Travis Tritt Responds to Death of Tony Rice: ‘Best Acoustic Flat-Picker Ever’

by Joe Rutland

Country singer-songwriter Travis Tritt was heartbroken to hear about bluegrass guitar player Tony Rice’s death on Christmas Day.

Rice was 69. Funeral arrangements are still pending. He was a 2013 inductee into the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame.

Tritt shares his thoughts on Twitter, where he calls Rice “the best acoustic flat-picker ever in my opinion.” He also posts a video of Rice playing “Manzanita.”

Rice’s work impacted many musicians across the bluegrass and country music scene.

Kenny Chesney Pays Tribute To Tony Rice And His Work

Upon hearing the news, country music singer Kenny Chesney says Rice’s work is an inspiration.

“When I was in college, I played a lot of music with a couple friends of mine, Shawn Lane and Marcus Smith,” said Chesney. “Every Wednesday night we played a place called the Down Home in Johnson City, Tenn.

“Whether it was ‘Green Light on the Southern,’ which was the first song we ever played, ‘Four Strong Winds’ or anything off the ‘Skaggs/Rice’ album, his music was always a staple of our set,” Chesney said. “Tony Rice inspired so many, including a kid like me from East Tennessee who was in awe of the way he sang and played ‘Me And My Guitar.”

Rice Helps Change The Way Bluegrass Music Is Performed

Rice managed to forge new territory for bluegrass guitar players as a lead guitarist and accompanist.

In the early 1970s, he started playing with Bluegrass Alliance and wowed audiences. Meanwhile, he started hitting his stride in 1975 with J.D Crowe & The New South.

His work on the guitar is impressive. Additionally, many fans enjoyed Tony Rice and his voice. He had a deep baritone, which became a favorite in bluegrass circles.

Rice plays with Ricky Skaggs, who is a fan Rice’s style, in this appearance performing Bill Monroe’s classic “Bluegrass Breakdown.”

H/T: Variety, Bluegrass Today