Grammy Award winning Bluegrass picker Tony Rice died December 25 at his Reidsville, North Carolina home at the age of 69.  No further details about the cause of death were given.

Health problems over the past several years kept Rice from performing.  His final live appearance was in 2013 when he was inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame.

Fellow Bluegrass legend Ricky Skaggs called Rice “the single most influential acoustic guitar player in the last 50 years”.

Along with his solo career, Rice performed with the David Grisman Quintet, (Ricky) Skaggs and Rice, The Tony Rice Unit, New South, and his Me and My Guitar.  He has played with many musicians including Jerry Garcia, Bela Fleck, and Dolly Parton.

Along with his Grammy Award and induction into the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame, Rice has been named the Guitarist of the Year by the IBMA.

Rice cites guitar player Clarence White as an influence; he later bought White’s Martin D-28 guitar.

Anthony David Rice was born on June 8, 1951 in Danville, Virginia into a musical family – his father was a Bluegrass musician.  Tony and his brothers were raised in California where his father played with a number of bands.

Tony Rice is survived by his wife Pam.

Tony Rice discography:
“California Autumn”
“Tony Rice”
“Mar West”
“Skaggs & Rice”
“Bluegrass Album”
“Still Inside”
“Bluegrass Album, Vol 2.”
“Church Street Blues”
“Bluegrass Album, Vol. 3: California Connection”
“Bluegrass Album, Vol. 4”
“Cold on the Shoulder”
“Me & My Guitar”
“Blake and Rice”
“Native American”
“Bluegrass Album, Vol. 5: Sweet Sunny South”
“Norman Blake & Tony Rice 2”
“Plays and Sings Bluegrass”
“River Suite for Two Guitars”
“Unit of Measure”
“Runnin’ Wild”
“Vassar Clements/Tony Rice & The Low Country All-Star Band”
“Hartford Rice and Clements”

feature photo credit: By Jordan Klein from San Francisco, United States – IMG_1837, CC BY-SA 2.0,