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.
Popular east coast banjoist Mike Munford provides this remembrance. From his home in Baltimore, Mike has had his finger on the pulse of bluegrass banjo for the past 40 years. Currently touring with Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen, he is the 2013 recipient of the IBMA Banjo Player of the Year award, and has been noted as an instructor in the style for decades. From roughly 1976 until 2000, Munford taught at the long running Baltimore Bluegrass music store, where he also served as general manager and banjo set up expert. Instructional camps and workshops all over the country have utilized his experience and skill, and fans of contemporary banjo music line up to hear him play.
Mike’s playing style is an interesting hybrid, based primarily on a firm grip on the Scruggs/Crowe template, but with an adventurous side that brings in elements of blues and jazz, and a willingness to take chances with modern material. As a result, he is respected by musicians and fans across the wide spectrum of today’s bluegrass genre.
He continues to offer private lessons and set up and repair services when not on the road with Frank.