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Tony Rice

Tony Rice

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Album Review

This eponymous release was the first of Tony Rice's many albums for the Rounder label, and hardcore bluegrass fans will probably consider it his best. Joined by an impressive roster of sidemen representing both the old and new schools of bluegrass playing (including David Grisman, J.D. Crowe, Jerry Douglas, and Darol Anger), Rice runs through a program consisting primarily of bluegrass standards but also including a number of forward-thinking modern compositions, such as David Nichtern's "Plastic Banana" and Grisman's swinging "Rattlesnake." This album is one of the early landmarks in the development of what came to be called new acoustic music, an instrumental genre that drew almost equally on bluegrass, jazz, and classical traditions and came to be championed by Rice, Grisman, Anger, and a few others in their circle. But as Rice's warm singing on "Hills of Roane County" and "Banks of the Ohio" and his fiery flatpicking on "Big Mon" and "Farewell Blues" attest, this is also a very fine straight bluegrass album. It's difficult to pick out highlights, but the joyful "Eighth of January" and the wonderful twin fiddle arrangement on "Big Mon" are both definite showstoppers.

Biography

Born: 08 June 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...
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