Southern Legacy to honor Tony Rice at Camp Springs

Bluegrass fans will get a treat this weekend at Camp Springs Bluegrass Park near Reidsville, NC, when Southern Legacy takes the stage for the Tony Rice Memorial Day Musicfest on Saturday. The newly formed band features the Tony Rice style-playing of Josh Williams, and the high tenor singing and mandolin picking of Don Rigsby. Saturday’s show will also include the celebrated musicianship of Ron Stewart on banjo, Jim VanCleve on fiddle, and Mike Anglin on bass. 

“Our sets will definitely have some Rice stuff in it,” Williams stated. “Anything that I do reflects Tony. I played with Tony just shy of five years. I stood beside him on every show. Honestly, I can’t do anything that isn’t in the essence of Tony Rice. I watched him for so long that I found myself (after leaving his band) playing more like his style than I did before even joining. I’ve always been a fan.”

Williams is excited to be performing with Rigsby.

“This band is something Don and I have talked about for years. We’re finally getting the opportunity to make it come to fruition.

I’ve known Don most all my life. He actually produced my first two solo records for Pinecastle. We’ve worked closely together. A few years ago we started doing some tribute shows for J.D. Crowe because we both knew the music so well. We are now finally getting the opportunity to do that in a regular band.

We came up with the name Southern Legacy because we want to continue the legacy of bluegrass. We are going to maintain the spirit and the essence of bluegrass. We’re both pretty hardcore traditionalists, and we are fans of old country music. We’re trying to stay true to that with story songs and heartfelt lyrics. Our goal is to play that stuff and do it well.”

Rigsby added…

“All the boys in Southern Legacy have played with Tony Rice at one time or another. He is one of the most influential musicians in the history of bluegrass and acoustic music in general. 

Josh Williams was a charter member of the Tony Rice Unit in its last inception, and he was profoundly impacted in the time that he traveled with Tony. We’re all thrilled to be a part of this festival celebrating his legacy in the world of bluegrass music. We are all Rice lovers in this band.”

Williams has been off the road for a couple of years and admitted, “I’m super excited to get out and see all the folks I’m used to seeing.”

Southern Legacy plays at 4:00 and 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 27. Other featured bands for the two-day festival include Blue Highway and Brooke & Darin Aldridge on Friday, and the Kody Norris Show and Seldom Scene on Saturday.

Cody Johnson, SPBGMA’s 2023 promoter of the year and owner of the legendary park in north central North Carolina, shared, “It is an honor to get this festival started and I want to thank Pam and India (Tony’s wife and daughter). I hope it will grow. I’ve got a great line-up to honor his legacy.”

Camp Springs Bluegrass Park is located at 540 Boone Road in Elon, NC. For more information, contact Johnson at (336) 213-1944.

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About the Author

Sandy Hatley

Sandy Chrisco Hatley is a free lance writer for several NC newspapers and Bluegrass Unlimited magazine. As a teenager, she picked banjo with an all girl band called the Happy Hollow String Band. Today, she plays dobro with her husband's band, the Hatley Family.