Rhonda Vincent and the Rage
Bluegrass vocalist/mandolinist Rhonda Vincent is, quite simply, the bomb. I would be hard-pressed if I had to choose between Vincent and her very popular friend, vocalist/fiddler/viola player Alison Krauss, for the title of Bluegrass Queen. The difference is certainly not a matter of quality—Krauss sings sweetly, Vincent can be a little brassier, and they both can play. Anyone who saw Vincent and her Rage tear up the Sierra Nevada Big Room in June 2003 knows what I’m talking about. Vincent’s latest CD, live from her home state of Missouri, is sure to please. A number of the tunes are on 2003’s One Step Ahead, among them the lovely “Missouri Moon” and “One Step Ahead of the Blues,” this time around featuring Vincent’s daughter Sally Sandker singing excellent harmony instead of Krauss, who sang on the original. Hunter Berry’s fiddle playing is fabulous throughout, and Berry’s duet with Josh Williams on mandolin on Berry’s original “Son Drop In” is good, playful fun. Kenny Ingram’s blistering banjo drives the bejeezus out of Jimmie Rodgers’ “Muleskinner Blues.” Yee-hah!