September 23, 2023


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Tony Rice Dead: Bluegrass Terrific Was 69

Tony Rice, one of the leading lights of bluegrass audio since the 1970s, and a 2013 inductee into the International Bluegrass Audio Affiliation Corridor of Fame, died all of a sudden on Christmas Day. He was 69.

“It is with a hefty heart we say goodbye to one of the most legendary voices and musicians in bluegrass,” the Worldwide Bluegrass Affiliation stated in saying the death. “David Anthony ‘Tony’ Rice passed away yesterday, Dec. 25, at his property in Reidsville, NC. Couple will at any time match his skill and impact.”

Tributes from his bluegrass contemporaries and individuals affected by him poured in Saturday as the information acquired out.

Rice was “the one most influential acoustic guitar player in the very last 50 a long time,” mentioned Ricky Skaggs, who played together with Rice in the team the New South in the 1970s and later on rejoined him for a basic duets album, “Skaggs/Rice.”Not only was Tony a excellent guitar player,” Skaggs additional, but he was also one of the most stylistic direct vocalists in bluegrass songs background.”

“I’m further than heartbroken to hear about the passing of Tony Rice,” wrote Chris Thile. “No a person has experienced a additional profound effects on my musical globe. His enjoying, singing, creating and arranging broke the bluegrass mold and will eternally attest to the simple fact that music can take you everywhere, from any place.”

“Rest in peace, my guitar mentor Tony Rice,” wrote Mark O’Connor. “We dropped a large of the guitar on Xmas yesterday. Of training course it all will come flooding via the intellect, how a lot of moments we performed alongside one another considering that we initial met in 1975. Will describe it all at a later day.”

“We’re gonna overlook you Tony Rice,” tweeted banjoist Bela Fleck, with whom Rice recorded many collaborative albums. “Never equaled…”

Heralded upstart Billy Strings posted a picture of Rice wanting a little bit surly with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth, tweeting, “Cool, tasteful, badass, classy… always in the very same temper as that aged D-28.”

Accolades for Rice came from outdoors the style as effectively, with state celebrity Kenny Chesney telling how he turned a substantial fan whilst attending Japanese Tennessee Point out, where by he played in a collegiate bluegrass band.

“When I was in school, I played a ton of songs with a few good friends of mine, Shawn Lane and Marcus Smith,” mentioned Chesney. “Every Wednesday night we performed a put named the Down Property in Johnson Metropolis, Tenn. No matter whether it was ‘Green Gentle on the Southern,’ which was the very first track we at any time played, ‘Four Powerful Winds’ or nearly anything off the ‘Skaggs/Rice’ album, his audio was constantly a staple of our set. Tony Rice impressed so lots of, together with a child like me from East Tennessee who was in awe of the way he sang and played ‘Me And My Guitar.’ I’ll in no way ignore observing him sing that at the IBMA Bluegrass Competition in Owensboro, Ky.  It’s printed on my mind permanently. Relaxation in peace, Tony Rice.”

Skaggs’ first statement was a prolonged one particular, befitting the affiliation that stuck with Chesney all these many years.

“Sometime through Christmas morning while producing his espresso, our expensive close friend and guitar hero Tony Rice passed from this lifestyle and manufactured his swift journey to his heavenly property,” Skaggs wrote. “It’s nonetheless really a shock to the whole family members. Soon after talking with Tony’s spouse Pam and their daughter India, they questioned if I would make a assertion on their behalf and give them some privacy to process all through this challenging time. I was honored to enable out. Tony is also survived by his brothers Wyatt and Ronnie, and all of you who beloved his new music and those people who will continue to share it with some others.

“Tony Rice was the solitary most influential acoustic guitar player in the past 50 decades,” continued Skaggs. “Many if not all of the Bluegrass guitar players of nowadays would say that they cut their tooth on Tony Rice’s music. He cherished listening to the next technology gamers enjoy his licks. I assume that is the place he bought most of his pleasure as a participant. With many IBMA Awards and a Grammy Award, Tony was a gracious recipient of the Intercontinental Bluegrass Songs Association’s maximum honor as an inductee into their Hall of Fame in 2013.

“Not only was Tony a amazing guitar participant but he was also a single of the most stylistic guide vocalists in bluegrass audio history. When I joined the team the New South in 1974, I knew I’d uncovered a singing soul mate with Tony. Our voices blended like brothers. In 1980, we recorded the album ‘Skaggs and Rice’ for Sugar Hill as a tribute to our duet heroes with just the simplicity of guitar, mandolin, and our voices. All these many years later people convey to me how considerably the purity of that document nonetheless touches their coronary heart. That’s who Tony was, a singer from the heart.

“I will overlook him as I’m guaranteed all of you will. But wherever Tony is ideal now, he’s not missing us. He’s in the place that God has well prepared for those who love Him and get Him. Rest In Peace, pricey brother. Thank you for your good talent and the music that will continue on to inspire more and a lot more generations to occur.”

Just before becoming a member of Skaggs in the New South, Rice was a member of J.D. Crowe’s New South in the early ’70s. His afterwards outfits provided the David Grisman Band, the Bluegrass Album Band (which incorporated Doyle Lawson), the Tony Rice Unit (which for a time provided Alison Krauss as a member) and Rice, Hillman & Pedersen (with brother Larry Rice, ex-Byrd Chris Hillman and Herb Pedersen). He was also pointed out for his get the job done with Fleck and Jerry Garcia.

Rice had not played guitar publicly since his Intercontinental Bluegrass Hall of Fame induction in 2013, due to healthcare conditions that built taking part in guitar challenging. He experienced not sung in live performance because soon just after being identified with muscle mass-pressure dysphonia in 1994.

Tweeted country recording artist Charlie Worsham: “Tony Rice could make a Martin flattop guitar sing with extra uncooked electrical power than a than a Les Paul plugged into a Marshall stack. his signature design and style is embedded deep in the blueprint of my participating in and definitely anybody who performs bluegrass guitar these days. Yet even if Tony Rice experienced never played a lick, his voice by itself was a singular pressure, & the tracks he sang upped the recreation for songwriting in bluegrass & outside of. If you aren’t acquainted with Tony Rice, please listen to his tunes. This wouldn’t be a bad place to begin,” Worsham continued, posting a Spotify backlink to the Tony Rice Unit’s 1979 album “Manzanita.”

Far more to come…