Tony Rice. He is one of the greatest acoustic guitar players of all time, yet he’s virtually unknown outside bluegrass music. His closest friends describe him as warm and loving, and then speak in bafflement of his aloofness. He’s a distant demigod in a genre whose biggest stars are known for their accessibility. He’s a genius, a mystery… a legend in his own time.

Rice_CoverA decade in the making, Still Inside: The Tony Rice Story delivers Tony’s tale in his own inimitable words, and in anecdotes and observations from his friends, family, fans, and fellow musicians.

Tony’s long road has taken him from coast to coast and around the world, through historic recordings and appearances that often profoundly move those who experience them. More than 100 people were interviewed for this book, sharing memories of Tony and discussing his indelible impact on their own music. Alison Krauss, J.D. Crowe, Sam Bush, Béla Fleck, Jerry Douglas, Ricky Skaggs, David Grisman, Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt, Peter Rowan, and many others contribute intimate stories and frank observations of this private, enigmatic man.

Sometimes outrageous, often profound, always honest, Tony candidly shares memories of his at-turns serene and turbulent childhood… his early days as a musician, exploring the possibilities of guitar as a lead instrument… his groundbreaking adventures as a new acoustic jazz pioneer… his years as contemporary bluegrass music’s most expressive vocalist… the great tragedies of his life, including the loss of his extraor- dinary voice… and his thoughts about his role as one of the most influential statesmen of the guitar.
Woven throughout the narrative are excerpts from a journal by co-author Caroline Wright, who went on the road with Tony in the summer of 2003 and again in 2005. Her discoveries will astonish and intrigue even his most knowledgeable fans.

In the book’s final chapter, co-author Tim Stafford—a highly respected acoustic guitarist in his own right—provides insight into Tony’s technique, timing, right hand, choice of picks, and much more. Tim also discusses Tony’s prize possession, the 1935 Martin D-28 Herringbone guitar formerly owned by the great Clarence White.

Also included are a comprehensive discography, a detailed timeline, a bibliography of suggested reading, and more than 100 photographs. Still Inside: The Tony Rice Story will delight bluegrass fans, guitar music aficionados, and anybody who loves a great story, told in the words of those who have lived it.

About the Authors

Caroline Wright is a freelance writer, a former editor of Bluegrass Now, and founder of Bluegrass Hawaii Traditional & Bluegrass Music Society ( Her father, a retired teacher, earned his Master of Music degree at the New England Conservatory; her late mother was a founder of the Adirondack Bluegrass League, one of the country’s oldest bluegrass associations. Caroline lives in Wahiawa, Hawaii.

Tim Stafford is best known as lead guitarist and co-founder of the multi- award winning bluegrass group Blue Highway. He is a songwriter and producer as well as an instructor at East Tennessee State University. A former member of Alison Krauss and Union Station, Tim lives in his hometown of Kingsport TN and likes brussel sprouts.

Select quotes from the book

People think they know you because of the way you play and sing. And I am so guilty of that with Tony. I think I know who he is because of his records. I think I know what kind of person he is . . .
—Alison Krauss

Every once in a while, there are seminal figures. They don’t come along even every five years. You might, by a fluke, get two of them in 20 years. Tony’s one of those guys.
—Béla Fleck

I’ve never heard nobody, unless it’s Tony Rice—he might come close— that plays rhythm like I do.
—Jimmy Martin

Anything he takes an interest in, he takes it to the fullest. Whatever it may be, he wants to know everything there is to know about it.
—Doyle Lawson

He was good, man. He was good. He just had too much talent to be somebody’s guitar player.
—David Grisman