Monday, May 15, 2006

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.


At May 18, 2006 7:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Larry was an incredibly gifted songwriter and a great mandolin player. I have always loved his song "If You Only Knew". Damn. I hate to hear that he has died. Damn. You could always recognize his playing and that says something to me about someone. I met him in a motel parking lot in N.C. once standing by the trunk of his car playing his mandolin. Nice guy.

Brad Laird

At May 18, 2006 8:59 PM, Blogger Mando Mama said...

What a joy it must be to have that memory. Thank you for sharing it. I know less about his work than that of Tony's but luckily he left quite a legacy for newcomers and future generations. Please stop by again.

At October 03, 2006 10:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Larry, I will meet you someday where the soul never dies. Bless your heart and bless your soul.



I'll bring my mandolin.

At October 04, 2006 7:06 AM, Blogger Mando Mama said...

Thanks for stopping by, John.

At November 29, 2012 6:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I only wish I had met my real dad, Larry Rice.'s me, your illegitimate son.
Scott Lawrence (Lutz) - musician, of course!

At August 26, 2015 12:10 AM, Blogger DorisCritterDoc said...

I remember YOU well, Larry, as my brother, mother & I would come listen to you guys at the Holiday Inn in Lexington, KY in the late 60's, early 70's. I KNEW you personally & now have "friends" here in the Nashville area who spoke of your brother, Tony, only to find that they knew him & YOU & that you had "passed". So sad to hear that! You guys brought great joy to our lives.

I hate that it is next to impossible to find YOUR name & all of the group who helped J.D. to move on to "The New South Band" & only so far found one place where it states that YOU were PART of the START of "THE NEW SOUTH BAND", but rather Ricky Skaggs is the only one mentioned.

And to Scott Lawrence, I'd love to chat with you. I knew your dad well! Do you live in Lutz, FL? I actually practiced in that area!! Will try to find you on Facebook. Wonder HOW you found out that Larry was your REAL DAD??


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