When Tony Rice’s Manzanita album was released in 1979, the bluegrass world let out a collective gasp. At a time when Rice was associated with David Grisman’s experimental string band music, here was a record that was breathtakingly fresh, but completely traditional. It featured songs from deep in the bluegrass catalog, but there was no banjo!
Over the past four decades it has become one of the most beloved recordings in the canon, to the point where guitarists are expected to know every track as deeply as banjo players know Foggy Mountain Banjo. Don’t you dare pass on a suggestion for a track from Manzanita at a jam!
This Sunday, May 20, GuitartownCT is hosting a very special concert to commemorate and celebrate the music of Tony Rice. Billed as Manzanita: A Tribute to Tony Rice, the show will assemble an all-star cast to perform songs from the album, and some classics from Tony’s time with the Bluegrass Album Band.
On hand will be Josh Williams on guitar, Doyle Lawson on mandolin, Ricky Simpkins on fiddle, Justin Moses on banjo/dobro, and Todd Phillips on bass. Williams will be the primary vocalist as well.
GuitartownCT is celebrating their 10 year Anniversary with the Manzanita show, which will be their 78th concert over that time. The organization is headed by Chris Wuerth, and works to ensure that the music of the acoustic guitar is well represented in coastal Connecticut.
This is likely to be one memorable evening for admirers of Tony Rice.