Tony Rice can play any kind of music that suits him, and it will sound great. His flatpicking is the definition of sweet and clean. But for my money, it is never better than when he plays bluegrass instrumentals. This album takes some of his best work in that department and puts it on one album.
The Bluegrass Guitar Collection includes selections from Rice's albums with Norman Blake, the Tony Rice Unit, and the Bluegrass Album Band. There's a cut from Bela Fleck's incredible Drive. One gets not only Rice, but the high-powered company his playing attracts. JD Crowe, Sam Bush (on both mandolin and fiddle), David Grisman, Fleck, Blake, John Reischman, and many more are on this incredible collection. There are Monroe classics like Cheyenne and Big Mon. Traditional tunes like Soldier's Joy, Gold Rush and Bill Cheatham get Rice's respectful yet still individual treatment. And there's Whitewater and Birdland Breakdown for those looking for the newgrass sound. These two pieces were my favorite on the album.
There's no question that Tony Rice has broadened the role of bluegrass guitar over the years. Here's an exceptional collection that proves it.
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