Tony Rice Biography – Tony Rice Wiki
Tony Rice was an American guitarist and bluegrass musician. He was an influential acoustic guitar player in bluegrass, progressive bluegrass, newgrass, and flattop acoustic jazz. He was inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame in 2013.
Born David Anthony Rice on June 8, 1951, in Danville, Va., Tony Rice grew up in Los Angeles, Calif. His father, Herb Rice, introduced all four of his sons to LA’s bluegrass and country scene, with Clarence White of the Kentucky Colonels, specifically, becoming a major influence in Rice’s career.
After moving to Louisville, Ky., Rice joined the Bluegrass Alliance, and then J.D. Crowe’s New South in the early ’70s. He’d later move back to California after meeting mandolin player David Grisman to join his David Grisman Quintet, an instrumental band whose 1977-released debut is widely considered to be one of the premier acoustic string band albums.
Throughout the 1980s and early ’90s, Rice was a co-founding member of the Bluegrass Album Band with, among others, Doyle Lawson. His other projects included the Tony Rice Unit (Alison Krauss played with that group for about a year); recordings with his three brothers; four albums with Bela Fleck; work with Jerry Garcia and Norman Blake; and three albums as Rice, Hillman & Pedersen with his brother Larry Rice, Herb Pedersen and ex-Flying Burrito Brothers and Byrds member Chris Hillman, along with a number of solo projects.
Rice is a Grammy Awards winner (Best Country Instrumental Performance with the New South) and a 10-time International Bluegrass Music Association Awards winner. He was named Instrumental Performer of the Year — Guitar by the latter organization six times.
Tony Rice Age
Tony Rice was born on June 8, 1951, in Danville, Virginia, United States. He died on December 25, 2020, in Reidville, North Carolina. He was 69 years old.
Tony Rice Wife
Tony Rice was married to his wife Pam Rice (Pamela Hodges Rice). She is a Film Makeup Artist, according to her Facebook page.
Tony Rice Children
Tony Rice and his wife Pam Rice have a daughter, India.
Tony Rice Family
Tony Rice is survived by his wife Pam Rice; his daughter India; and his brothers Wyatt and Ronnie. His eldest brother, Larry Rice, died in 2006.
Tony Rice Health
Tony Rice had been suffering from muscle-tension dysphonia, a vocal cord condition that made singing live impossible, since 1994. In 2014, he was diagnosed with lateral epicondylitis (more commonly known as “tennis elbow”), which made playing guitar painful. Taste of Country reported that though neither disease is fatal, they both made performing impossible for Rice, whose last public performance was for his Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame induction in 2013.
In April 2011, Rice had a quick preliminary checkup at his home. A full blood work-up was done, and he was scheduled for an out-patient CAT scan.
Tony Rice’s wife, Pam Rice, told Bluegrass Today at the time: “The testing was done just as a precautionary measure, to make sure all was well in his upper torso. The scan results showed his heart and lungs to be fine, as always. (He has never had cancer of the throat or lungs, as has been rumored.) His blood workup and kidney function panel were all normal as well.
The reason behind the visit and tests was because Tony was very sick, and very weak in the days leading up to, as well as the night of his show in Danville. Had the show been elsewhere, other than Danville, it would have been canceled without hesitation. Although he has played concerts in many countries around the world, it was the first time he would ever give a live performance in the city of his birth. His words to me the night before were ‘Hun, I’m going through with that concert in Danville, even if it means I drop dead on that stage from doing it…and if that is to be my end, then so be it.’
He was not being dramatic. At that point we both had valid reason for strong concern. So why was he so sick? Because he had suffered from two terrible viruses, back to back, that were going around. The first strain he contracted, had already cost the lives of 8 elders on the reservation.
He has never in his life tolerated antibiotics well, and had just finished a Z pack. There was still infection in his sinus region, giving him severe pain in his upper teeth. So a different antibiotic was followed and he had a scary adverse reaction to it.
That night on stage, under the given circumstances, he was experiencing great pain in his upper teeth, from the infection. Also the mid thoracic region in his back was causing him unrelenting pain. His pulse was irregular, weak, and thready. His heart was skipping beats.
Aside from a brief cramp, that hit him in his arm above the wrist once, while playing, his audience did not seem to be aware of his plight. His objective was to complete his show, to the best of his current ability, without them, or anyone else being aware that anything was wrong.
But he was scared… very scared. So was I. I had remained stage-side throughoutt his performance, at his request. Our daughter India arrived late, and joined me stage-side, because the show was sold out.
Despite his difficulties, he did return to the stage, giving a rare two song encore. But when he lingered on stage alone, looking out over his audience a little longer than usual, India became fearful as to the significance behind it, and began weeping in my arms. It was very emotional for us both, and I know our silent tears might have been witnessed by a few backstage, without explanation.
The comments I have read by those who attended the performance report a fantastic show, although Tony himself said he regretted that he was only able to deliver his special Danville fans, about 20 percent of his ability.
He did have to cancel a date that weekend, and as much as he hoped we could visit again with Zac Brown in Winston Salem the following Wednesday, he was still too weak to risk it.
Zac sent a funny faced handmade pottery mug back to Tony by India and Mindy. On the bottom he wrote ‘Uncle Tony’s mug.’
The good news is, today he is 70 percent better by his own account. He is downstairs right now, looking threw his microscope, building one of his famous Accutron Spaceviews. This one is a special gift, back to Zac.”
Tony Rice Death
Tony Rice died on December 25, 2020, at the age of 69 at his home in Reidsville, North Carolina. His death was confirmed by the International Bluegrass Association and the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame & Museum. The International Bluegrass Association tweeted: “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.”
Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame & Museum wrote on Facebook: “Legends innovate, influence, and inspire. We’ve lost a legend with the passing of Tony Rice, a leader of his generation in bluegrass and acoustic music by combining masterful singing and guitar playing. Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2013, Rice was a force within bluegrass music and took the genre to new heights. Rest easy Tony.”
His former label Rounder Records wrote: “We were all deeply saddened by the news of Tony Rice’s sudden passing on Christmas Day, and we offer our deepest condolences to his loved ones and his many fans. May he Rest In Peace.”
Ricky Skaggs, who was part of the New South with Rice in the mid-1970s and later recorded a duets album with Rice, released the following statement: “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 honored 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 honor 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.
“I will miss him as I’m sure all of you will. But where Tony is right now, he’s not missing us. He’s in the place that God has prepared for those who love Him and receive Him. Rest In Peace dear brother. Thank you for your great talent and the music that will continue to inspire more and more generations to come.”
Tony Rice Cause of Death
Tony Rice’s cause of death was not revealed.
Tony Rice Net Worth
Tony Rice’s net worth is unclear.