The Bill Monroe Collection by Tony Rice

For the casual bluegrass fan who isn’t all that familiar with Tony Rice (and you’d have to be a very casual fan not to be), he’s one of the musical style’s most important proponents as well as one of its most esteemed and influential guitarists. Throughout his long career, Tony Rice has repeatedly visited the touchstone of Bill Monroe’s music—which provided him with his core vocabulary.

Rounder Records has rounded up 14 tracks, some reaching back 30 years, to create a cohesive overview of Tony’s many affectionate nods to the big daddy of bluegrass, whose originality on the mandolin finds its guitar-playing equivalent in Rice’s six-string sizzle.

If you don’t mind hearing old-school bluegrass played with a slightly jazzy slant and a fresh coat of pizzazz, you’ll like this package. Those with a finely honed appreciation of the genre will find the album a confirmation that Bill Monroe’s music is eminently durable and flexible and, in the hands of such masters as Tony Rice, will keep on shinin’ for many blue moons to come.

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