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TONY RICE

  • From Danville, Virginia. Grew up in southern California, near L.A.
  • Considered one of the greatest flatpick guitar players of all time. Until he lost his voice in the 1990’s, he was also considered one of bluegrass music’s top lead singers.
  • Main influence: Clarence White whom he met in 1963. (Tony owns Clarence’s Martin D-28).
  • 1970, left California to join the Louisville-based Bluegrass Alliance.
  • 1971, joined his brother Larry in J.D. Crowe’s band, The Kentucky Mountain Boys (later re-named The New South). While with this band, he recorded one of the most important bluegrass albums of all time: J.D. Crowe & The New South (1973, Rounder).
  • 1975, joined the The David Grisman Quintet, playing jazz-oriented “Dawg Music.”
  • 1977, released Tony Rice album (Rounder).
  • 1978, released Guitar album (Rebel).
  • 1978, released landmark Manzanita album (Rounder), the first bluegrass album without a banjo.
  • 1980, recorded a classic album of duets with Ricky Skaggs Skaggs & Rice: The Essential Old-Time Country Duet Recordings (Sugar Hill).
  • 1981, arranged the first Bluegrass Album Band recording with friends Doyle Lawson, J.D. Crowe, Bobby Hicks, and Todd Phillips. The album sold so well, five more were recorded and the ensemble won the IBMA award for Instrumental Group of the Year (1990).
  • 1983, released Church Street Blues album (Sugar Hill).
  • 1984, released Cold On The Shoulder album (Rounder).
  • 1985, formed his band, The Tony Rice Unit.
  • 1987, released and album of duets with guitarist Norman Blake Blake & Rice (Rounder). This was followed up with Blake & Rice 2 (1990, Rounder).
  • 1988, released Me & My Guitar album (Rounder).
  • 1993, his home in Florida was destroyed in a hurricane. His guitar was underwater for three hours, but Tony dried it out very slowly and he reports that “it sounds better than ever.”
  • 1994, experienced voice problems, a malady called Muscle Tension Dysphonia and was forced to curtail his singing.
  • 1995, the Tony Rice Unit won the IBMA award for Instrumental Group of the Year.
  • His hobbies: photography and collecting/repairing old watches.
  • 1997, 2000, recorded and performed with brother Larry, Chris Hillman and Herb Pederson as Out of the Woodwork and also as Rice, Rice, Hillman and Pederson.
  • 1998, released Native American album (Rounder).
  • 1998, released Tony Rice Plays And Sings Bluegrass album (Rounder).
  • 2000, released The Bluegrass Guitar Collection album (Rounder).
  • 2001, began performing and recording with Peter Rowan. Released Quartet album (Rounder).
  • 2007, won his fifth IBMA award for Guitar Player of the Year (also won in 1990, 1991, 1994 and 1997).
  • 2008, worked dates with Mountain Heart.
  • 2010, his biography Still Inside: The Tony Rice Story was was published, co-authored by Tim Stafford and Caroline Wright.
  • 2013, was inducted into the IBMA’s Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame. His memorable acceptance speech included a seemingly miraculous recovery of his voice.
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