Personnel: Tony Rice (vocals, guitar); David Grisman, Larry Rice (tenor, mandolin, background vocals); J.D. Crowe (baritone, banjo, background vocals); Jerry Douglas (dobro); Darol Anger, Richard Greene (violin).
Audio Mixers: Tony Rice; Bob Shumaker .
Liner Note Author: Philip Elwood.
Recording information: 1750 Arch, Berkeley, CA (07/1976).
Photographer: Robert Schliefer.
This eponymous release was the first of Tony Rice's many albums for the Rounder label, and hardcore bluegrass fans will probably consider it his best. Joined by an impressive roster of sidemen representing both the old and new schools of bluegrass playing (including David Grisman, J.D. Crowe, Jerry Douglas, and Darol Anger), Rice runs through a program consisting primarily of bluegrass standards but also including a number of forward-thinking modern compositions, such as David Nichtern's "Plastic Banana" and Grisman's swinging "Rattlesnake." This album is one of the early landmarks in the development of what came to be called new acoustic music, an instrumental genre that drew almost equally on bluegrass, jazz, and classical traditions and came to be championed by Rice, Grisman, Anger, and a few others in their circle. But as Rice's warm singing on "Hills of Roane County" and "Banks of the Ohio" and his fiery flatpicking on "Big Mon" and "Farewell Blues" attest, this is also a very fine straight bluegrass album. It's difficult to pick out highlights, but the joyful "Eighth of January" and the wonderful twin fiddle arrangement on "Big Mon" are both definite showstoppers. ~ Rick Anderson
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