Tony Rice tribute show in OBX

Tony Rice Tribute show at OBX festivalA special tribute concert to benefit guitarist Tony Rice has been scheduled as part of this year’s Outer Banks Bluegrass Festival in Manteo, North Carolina. The festival runs September 20-24, and the Rice Tribute is scheduled as the last act on Thursday, the 22nd.

Set to appear during this tribute, which will include selections drawn from Tony’s long career, are Doyle Lawson, Wyatt Rice, Josh Williams, Caleb Smith, Skip Cherryholmes, Kevin Richardson, Steve Dilling, Aaron Ramsey, Jason Moore, Kenny Smith, Richard Bennet, Don Rigsby, Presley Barker, Brad Hudson, Nathan Aldridge, and Frank Poindexter. These are all artists who have worked with Tony through the years, or in the case of some of the younger pickers, have been deeply influenced by his music.

The set will also include songs and tunes from the great Clarence White, whose playing had a profound impact on Rice.

Inspiration for this tribute came from festival promoter Cory Hemilright, Wes Lassiter, and Deb Miller who are preparing a narration that will be read aloud between songs, reimagining the classic Bluegrass Story that Carlton Haney used to incorporate into his festivals in the 1960s and ’70s.

The festival will make a donation of $5,000 to Tony and his wife Pam, and they will also donate the proceeds of special poster and t-shirt sales during the event. A new Martin Clarence White D-28 will be offered in silent auction at the festival, with those proceeds going to Tony as well.

Long term fans know that Tony and Pam have fallen on hard times since his arthritis has rendered him unable to perform in recent years. A great many fans and music lovers have stepped forward to help where they can, and Lassiter tells us that it is in this spirit that they have put together the tribute show.

Wes Lassiter (on banjo) with Banjo Island at the Outer Banks Bluegrass Festival - photo by Woody Edwards“It is a project of selfless love for Tony who really in my mind changed the music in such a profound way. I realize it’s not the first benefit for Tony, it’s the thought that counts and I am humbled that Cory has gone over the line of generosity to help this idea become real.”

There is no separate ticketing for this Rice Tribute concert. Anyone with a festival weekend or day pass is entitled to see it. It is not yet certain if Tony will be able to attend.

Further details can be found online.

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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.