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Ebook Information

Crowe on the Banjo

The Music Life of J. D. Crowe
Awards and Recognition:

Received the Best Historical Research in Country, Folk or Ethnic Music Award from the Association for Recorded Sound Collections (ARSC), 2012. Received the Print Media Person of the Year Award from the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA), 2012.

A musical biography of one of bluegrass's true pioneers

In this first biography of legendary banjoist J. D. Crowe, Marty Godbey charts the life and career of one of bluegrass's most important innovators. Born and raised in Lexington, Kentucky, Crowe picked up the banjo when he was thirteen years old, inspired by a Flatt & Scruggs performance at the Kentucky Barn Dance. Godbey relates the long, distinguished career that followed, as Crowe performed and recorded both solo and as part of such varied ensembles as Jimmy Martin's Sunny Mountain Boys, the all-acoustic Kentucky Mountain Boys, and the revolutionary New South, who created an adventurously eclectic brand of bluegrass by merging rock and country music influences with traditional forms. Over the decades, this highly influential group launched the careers of many other fresh talents such as Keith Whitley, Ricky Skaggs, Tony Rice, Jerry Douglas, and Doyle Lawson.

With a selective discography and drawing from more than twenty interviews with Crowe and dozens more with the players who know him best, Crowe on the Banjo: The Music Life of J. D. Crowe is the definitive music biography of a true bluegrass original.

"This book is superbly written and once you start, you just can't put it down."--Cybergrass

"This book covers it all. It begins with the story of Crowe's introduction to the five string banjo at a Flatt & Scruggs performance, and continues until arriving at the present day New South. . . . A must-read."--Bluegrass Today

"Godbey covered the gamut of Crowe's career in her book complete with personal conversations, interviews, old-time photos, a discography, and list of additional reading material."--Kentucky Living Magazine

"Publication of this book is a major event. . . . Captivating and comprehensive."--Bluegrass Unlimited

"Bluegrass scholars, performers, and fans should welcome this book. Recommended."--Choice

"A finely textured, multivocal account of musical apprenticeship and craft that does justice to the lives of both the biography's subject and its author."--The Journal of Southern History

"This book is a major service to J. D. worshipers (like myself!). Thanks, Marty, we will miss you."--Béla Fleck, Grammy-winning banjoist

"For fans and historians, a book on the music and influence of J. D. Crowe was long overdue, and Marty Godbey's Crowe on the Banjo fits the bill wonderfully. This account puts Crowe's importance into clear perspective. The highs and lows of the Lexington bluegrass bar scene are brought to life by someone who obviously had a good seat at the front table while hearing great music played over the din of clinking bottles."--Bob Artis, third-generation mandolinist and member of the Allegheny Drifters

"A stimulating and informative narrative of the life and work of J. D. Crowe, a seminal figure in the development of latter-day bluegrass music. Marty Godbey admirably pinpoints the importance of Crowe's influences as a banjo player and band leader and how his sound has become the standard for a sizeable segment of the bluegrass music industry."--Alan Munde, bluegrass banjoist and leader of the Alan Munde Gazette

A prolific writer and photographer, the late Marty Godbey published extensively on history, architecture, food, travel, and bluegrass music. She lived in Lexington, Kentucky, where she watched J. D. Crowe play locally for more than 40 years.

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(800) 621-2736 (USA/Canada)
(773) 702-7000 (International)

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