Larry Rice (musician)

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Larry Rice
Birth name Larry Prentis Rice
Born (1949-04-24)April 24, 1949
Danville, Virginia
Died May 13, 2006(2006-05-13) (aged 57)
Genres Bluegrass music
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Mandolin, vocals
Years active 1969–2006
Labels King Bluegrass, Rebel
Associated acts The Rice Brothers, the Dickey Betts Band, Rice, Rice, Hillman and Pederson

Larry Prentis Rice (April 24, 1949 – May 13, 2006) was an American mandolinist, singer, songwriter, and band leader in the bluegrass tradition. He is known for his solo albums and for his unique syncopated mandolin picking style.[1]


Early years[edit]

Rice was born in Danville, Virginia, but grew up in California, the oldest of the Rice brothers (Tony, Ronnie, and Wyatt). His father Herb started the Golden State Boys bluegrass band along with Hal and Leon Poindexter.[2][3] While playing in the Golden State Boys, Rice befriended Chris Hillman.[4][5]

Inspired by brothers Roland and Clarence White of the California-based Kentucky Colonels Rice and his brothers Tony (guitar) and Ronnie (bass) performed as The Haphazards and in other configurations, including Aunt Dinah's Quilting Party.[6]

J. D. Crowe[edit]

In 1969, Rice moved to Kentucky and began his professional career in the Kentucky Mountain Boys, J. D. Crowe's first band.[7] Rice also helped form Crowe's next band the New South. Other members included Doyle Lawson, Red Allen, and Bobby Slone.[8][9]

Dicky Betts[edit]

Rice was a member of the Dickey Betts Band in 1975 when Betts toured to support his Highway Call album. Vassar Clements and Rice's uncle Frank Poindexter were also members of the band.[10]

Solo recordings[edit]

In 1975, Rice recorded his first solo album Mr. Poverty on the King Bluegrass label. Starting in 1979, Rice retired from music for several years. Rice's next solo album Hurricanes and Daydreams (1985) was followed by Time Machine (1987).[11]

Recorded in 1989 and released in 1990, Artesia found Rice helped out instrumentally by Rickie Simpkins (vocals, fiddle), Clay Jones, Tony Rice, Wyatt Rice (guitar), Steve Wilson (resonator guitar), Sammy Shelor (banjo), Jon Carroll (piano), Ronnie Simpkins (bass), and Robbie Magruder (drums). Mary Chapin Carpenter was guest vocalist.

Notions and Novelties was released in 1996, featuring Gabe Valla and Tony Rice (guitar), James Tucker and Frank Poindexter (resonator guitar), Mark Johnson and Wynn Osborne (banjo), Rickie Simpkins (fiddle), and Tracy Collins (piano, drums).

Rice, Rice, Hillman and Pedersen[edit]

In 1989, Rice recorded the album The Rice Brothers for Rounder Records with his three brothers Tony, Ron, and Wyatt. They followed up with The Rice Brothers 2 in 1994.[12][13]

In the 1990s, Rice recorded and performed with his brother Tony, Chris Hillman, and Herb Pedersen as Rice, Rice, Hillman and Pedersen.[14]

Later career[edit]

Rice released his final solo album Clouds Over Carolina in 2005. Joining him were Ronnie Simpkins (bass), Jeff Parker (background vocals); Tony Rice and Wyatt Rice (guitar), Frank Poindexter (resonator guitar); Sammy Shelor (banjo), and Rickie Simpkins (fiddle).[15]

In 2006, Rice died from mesothelioma cancer.[4]

In 2014, Rebel Records released the 16-track retrospective album If You Only Knew: The Best of Larry Rice.[16]


Solo albums[edit]

  • 1975: Mr. Poverty (King Bluegrass)
  • 1986: Hurricanes & Daybreaks (Rebel)
  • 1987: Time Machine (Rebel)
  • 1990: Artesia (Rebel)
  • 1996: Notions and Novelties (Rebel)
  • 2005: Clouds over Carolina (Rebel)
  • 2014: If You Only Knew: The Best of Larry Rice (Rebel) compilation[8]

With J. D. Crowe[edit]

  • 1971: The Model Church (Lemco)
  • 1973: Ramblin' Boy (King Bluegrass) with the Kentucky Mountain Boys
  • 1973: Bluegrass Evolution (Starday) with the New South
  • 1977: J. D. Crowe & The New South (Starday)
  • 1978: Blackjack (Rebel)

With Tony Rice[edit]

Larry Rice and Niles Hokkanen[edit]

  • 1982: Larry Rice & Niles Hokkanen (self-released) cassette-only release with tablature book

The Rice Brothers[edit]

With Rice, Rice, Hillman, and Pedersen[edit]

As composer[edit]

  • 1999: J. D. Crowe - Come on Down to My World (Rounder) - track 2, "Come on Down to My World"
  • 2005: Ronnie Bowman - It's Gettin' Better All the Time (Koch Records) - track 5, "Four Wheel Drive"

Also appears on[edit]

  • 1995: Mark Johnson and Clawgrass - Clawgrass (Bangtown)
  • 1997: Mark Johnson and Clawgrass - Bridging the Gap (Pinecastle)
  • 2005: Frank Poindexter - It's The Music (Dex) with the Rice Brothers


  1. ^ Erlewine, Michael (1997). All Music Guide to Country: The Experts' Guide to the Best Recordings in Country Music. Retrieved September 23, 2017. 
  2. ^ "ICMC To Discuss The Golden Age of Bluegrass". Cybergrass. March 4, 2013. Retrieved September 24, 2017. 
  3. ^ "Larry Rice (1949-2006)". The Mandolin Tuner. Retrieved September 24, 2017. 
  4. ^ a b Derek Halsey (April 1, 2006). "Larry Rice Memorial". Swampland. Retrieved September 22, 2017. 
  5. ^ "Spotlight Artist: Chris Hillman and the Desert Rose Band". My Kind of Country. April 1, 2014. Retrieved September 24, 2017. 
  6. ^ Richard Harrington (May 11, 2007). "Krauss & Rice: A Bluegrass Star and Her Hero". Washington Post. Retrieved September 22, 2017. 
  7. ^ Kleber, John E. (1992). The Kentucky Encyclopedia. Retrieved September 24, 2017. 
  8. ^ a b "Rebel Collection Honoring the Late Larry Rice Due Tuesday". Cybergrass. September 26, 2014. Retrieved September 22, 2017. 
  9. ^ Godbey, Marty (September 1, 2011). Crowe on the Banjo: The Music Life of J.D. Crowe. Retrieved September 23, 2017. 
  10. ^ Paul Burke (August 18, 2017). "Highway Call Album Review – Richard Betts, Chuck Leavell, Vassar Clements, John Hughey". Journey Home. Retrieved September 23, 2017. 
  11. ^ John Baldry (January 23, 1999). "A Discussion with Mandolin Tablature for "The Banks Of The Ohio": Larry and Tony Rice". North West Bluegrass News. Retrieved September 24, 2017. 
  12. ^ Griffin, Sid; Eric Thompson (2005). Bluegrass Guitar: Know the Players, Play the Music. Retrieved September 24, 2017. 
  13. ^ "Rounder Records Releases Bluegrass Songs as Part of Digital Reissue Initiative". The Daily Country. August 1, 2016. Retrieved September 24, 2017. 
  14. ^ Chet Williamson. "Rice, Rice, Hillman & Pedersen: Rice, Rice, Hillman & Pedersen". Rambles. Retrieved September 23, 2017. 
  15. ^ Larry Stephens. "Larry Rice - Clouds Over Carolina". Country Standard Time. Retrieved September 24, 2017. 
  16. ^ John Lawless (September 25, 2014). "The Best of Larry Rice from Rebel". Bluegrass Today. Retrieved September 24, 2017. 
  17. ^ "Album Review: Rice, Rice, Hillman And Pedersen – 'Out Of The Woodwork'". My Kind of Country. April 25, 2014. Retrieved September 24, 2017. 
  18. ^ Paul Birch (October 31, 1999). "Tony Rice - Rice, Rice, Hillman & Pedersen". No Depression. Retrieved September 24, 2017. 

External links[edit]