Tony Rice – born David Anthony Rice on June 8, 1951 in Danville, Virginia – was an acclaimed and influential bluegrass guitarist. He was able to successfully embrace and explore different variations of the genre including traditional bluegrass, newgrass and progressive bluegrass. Rice was also a master at acoustic jazz and is known for his work with David Grisman, Jerry Garcia, and others. His interest in bluegrass began when his family moved to Los Angeles, California when he was young. He and his brothers learned the basics of bluegrass and country music from L.A.-based musicians such as Clarence White and the Kentucky Colonels. He relocated to Louisville, Kentucky and joined J.D. Crowe’s New South, one of the area’s most popular bands. In 1973, Rice recorded his self-titled debut album and participated in recording the album Bluegrass Evolution with New South. A young Ricky Skaggs joined New South in 1974 and they recorded the album J.D. Crowe & The New South, which became Rounder Records biggest seller up to that time. Rice left the band and pursued a long and prolific career, recording a dozen solo albums including California Autumn (1975), Me & My Guitar (1986), and Nightflyer: The Singer Songwriter Collection (2008). He also formed his own band, The Tony Rice Unit, releasing seven albums between 1978 and 2000. He joined fellow bluegrass legend David Grisman in the David Grisman Quartet, recording four albums with them. He reunited with Crowe in The Bluegrass Album Band, releasing a half-dozen albums between 1981 and 1996. Other collaborations included two albums with Norman Blake, two with Peter Rowan, and a pair of albums with his brothers Ron, Larry, and Wyatt (released as The Rice Brothers). Tony Rice and his brother Larry teamed up with legendary banjo player Herb Pedersen and former Byrds member Chris Hillman in a group, releasing three albums as Rice, Rice, Hillman & Pedersen between 1997 and 2001. Rice also collaborated on albums with Jerry Garcia and David Grisman (The Pizza Tapes) and Ricky Skaggs (Skaggs & Rice) and played on albums by Emmylou Harris, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Béla Fleck, and many others. In 2013, he was inducted into the International Bluegrass Hall of Fame. Rice suffered from lateral epicondylitis (aka tennis elbow) in his later years and was unable to play guitar. Tony Rice died on December 25, 2020 at the age of 69.