Review of Night Flyer – Tony Rice

by Peter Conklin

Tony Rice is one of my favorite pickers.  He plays bluegrass music with touch of jazz, folk and country.  His album “Night Flyer” proves the point.

Here you’ll find bluegrass songs like “I Never Meant To Be,” “Why You Been Gone So Long,” “Wayfaring Stranger,” and my favorite track, “Lies Of Me” (which is the only cut with banjo).  He also plays around with those other styles with some tracks using piano, sax, drums and other percussion.

“He Rode All The Way To Texas”

Each song has a different feel to it.  For example, Tony sings “Pony” by Tom Waits sung in that same gravely drunken style.  It’s just Tony and a piano.

This is an album for guitar pickers who appreciate tasty licks.  Joining Tony is his brother, Wyatt Rice, on guitar, Jerry Douglas on dobro, Mark Schatz on bass, Sam Bush on mandolin, and Vassar Clements on fiddle.

One song with a nice and light melody is called “John Wilkes Booth,” which was written by Mary Chapin Carpenter and includes her on harmony.   Tony writes in the liner notes  “…Neither of us could condone such a criminal act as the one committed by John Wilkes Booth.”  Now that takes balls.

One last track I have to mention is “St James Hospital.”  Tony plays this faster than Doc Watson’s version; he just about swings it.  At first this caught me off guard a bit, but I have learned to love it.

Although heavily produced, this album grew on me and I know it will get plenty of play in your CD player or iPod, too.

Rounder Records


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