Phil Spector, one of the most influential and successful record producers in rock ’n’ roll, who generated a string of hits in the early 1960s defined by the lavish instrumental treatment known as the wall of sound, but whose life was upended when he was sentenced to prison for the murder of a woman at his home, died on Saturday. He was 81.
RIP Phil Spector. A genius irredeemably conflicted, he was the ultimate example of the Art always being better than the Artist, having made some of the greatest records in history based on the salvation of love while remaining incapable of giving or receiving love his whole life.
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.
Tony Rice was the king of the flatpicked flattop guitar. His influence cannot possibly be overstated. If you aren’t familiar with his music, please look it up. I don’t know if a person can make anything more beautiful. #RIPTonyRice
“I don’t mess with Jack,” Smart said of the player named the Peach Bowl offensive MVP.. “I don’t mess with kickers. I let them do their thing. Probably the best thing to happen is he didn’t have long to think about it.” — AB-H, 1/1/21