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Guitarist, Tony Rice Has Passed Away



Guitarist, Tony Rice Is Dead

American guitarist and bluegrass musician who was an influential acoustic guitar player in bluegrass, progressive bluegrass, newgrass and flattop acoustic jazz, Tony Rice has passed away. He was reported to have died on December 25th, 2020 at the age of 69. Tony Rice was inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame in 2013

The IBMA took to their official Twitter handle to announce that Tony Rice has passed away. In a series of tweets they wrote – It is with a heavy heart we say goodbye to one of the most iconic voices & musicians in bluegrass. David Anthony “Tony” Rice passed away yesterday, Dec 25, at his home in Reidsville, NC. Few will ever match his skill & influence. Rest in Peace, Tony.

Born in Danville, Virginia but grew up in Los Angeles, California, where his father, Herb Rice, introduced him to bluegrass, Tony and his brothers learned the fundamentals of bluegrass and country music from L.A. musicians like the Kentucky Colonels, led by Roland and Clarence White.

American singer, Ricky Skaggs has also reacted to the death of Tony Rice describing him as one of the most stylistic lead vocalists in Bluegrass music history.

Excerpts from what he posted on his Facebook page below:-

Sometime during Christmas morning while making his coffee, our dear friend and guitar hero Tony Rice passed from this life and made his swift journey to his heavenly home. It’s still quite a shock to the whole family. After talking with Tony’s wife Pam and their daughter India, they asked if I would make a statement on their behalf and give them some privacy to process during this difficult time. I was honoured to help out. Tony is also survived by his brothers Wyatt and Ronnie, and all of you who loved his music and those who will continue to share it with others.

Tony Rice was the single most influential acoustic guitar player in the last 50 years. Many if not all of the Bluegrass guitar players of today would say that they cut their teeth on Tony Rice’s music. He loved hearing the next generation players play his licks. I think that’s where he got most of his joy as a player. With many IBMA Awards and a Grammy Award, Tony was a gracious recipient of the International Bluegrass Music Association’s highest honour as an inductee into their Hall of Fame in 2013.

Not only was Tony a brilliant guitar player but he was also one of the most stylistic lead vocalists in bluegrass music history. When I joined the group The New South in 1974, I knew I’d found 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 years later people tell me how much the purity of that record still touches their heart. That’s who Tony was, a singer from the heart.

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