Review : Tony Rice - The Bill Monroe Collection
Country standard timeA criticism of this release could be that it's just another anthology. There have been other Rice anthologies and, after a while, it would be great to hear new material. Certainly Monroe left behind such a legacy that anyone wishing to honor his memory could dig out some songs that we haven't heard over and over. In Rice's case, though, that would mean losing his vocal renditions of Monroe's music so, while it would have been good to hear some new instrumental material, the replays of Rice's vocal cuts are understandable. The instrumentals included here are some of Monroe's best (keeping in mind Monroe's best cover a lot of ground) and, in fairness, many bluegrass fans may love the music, but would have no particular appreciation of one version of Gold Rush over a different one....full text
Blog CriticsTony Rice is now just over 60 years old and almost 40 albums into his career. While his voice was silenced during the early 1990s due to dysphonia, he remains one of the best bluegrass instrumentalists practicing today. His guitar virtuosity has enabled him to win 10 International Bluegrass Music Association Awards.
Rice is just about the gold standard of bluegrass guitar. The Bill Monroe Collection is a demonstration of that prowess.
No depressionThe tempos and grooves on the entire album are extremely tight and close knit, and the solos by all the players are breathtaking throughout. Tony Rice’s guitar playing evokes the imagery of a flat rock with a jet pack skipping down a mighty river over and over and over again, bobbing and weaving it’s way above the flowing waters, touching down just long enough to gain momentum for its next flight.
As for the tunes themselves, Bill Monroe’s compositions and influence define Bluegrass Music. Contained are many Monroe favorites like “Molly and Tenbrooks,” and “Muleskinner Blues.” The fact that some obvious candidates like “Blue Moon of Kentucky” and “Uncle Pen” are not included here actually mirror Rice’s propensity in his playing to do anything BUT the obvious....full text
Country weeklyFor the casual bluegrass fan who isn’t all that familiar with Tony Rice (and you’d have to be a very casual fan not to be), he’s one of the musical style’s most important proponents as well as one of its most esteemed and influential guitarists. Throughout his long career, Tony Rice has repeatedly visited the touchstone of Bill Monroe’s music—which provided him with his core vocabulary.
Rounder Records has rounded up 14 tracks, some reaching back 30 years, to create a cohesive overview of Tony’s many affectionate nods to the big daddy of bluegrass, whose originality on the mandolin finds its guitar-playing equivalent in Rice’s six-string sizzle....full text
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