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J. D. Crowe and The New South: The Success of Bluegrass

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In 1973, banjo player J. D. Crowe formed a bluegrass band called The New South. Thanks to their first two albums, Bluegrass Evolution as well as the record, “Rounder 0044” allowed them to become a dominant force in bluegrass, although those productions were quite different.

This group made recordings and some tours with different lineups. Noticing that the most significant lineup change was when the whole band in 2002 gave out the desire for a more active schedule, thus forming the band Wildfire. Those who were part of the band came back again to the group because Crowe had to find replacements to complete the empty positions in the band. Besides, the New South still has a moderate performance schedule.

Before the original New South, Crowe’s previous band was composed of Doyle Lawson, Tony Rice, Crowe, and Larry Rice. With the album, Bluegrass Evolution, it happened to be that was influenced by the Osborne Brothers as well as by more mainstream country music, which included pedal steel, drums and electric instruments to far degree than other groups did. After releasing the first New South album, Lawson decided to lead his own band, Quicksilver. In regards to style, this album meant an important change from the previous album because this one not only took a very traditional sound but also incorporated more traditional sounds, as for example, “Some Old Day”, “Old Home Place”, and “Sally Gooding”. Indeed, for bluegrass music, this album is a landmark because most current bluegrass musicians developed throughout traditional sounds.

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