This is a feature we are running to memorialize the creative and musical legacy of the late J.D. Crowe, who we lost just before Christmas. We are calling it My Favorite Crowe Lick, and each episode will feature a prominent bluegrass banjo player sharing both their thoughts about Crowe and his influence, and showing us a lick they learned from his playing that sticks with them.
This time we have Jason Burleson, banjo man with Blue Highway, a true disciple of the ways of Crowe. You may not hear it specifically in his playing, as Jason has developed his own distinct style, perfectly suited to the Blue Highway sound, but he studied J.D.’s music like it was a science.
“Here’s one of my favorite Crowe licks from Tony Rice’s first solo album. This is J.D. at his improvising best. I always loved the way he started in the first position C chord and walked it up to the higher C7 to make it bluesy. His playing on this whole record is maybe my favorite he ever did.
As much as I loved Earl’s playing, I’ll have to say that J.D. has always been my favorite. The first record I ever bought was The Bluegrass Album. His opening pinch and kickoff to Blue Ridge Cabin Home and his playing on that whole record is what made me want to play. I can still go back and listen to that and just marvel at how great it is. He had a way of taking what Earl did, and adding his own personality and Crowe-isms to it and making it his own. His influence on me and my generation of banjo players is immeasurable.
I’ll never forget how nice he was to me every time I got to be around him. He treated me like an old friend the first time I met him, and it really meant the world to me.
Rest easy J.D. Your playing will be studied and enjoyed for generations to come.”