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Tony Rice, bluegrass legend, is dead at the age of 69

Tony Rice, bluegrass legend, is dead at the age of 69

Tony RiceKnown as a pioneering bluegrass legend in the 1970s, he passed away on Christmas Day at the age of 69.

The International Bluegrass Music Association confirmed the news in a statement to Fox News.

« With a sad heart, we say goodbye to one of the most famous voices and musicians in Bluegrass history. David Anthony » Tony « Rice died at his home in Redsville, North Carolina. » « For those of us lucky enough to know and hear Mr. Rice, it is impossible to put into words his limitless skill and influence. As a singer, songwriter and guitarist, there are few who will match his influence on bluegrass and vocal music. »

The artist’s former label, Rounder Records, praised the music legend in a statement on Facebook.

« We are all deeply saddened by the news of the sudden death of Tony Rice on Christmas Day, and we extend our deepest condolences to his many loved ones and admirers. May he be graced peacefully, » The post reads.


Rice may have been best known for playing New South alongside Ricky Skaggs. Skaggs was among the cadre of musicians to share their thoughts on Rice’s career and its impact after the news of his death spread.

“Tony Rice has been the most influential acoustic guitarist of the past 50 years. Many Bluegrass guitarists today, if not all, would say they slice their teeth to Tony Rice’s music. He loved hearing the next generation players play his lickers. I think that’s where it is. In which he got most of his joy as a player,  » Skaggs wrote on Facebook.

Not only was Tony a brilliant guitarist, he was also one of the most stylistic singers in Bluegrass history. When I joined The New South in 1974, I learned that I had found a singing soul mate with her, Tony. Our voices mixed up like brothers. In 1980, we recorded Sugar Hill’s album « Skaggs And Rice » as a tribute to the duo’s heroes with the simplicity of the guitar, the mandolin and our voices. After all these years, people have told me how much purity of this recording still touches their hearts. This is Tony, a singer from the heart. « 

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to me variety, Rice was a member of JD Crowe’s New South in the early 1970s before joining Skaggs. Later on he performed with countless combos and even in the lead like Tony Rice’s unit. He is also best known for his work with banjo player Bella Flick and Jerry Garcia.

The outlet reported that Rice’s 2013 entry into the Bluegrass International Hall of Fame was the last time he played guitar due to a medical condition that made playing his beloved instrument difficult for him. He hadn’t sung live since shortly after being diagnosed with dystonia in 1994.

It wasn’t long before artists from other countries took to social media to pay their respects to Rice.

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“I was deeply saddened to hear the news of the death of Tony Rice. No one has had a more profound impact on my musical world. His playing, singing, writing and arranging has broken the bluegrass mold and will forever testify to the fact that music can take you anywhere and from anywhere.” Chris Thiel.

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« Playing with Tony was like climbing on a magic carpet. » Flick added. « The rhythm of play frees you … »

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“Tony Rice has inspired many, including a kid like me from East Tennessee who was in awe of the way he sings and plays“ Me and My Guitar. ”I’ll never forget seeing him sing it at the IBMA Bluegrass Festival in Owensboro, Kentucky. Print on my mind forever! Rest in peace, Tony Rice. Kenny Chesney Books.

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