Musical palate cleanser, another great, gone edition

His health had been failing and he’d been out of the public eye for years, but this still comes as a shock and with great sadness:

Tony Rice, the bluegrass guitarist and vocalist known for his elegant, innovative flatpicking, died Friday at his home in Reidsville, North Carolina. He was 69. Rice’s death was confirmed by the International Bluegrass Music Association, which inducted him into its Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame in 2013.

Born David Anthony Rice in Virginia on June 8th, 1951, Rice learned about bluegrass from his father, an amateur musician who raised his family in Los Angeles, and Tony’s older brother Larry Rice, who played mandolin. When Tony was 20, he joined his sibling as a member of the New South, the bluegrass group led by banjoist J.D. Crowe. The band played throughout Kentucky and introduced Rice to Ricky Skaggs, who joined the New South in 1974. Upon his death, Skaggs heralded Rice as “the single most influential acoustic guitar player in the last 50 years.”

That’s not an exaggeration.

Rice’s death on Christmas morning resonated throughout the bluegrass world as well as the guitar-playing community at large. “The list of guitarists who reinvented the most played instrument in the world is very short. Eddie Van Halen, Jimi Hendrix… a few others. Tony Rice is on that list,” Charlie Worsham told Rolling Stone in an email. “Hang out long enough with a couple guitar players, and you’ll hear phrases like ‘Manzanita, or ‘Cold on the Shoulder,’ dropped into the conversation like code, like a test to see how much you know about the good shit. Anyone who strives to flat pick a guitar with a solid right hand, to meld raw physical power with the grace and precision of a hummingbird’s wings owes a debt of gratitude to Tony Rice.”

That is astounding stuff.

I don’t either.

7 Comments

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7 responses to “Musical palate cleanser, another great, gone edition

  1. Hogbody Spradlin

    I don’t know one tenth of what you do about music, but that’s one helluva set of hands. Sorta reminds me of three fingered banjo picking by Flatt and Scruggs, and he’s doing it with one pick.

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    • Dude was simply amazing. If you like that, I highly recommend picking up the album, Manzanita.

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      • Down Island Way

        There are a ton of things better in life, nothing suits me down to the ground like a few/bunch/hoard of pickers and grinners enjoying them selves, none of them can carry a tune but damn if they can’t take me far away, if not just for the moment…Thank you Bluto for sharing, today and forever…

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  2. Illini84

    The last time we saw him was at The Melting Point here in Athens. He could no longer sing but, damn. . .

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  3. Illini84

    Pick up the Pizza Tapes with him, Jerry Garcia and David (Dawg) Grisman.

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  4. Dylan Dreyer's Booty

    I am getting tired of people my age dying around me. RIP, Tony.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. bigjohnson1992

    Great talent. This song reminds me of the intro to From the Beginning by Emerson Lake and Palmer. I really miss talented musicians that play actual instruments and sing without auto tune. Getting old I guess, but it’s the music and live concerts from back then that I miss the most…..

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