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Night Flyer: The Singer Songwriter Collection

Tony Rice

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Album Review

Night Flyer: The Singer Songwriter Collection features 17 non-instrumental cuts from the pioneering progressive bluegrass/new acoustic guitarist, and as a companion piece to Rounder's 58957: The Bluegrass Guitar Collection, it's a gem. Unlike fellow six-string genius Leo Kottke, Tony Rice actually possesses a decent voice, and though it never reaches the rich, emotional resonance of Gordon Lightfoot (a huge influence), it transcends its natural mediocrity with honest and clarity. Culled from half a dozen or so of his mid-'80s to late-'90s records, the songs are primarily covers of the folk and country variety from artists like Joni Mitchell ("Urge for Going"), Phil Ochs ("Changes"), Mickey Newbury ("Why You Been Gone So Long"), and James Taylor ("Me and My Guitar"), but Rice kicks off the collection with a brand-new, bitter, self-penned bluegrass cooker called "Never Meant to Be." There's a nice piano and vocal version of Tom Waits' "Pony," the second of three previously unreleased cuts, which also include brother Larry Rice's "About Love," a track proving that saxophone solos and good old country waltzes should sleep in separate beds. Throughout it all, Rice shares the load with a who's who of acoustic legends like Jerry Douglas, Béla Fleck, Sam Bush, Vassar Clements, and more, but it's his effortless musicianship and oddly charismatic delivery that make these "sung" songs difficult to write off, even when comparing them to his phenomenal instrumental work.

Customer Reviews

Bluegrass God

Tony Rice is one of a kind. Great compilation.

The best

Mozart of our time.


Born: June 8, 1951 in Danville, VA

Genre: Country

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Tony Rice is one of bluegrass' most inventive flatpicking guitar players. Although he's displayed a mastery of the genre's traditions, Rice set the standard for more contemporary styles. A former member of the Bluegrass Alliance, the David Grisman Quintet, J.D. Crowe's New South, and the Bluegrass Album Band, Rice has continued to reflect his eclectic approach on solo recordings, two albums with flatpicking guitar ace Norman Blake, and two albums, recorded with his brothers Larry, Ron, and...
Full Bio