Molly Tuttle’s Essential Tony Rice Albums

Here are guitarist Molly Tuttle’s favorite Tony Rice albums.
The Tony Rice Unit album "Manzanita"

Here are Molly Tuttle’s favorite Tony Rice albums, part of her larger feature on the legendary guitarist’s work and legacy.

J. D. Crowe & the New SouthSelf-titled (1975)
On these early recordings, Rice established himself as one of the most influential bluegrass singers and guitar players. 

The David Grisman QuintetSelf-titled (1977) 
Rice was an integral part of the groundbreaking David Grisman Quintet that created a new style of acoustic music, taking influences from bluegrass, jazz, and folk. 


The Tony Rice UnitManzanita (1978)
This album features Rice’s signature instrumental “Manzanita” and some of his most beloved vocal pieces, like “Old Train,” “Ginseng Sullivan,” and “Blue Railroad Train.” 

Ricky Skaggs/Tony RiceSkaggs & Rice (1980)
When I hear Rice and Skaggs singing together it give me chills! I love the way their voices blend on bluegrass classics like “There’s More Pretty Girls Than One” and “Bury Me Beneath the Weeping Willow.”


The Bluegrass Album BandThe Bluegrass Album (1981)
This album is a must hear for anyone who loves bluegrass. It features an all-star band with Rice’s mind-blowing guitar playing and vocals. 

Tony RiceChurch Street Blues (1983)
This may be my favorite Rice album! It’s just him and a guitar with no backing band and you can hear all the subtleties in his voice and guitar.

Béla FleckDrive (1988)
This iconic instrumental album features Fleck’s masterful compositions and stunning guitar work by Rice.

This article originally appeared in the May/June 2021 issue of Acoustic Guitar magazine.

Molly Tuttle
Molly Tuttle

Molly Tuttle is a superstar flatpicker and singer-songwriter from Northern California.

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