In Memoriam: Tony Rice (1951 – 2020)


David Anthony Rice (June 8, 1951 – December 25, 2020) was an American guitarist and bluegrass musician. He was an influential acoustic guitar player in bluegrass, progressive bluegrass, newgrass and flattop acoustic jazz. He was inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame in 2013.

Rice’s music spans the range of acoustic from traditional bluegrass to jazz-influenced New Acoustic music to songwriter-oriented folk. Over the course of his career, he played alongside J. D. Crowe and the New South, David Grisman (during the formation of “Dawg Music”) and Jerry Garcia, led his own Tony Rice Unit, collaborated with Norman Blake, recorded with his brothers Wyatt, Ron, and Larry, and co-founded the Bluegrass Album Band. He recorded with drums, piano, soprano sax, as well as with traditional bluegrass instrumentation.

Tony Rice died at his home in Reidsville, North Carolina on December 25, 2020. He died while making his coffee, according to a statement from longtime friend and collaborator Ricky Skaggs.

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