Tony Rice is by far one of the most important guitarists in bluegrass music. I’d even go as far as saying he’s one of the most important bluegrass guitarists.
To see how far-reaching Tony Rice is in the guitar world, I’ve created a special episode. We’re going to play the 6-degrees of Tony Rice. So, while looking at Tony Rice’s influences, we’ll also see how far those influences influenced others!
In addition to talking about Tony Rice’s influences, we’ll also feature the Heartbreaker Guitars Newscast, a new segment called “Guitar Gratitude,” and so much more!
As always, you can watch Acoustic Tuesday at 10 am every Tuesday in these four places:
- Acoustic Life YouTube channel
- We Play Every Day Facebook Community
- Get show notes emailed directly to your inbox.
- Listen to audio-only below or in iTunes
This Week on Acoustic Tuesday
Tony Rice’s 6 Biggest Influences
As I talked about earlier, I’ve been able to pinpoint Tony Rice’s 6 biggest influences. To best showcase them, I’ve put together both Tony Rice’s covers of their music, as well as other folks covering their music.
Due to copyright restrictions, I can’t feature the songs in this episode, but I’ll put links to Tony Rice’s covers below!
6) Clarence White
From his flatpicking to owning his actual guitar, Tony Rice was heavily influenced by Clarence White. Tony Rice went as far as owning the exact Martin D-28 that Clarence White owned.
Now, for those of you who don’t know Clarence White was a member of The Kentucky Colonels, The Byrds, and many more bands. As you listen to Clarence White, you can absolutely hear how the rolling flatpicking sounds influenced Tony Rice.
5) Tom Paxton
For those of you who don’t know, Tom Paxton is an incredible songwriter. Paxton led the charge on the folk revival.
Born in Chicago, he relocated to New York City and frequented the Gaslight Cafe. Tony Rice pays homage to Tom Paxton by covering “The Last Thing on My Mind,” on Church Street Blues.
If you listen to the acoustic tone and song selection, Tom Paxton was a huge influence on Tony Rice.
The Doc and Merle Watson cover of “Last Thing on My Mind” is another great example.
4) Jim Croce
In 1994, Tony Rice covered Jim Croce’s “Age” on the Bluegrass Band Vol. 4 album.
Now, besides this album featuring some of the best musicians out there, Jim Croce’s influence on Tony Rice is apparent.
And, while I can’t feature the Croce original or Rice’s cover, I can show you Seth Avett’s cover of “Operator,” so be sure to listen to it today!
3) Ian Tyson
Ian Tyson is a huge influence on Tony Rice. In fact, Tony Rice covered his song “Summer Wages” not once but twice.
The time Tony Rice covered it was on Native American and the second time was on J.D. Crowe and the New South’s self-titled album. If you haven’t heard that album, you need to hear it!
2) Joni Mitchell
In Tony Rices 1992 album Native American, he covered Joni Mitchell’s gentle seasonal ballad “Urge for Going.”
Now, if you haven’t heard the original, I highly recommend it. The lyrics are great, the phrasing is fantastic, and I love Joni’s voice. All of this is to say that Tony Rice definitely tried to borrow from Joni Mitchell’s lyricism.
To help illustrate it and show the profound impact that Joni Mitchell had on the scene and how it further influenced Tony Rice, I’ve featured a clip of Dave Van Ronk covering “Urge for Going.”
1) Gordon Lightfoot
The first degree of influence, of course, is Gordon Lightfoot.
Lightfoot’s influence on Tony Rice can be seen in his songwriting, flatpicking, and overall style and tone.
See, Lightfoot led the charge on the folk revival in Canada. As such, Tony Rice actually dedicated an entire album to Gordon Lightfoot.
I think the guitar is one of the most powerful inanimate objects in the world. It’s able to connect people, decades apart and thousands of miles away.
The emotional weight that the guitar holds is almost immeasurable in my life. That’s why I decided to create a new segment on Acoustic Tuesday: Guitar Gratitude.
This new segment is dedicated to showcasing just how important the acoustic guitar is in my life and the lives of others.
As you watch this episode of Acoustic Tuesday, I hope it gives you a chance to reflect on the emotional power of the guitar.
Heartbreaker Guitar Newscast
While most of us are at home these days, I thought I could take you on a little field trip in this episode.
How does sunny Las Vegas, Nevada sound?
This week, Brendan from Heartbreaker Guitars will be giving us the latest and hottest industry news in the acoustic guitar world.
Specifically, Brendan is going to be talking about Furch Guitars.
Now, there has been a lot of buzz about Furch Guitars over the last few years. They’ve introduced the Rainbow Series, their prices dropped by about 20%, their quality has remained strong, and so much more.
Be sure to watch the full episode of Acoustic Tuesday to see the Furch models that Brendan is previewing!
Wheel of Guitar Improvement
To close out this episode of Acoustic Tuesday, I’m talking about the Wheel of Guitar Improvement.
Before we get too deep into this, I want you to reflect a little.
Have you ever felt like you’re not going anywhere on your guitar journey?
Do you feel like your progress is slow or nonexistent?
I promise you that, most likely, your filled with self-doubt and you might be comparing yourself to others too much.
To solve this problem, think about using my Wheel of Guitar Improvement. Every few months, I want you to use the WOGI to evaluate your practice and playing. You’ll be surprised at what you’ll find!