Last year, Peghead Nation banjo instructor (and 2022 Steve Martin Banjo Prize winner) Bill Evans taught a deep-dive workshop series called The Banjo Style of J.D. Crowe. We recorded all of the sessions, and we are excited to now offer the entire class for subscription. Your monthly or annual subscription includes detailed tablature, Bill’s listening and reading recommendations, and nine hours of video of Bill’s in-depth exploration of J.D. Crowe’s singular, massively influential playing.
Next to Earl Scruggs, J.D. Crowe is the most influential five-string bluegrass banjo player in the history of the instrument and The Banjo Style of J.D. Crowe provides an overview of his long career, teaching tunes and techniques from J.D.’s earliest days with Jimmy Martin through his classic recordings with The New South and his remarkable work with The Bluegrass Album Band.
Special guests include Ron Block, best known for his banjo and guitar playing with Alison Krauss and Union Station, and Ron Stewart, who is currently playing banjo with Seldom Scene and who played fiddle with J.D. Crowe for more than eight years. They provide valuable insights into J.D.’s approach by demonstrating solos, licks, and techniques.
This course has been approved and endorsed by the Crowe family. J.D. had agreed to take part in a workshop series that was originally planned for early 2022, but his health concerns made it impossible for him to participate. J.D. had encouraged Bill to present the series on his own at a future date, and this workshop is the result.
Here are some of the tunes Bill covers in the course:
“You Don’t Know My Mind” (two solos), “Blue Ridge Cabin Home” (two solos), “Free Born Man,” “Black Jack,” “Molly and Tenbrooks, “Bear Tracks,” “Hold Watcha Got,” “The Old Home Place,” “Dark Hollow,” and “Come Back Darling.”
Bill says, “We’ll also take a deep dive into J.D.’s right- and left-hand techniques (pick angles, wrist arch, note separation, muting techniques, pull-offs, etc.), his rhythmic approach and accenting, back up, and much more. In addition, we’ll explore J.D.’s approach to country-style tunes and slow-song back up and cover the many blues-influenced licks that expanded the vocabulary of bluegrass banjo and influenced generations of banjo players.
“While we’re tracing J.D.’s evolution as a player through his career of more than 50 years, we’ll also be learning about his life by reading Marty Godbey’s Crowe on the Banjo: The Music Life of J.D. Crowe. In addition to working on solos from J.D.’s recordings, we’ll also use selected YouTube performances to focus on J.D.’s right-hand technique, left-hand fingering, banjo tone, and much more.”
Bill Evans is an internationally recognized five-string banjo life force and a winner of the 2022 Steve Martin Banjo Prize. As a performer, teacher, writer, and composer, he brings a deep knowledge, intense virtuosity, and contagious passion to all things banjo, with thousands of music fans and banjo students all over the world, the product of a music career that spans more than 35 years and includes appearances with David Grisman, Peter Rowan, Tony Trischka, Dry Branch Fire Squad, Mike Seeger, Hazel Dickens and Alice Gerrard, Laurie Lewis, Jody Stecher, and many others. Bill has a master’s degree in music from the University of California, Berkeley, with a specialization in American music history and he has been a scholar/artist in residence at many universities across the United States. He is also the author of Banjo for Dummies, the most popular banjo book in the world.
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