Tony Rice is one of the greatest acoustic guitarists to have ever lived, particularly in the world of bluegrass music. Today we’ll be looking at Tony’s best songs on the acoustic guitar.
For those who want to learn some of Tony’s best acoustic guitar songs, I’ve linked to chords, tabs and video lesson wherever I could to make these songs easier to learn. However: note that many of Tony’s songs are covers, and in a few cases below only chords and tabs for the original song by the original artist are available. This means you may need to use a capo to move the song into whatever key Tony is playing in. This is relatively easy to do by ear.
Please note: this list is in no particular order, and Tony has plenty of amazing songs that aren’t covered here. These are just some of my favorites.
Also Note: You will need a capo in order to play many of these songs! You can read about what a capo is and how to use it in this post. Here’s my favorite capo:
Now let’s jump into the 10 Best Tony Rice Songs for Acoustic Guitar:
Church Street Blues
Church Street Blues was written by Norman Blake, but Tony’s version is a favorite among bluegrass guitarists, and one of the songs that made me fall in love with this genre of music. While Norman’s version is perhaps more “melodic” Tony’s cover above features faster and more complicated flatpicking and crosspicking patterns.
This song was originally written by The Outlaws, but Tony’s playing on it was what put the song on my radar. It features an incredible solo from Tony, and the live version above has an all-star cast holding down the rest of the band – with Bela Fleck on banjo, Sam Bush on Mandolin, and Jerry Douglas on Dobro, and Mark O’Connor on fiddle.
Last Thing on My Mind
(Note: Tab is for Tom Paxton version! Key may need to be changed with capo for Tony’s version)
Tom Paxton, a renowned songwriter in his own right, originally wrote this song. However, Tony’s version adds some signature guitar flare that you just won’t find in the original Paxton version.
One More Night
(Note: Tab is for Bob Dylan version! Key may need to be changed with capo for Tony’s version)
One artist Tony frequently covered was Bob Dylan. Dylan released this song on The Nashville Skyline album, but Tony’s version is almost unrecognizable compared to the original – yet in a good way. Dylan’s version is very casual, while Tony’s is much more sentimental and the acoustics are more articulated.
Fare Thee Well
Another Bob Dylan cover, this song Fare Thee Well is from Tony’s Cold on the Shoulder album. Tony Rice is at the top of his game here. The song also features great flatpicking, fiddle, mandolin, banjo…the works. Plus with the back up stars he has on this album, this has to be a pure delight.
New River Train
One of Tony’s best albums are the “Blake & Rice” series he released with Norman Blake. In it, these two guitar masters team up on some traditional and bluegrass favorites, showcasing incredible guitar licks all along the way. New River Train is one of my favorites from the album. You get to hear Tony and Norman switch off, taking turns on vocals and lead guitar breaks.
I’ve Waited As Long As I Can
A bluegrass classic, I’ve waited as long as I can is from Tony’s album Tony Rice Plays & Sings Bluegrass.
I Wonder Where You Are Tonight
A classic song performed by everyone from Jim & Jesse to Dolly Partion, I Wonder Where You Are Tonight gets an updated bluegrass spin in Tony’s fast-paced version.
This Morning At Nine
Tony does some great singing, picking, and lead playing on this song that I believe was first written and recorded by the Country Gentleman.
Will You Be Loving Another Man
This may be my favorite song from the Tony Rice Plays and Sings Bluegrass album. It’s fast paced and has an incredible solo from Tony.
Looking for More Bluegrass Guitar Masters?
I hope you enjoyed my list of the best Tony Rice songs. While no one can replace Tony, there are other amazing bluegrass & flatpicking guitarists out there. If you’re looking to discover other great bluegrass guitar talent, I put together a list of my 30 favorite players. I hope you discover something you like on it 🙂
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