Larry Rice, Gone Home
The world lost a great mandolin player and bluegrass pioneer yesterday in Larry Rice. Larry, who succumbed to cancer, began his career in his father's band, and went on in the early 1970s to found the New South with JD Crowe (who still headlines the band), Doyle Lawson, Red Allan, and Bobby Slone. In 1976 he was replaced by a youngster named Ricky Skaggs when he set out to tour and make a solo career.
Larry Rice was also a brother. Together with Tony and Wyatt, the Rice brothers had more than parents in common: their down-to-earth, close-to-home simple approach to everything from picking to praising has placed them among the most respected, sought-after, and cherished players in bluegrass.
I'm not a huge guitar fan, but there are a handful of players I adore, and Tony Rice tops the list. He has not had an easy life, but he models dignity and grace in hard times. I can't imagine losing one of my brothers at this or any point in my life, and I haven't shared half as much with them as the Rice Brothers have shared with each other and with all of us over the last three decades.
Larry died in the arms of his mother and Tony, surrounded by family. Godspeed Larry to that other shore, and may the loved ones left to carry on find strength and courage in the love you gave and the music you made.
Click here to hear an old recording of Tony and Ricky Skaggs sing a tune fitting the occasion.