Tony Rice benefits in CT and TN

Tony Rice, performing at MerleFest , Wilkes County, North Carolina, April 2006. Photo by Forrest L. Smith, III.Over this next few weeks, two benefit concerts will be held to raise funds for The Tony Rice Foundation, which is collecting donations to assist Tony while he seeks to recover from both his arm and voice problems. Over $60,000 has been raised since December, with more coming in all the time.

Since recent aggravations in his arthritis, Tony has been unable to reliably play guitar, forcing cancellations of his scheduled performances, and the interruption in his ability to earn a living. Unfortunately, bad weather has forced postponement of scheduled procedures this past few months to try and remove scar tissue in his arm. This first scheduled surgery is said to be minimally invasive, and his doctors hope for success with that before moving on to more involved procedures.

Tony has been working diligently on what his voice therapist wants him to do, and reports from friends suggest that he is making encouraging progress on that front.

But he’s still unable to work, and donations from the Tony Rice Foundation, run by his close friends Terry and Jeff Pinkham, are making a big difference.

The first of these two concerts is scheduled for Tuesday, March 25 in Nashville. It will be held at 3rd and Lindsley with a projected start time of 7:00 p.m. Committed to perform so far are Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder, Dailey & Vincent, Tim O’Brien and Bryan Sutton, and Don Rigsby, with more entertainers expected to be added by show time.

The club owner has donated the space and all proceeds will go to Tony.

Local bluegrass lovers and area real estate developers Richard King Sr and his son Richie are promoting the show. Richie said that the whole thing is blowing up.

“When I first read the story about Tony’s condition on Bluegrass Today, I knew that I needed to do whatever I could to help. All the artists we have reached out to have been eager to help, even though a number of them had prior commitments and couldn’t be there on the 25th.

We’re just amazed at how big it has become – it’s a bit overwhelming. We’re just honored to be a part of it.”

Ticket prices are not yet certain, and pre-show sales should be enabled on the 3rd and Lindsley site in the next few days.

On Saturday April 19, you’ll know where to find all the flat pickers in Connecticut, and neighboring states as well. GuitartownCT Productions in Hamden, CT will host Give Back to Tony Rice, a benefit concert at 7:00 p.m. at Unitarian Society Hall. Scheduled performers include Rob Ickes, Josh Williams, Tony Trischka, Chris Eldridge, Luke Bulla, Tim Stafford, Jesse Brock, Dominick Leslie, Cody Kilby, and Sam Grisman, with others likely to be added.

Concert organizer Chris Wuerth tells us…

“Tony Rice is my hero, as he is to many people. His life is so private, but Tony’s IBMA speech encouraged me, and gave me the impression, wrongly it turns out, that he was doing OK. When I heard through Bluegrass Today that he was in trouble, my immediate thought was to try and organize a concert of his fellow musicians, to raise money for him until he can get back on his feet. The bluegrass community has really pulled through for him. I’m not sure he realizes how loved and treasured he really is.”

The concert is special for GuitartownCT as the first show they ever held was the Tony Rice Unit back in May, 2008, and they have been back three times since. This benefit show next month will be their 44th concert.

Tickets are available for $50 and $65 online.

For those with an urge to help out, but unable to attend either of these shows, donations are still being accepted through PayPal, either as a one-time gift or in recurring, regular payments.

Just use the Donate button below.


Tony has told Terry Pinkham that all the outpouring of love, and the support that has come his way, has really made a difference in his recovery. He reports that his health is getting much better.

More of this kind of news, please!

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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.