep dive into what made one of the world’s best banjo player’s tick… and a great primer on the subtleties of bluegrass.

Evans has graciously shared one of his Crowe lessons on Peghead Nation: https://www.pegheadnation.com/news-reviews/breaking-news/j-d-crowes-enduring-influence/

Above photo of J. D. and Bill Evans by Gretchen Snyder, taken backstage at San Francisco’s Hardly Strictly Bluegrass.

This episode is sponsored by BED|STÜIzotope (use the discount code FRET10 to save 10% on their amazing software), and Retrofret Vintage Guitars.

Don’t forget, beyond the magazine, the FJ now has an entire network of podcasts, about everything from lutherie to home recording (and tube amps!): Luthier on Luthier; The Truth About Vintage Amps; The Truth About Recording & Mixing; Acoustic Voices; and Sweep the Floor.

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