Eugene Crabtree, who played banjo for many years with The James King Band, died suddenly yesterday (4/9) from a heart attack. He was 43 years old.
We’ve not been able to find an obituary online, but understand that he died of a heart attack, and was found in his truck too late for any attempt at resuscitation. Eugene had made mention of chest pain this week, but sadly ignored the symptoms and a fine musician and friend to many in bluegrass is lost.
I knew Eugene when I lived in the Tidewater area of Virginia in the early 1980s – where we both were raised. His fiery red hair and aggressive banjo style always made him stand out on stage or in a jam. He played a Stanleytone banjo (made by Frank Neat) back then, and for many years after, making him one of the very few professional banjoists using an arch top.
Eugene had taken time off the road in the past few years, only returning recently to performing with James King.
UPDATE 12:26 p.m. Through some mutual friends, we have learned a few more details regarding Eugene’s most untimely passing.
Arrangements are being handled by Andrew’s Funeral Home in Gloucester, VA.
Anyone who would like to send along condolences to Eugene’s family (who are taking this very hard, as you would imagine) can send them in care of his wife:
6847 Ark Road
Gloucester, VA 23061
Though they have not requested any financial help, it would surely be most welcome with unexpected expenses. As we understand it, Eugene did not have health insurance nor sufficient life insurance to help his family with funeral costs.