J.D. Crowe

Bluegrass Evolution

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J.D. Crowe and the New South's Bluegrass Evolution is not only a sturdy collection of tunes, but a piece of important history as well. The album caused a stir when it was released in the early '70s, as Crowe and company spearheaded the fusion of traditional bluegrass elements with such electric country instruments as steel guitar, piano, and drums. This was certainly not viewed as a scandalous approach later on -- except in fiercely traditional bluegrass circles -- but consider that Bluegrass Evolution is no less pioneering an effort than the Byrds' Sweetheart of the Rodeo, the effort that spearheaded country-rock and introduced the larger public to Gram Parsons. Along with albums by folks such as New Grass Revival (among others), Bluegrass Evolution paved the way for progressive bluegrass. Despite the pioneering bent, Tony and Larry Rice give remarkably tight and trad-minded vocal performances. The album was re-released on CD in the late '90s.

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