Still Inside – The Tony Rice Story

The bluegrass and acoustic guitar world has been buzzing this past two years, awaiting the publication of Still Inside – The Tony Rice Story.

This authorized biography of the legendary guitarist and vocalist, written by Tim Stafford and Caroline Wright, has suffered its share of birth pangs and has been delayed a number of times on the way to the delivery room. First projected for a 2007 release, it has now been finally and officially slated to hit on April 12, with a grand premier during Merlefest 2010.

What sets this book apart from most musical biographies is that it follows Rice’s life on multiple tracks simultaneously. It is laid out chronologically, as you would expect with any biography, dividing Tony’s life into five stages, followed by a detailed look at his offstage work in the music business, and a chapter on what sets his guitar technique apart from what had come before.

A chapetr list follows:

  • Chapter 1: Hard Love/Origins, Birth-1970
  • Chapter 2: Summer Wages/Bluegrass Years, 1970-1975
  • Chapter 3: Gasology/Jazz Cats And Dawgs, 1975-1982
  • Chapter 4: Units Of Measure/The New Acoustic Age, 1979-1988
  • Chapter 5: Night Flyer/Transitions, 1989-2009
  • Chapter 6: The Man Behind The Curtain/Tony Rice Offstage
  • Chapter 7: Me and My Guitar:  Part I, The Antique

Each chapter starts with a section called Tony’s Story, where Rice tells the story of this part of his life in his own words. That is then followed by testimony from others (friends, family, fans, and fellow musicians) who were crucial during that period. Each section also features a segment called On The Road with Tony, where Wright offers a revealing look into Tony’s life from her travels with him on tour.

In the final chapter, Stafford examines Tony as a musician, with the keen eye that only another world class guitarist muster. It includes a detailed analysis of his technique, and a look at the Clarence White D-28 herringbone which has become so closely associated with his music. An introduction from Ricky Skaggs, who performed with Tony in the mid-70s with JD Crowe & The New South, gets things started.

Given Rice’s stature in acoustic music, it’s no surprise to find quotes and remembrances from the likes of J.D. Crowe, Sam Bush, Jerry Douglas, David Grisman, Alison Krauss, Emmylou Harris, Ricky Skaggs, and Linda Ronstadt. Tony’s surviving family members share a wealth of memories, and the book details the sorrows and tragedies that have marked his family life.

Stafford tells us that Still Inside is a remarkably personal memoir, particularly in light of Tony’s reputation for privacy. Further, he says  thatit has been Rice’s insistince on getting every detail right that had delayed publication until this spring.

An email list is being assembled online should you wish to be notified when pre-orders are being accepted. It will be a big day for the very many Tony Rice fans out there.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.