J.D. Crowe is so much a modern master of the banjo that some banjos are manufactured with what's known as "Crowe spacing," with the strings further apart on the bridge. Crowe first gained notice with bluegrass bandleader Jimmy Martin and his Sunny Mountain Boys in the late 1950s, before forming his own band, the New South. Incorporating rock and Nashville country influences into their sound, J.D. Crowe and the New South were considered one of the first progressive bluegrass bands, its roster at times including future bluegrass and country stars like Ricky Skaggs, Keith Whitley, Jerry Douglas, and Doyle Lawson.