Thursday, April 29, 2010

MERLEFEST PREVIEW: Five questions with Tony Rice

Tony Rice, a native of Danville, and a Rockingham County, N.C., resident, is known as one of bluegrass’ top instrumentalists and singers.
He is a headliner at the 23rd annual Merlefest, which starts Thursday and runs through Sunday on the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, N.C., and features more than 100 artists performing on 15 stages.
Merlefest 2010, was founded in 1988 in memory of Eddy Merle Watson as a fundraiser for Wilkes Community College and a celebration of “traditional plus” music.
Rice talked recently while in Illinois preparing for a show with his band, the Tony Rice Unit, at the Chicago Old Town School of Folk Music.
QUESTION: For the past 22 years you have played acoustic flatpicked guitar and harmonized with bluegrass legends Bela Fleck, Sam Bush and Alison Krauss and Union Station, just to name a few, at Merlefest. What keeps you coming back to Wilkes County year after year?
ANSWER: I always look forward to Merlefest especially the years that it is low key for me like this year. My friends keep me coming back. There’s always good music and good camaraderie. I’ve played or recorded with just about everybody that plays at Merlefest. It’s just become a part of my life.
QUESTION: What is the magic of Merlefest? The answer and more found here...

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