Rhonda Vincent - Queen of Bluegrass

Rhonda Vincent - Queen of Bluegrass

 Nashville, Tennessee, USA

Among the most beloved figures in today's bluegrass scene, Rhonda Vincent is a multiple Grammy nominee, a top festival and concert draw, and with her band The Rage, is one of the most dynamic and high-energy performers in music.


Rhonda Vincent
Good Thing Going
Street Date: January 8, 2008

“I remember the date.”

Rhonda Vincent is reflecting back to the genesis of her new album with the same precision and clarity that she brings to her music. “It was January fifth of 2007. I had flown to Portland, Oregon, and I was in a hotel before a show. My husband called, and we started talking about all the wonderful things that were happening in our life. We wrapped it up by saying something like, ‘Yeah, we got a good thing going.’ I hung up the phone and thought ‘That’s a good idea for an album title,’ because that’s where I am in my life…”

Good Thing Going, available on January 8, 2008 on Rounder Records, finds the “new queen of bluegrass” (in the words of the Wall Street Journal) in infectiously high spirits. Gleaming with hope, resilience, and gratitude, Vincent presents a set of songs that range from timelessly straight-ahead bluegrass to effervescent swing and heartfelt ballads delivered with both her road band The Rage and an impressive cast of supporting musicians and guest stars. With five new Rhonda originals or co-writes, Good Thing Going is her most personal, autobiographical project yet. “I have never written five songs to include on an album,” she remarks. “I have to be inspired to write a song…but there’s been no shortage of inspiration lately.” The playful title cut, written not long after that pivotal phone call, is indicative of Vincent’s outlook. “That song is mostly true,” she says with a smile, “but it’s up to you to separate the fact from the fiction.”

Co-produced with her brother and long-standing musical cohort Darrin Vincent, Good Thing Going is the result of a vigorous creative process, all documented on www.rhondavincent.com in a series she calls “Join the Journey.” “It’s been a great thing,” she explains, “to bring the fans into the project, and show them that making an album happens step-by-step – from choosing the songs to choosing the musicians to cutting the tracks to picking the cover art, recording the vocals, mixing, and mastering.”

“From the very beginning, we want the right songs, the right musicians, the right guests,” Rhonda explains. “Something I purposely targeted on this project was to have unique guests who might not be on everything you hear.” Most astonishing is the presence of country star and Rhonda Vincent fan Keith Urban, who joins Vincent for an evocative version of the traditional lament “The Water is Wide.” “I knew it was going to happen,” a visibly excited Vincent says, “but I didn’t tell anyone. I couldn’t risk jinxing it!”

Russell Moore, whose soaring voice has thrilled bluegrass fans as part of the popular band IIIrd Tyme Out, joins Vincent on a particularly meaningful ballad, “I Give All My Love To You.” “To me,” Rhonda says, “that song has become the centerpiece of the album. My assistant and dear friend Julia was getting married not long ago, and I was her wedding planner. She couldn’t find a song for her wedding, so I took pen and paper and snuck off to the back of our Martha White Bluegrass Express bus, and just started writing down what I thought of her and how happy I was for her.” That fans have already been asking Vincent for permission to perform the song at their own weddings, or those of their loved ones, is powerful testament to the song’s honest, heartfelt sentiment.

It is the same heartfelt honesty that has propelled Rhonda Vincent to her standing among the premier artists in today’s burgeoning bluegrass field. Born and raised in a musical family, she made her onstage debut singing and
tapping a snare drum with her family’s band The Sally Mountain Show when she was five years old. She picked up the mandolin (the instrument most associated with her, though she’s no slouch on any instrument with strings) at age eight, the same year she released her debut 45 – a driving take on “Muleskinner Blues.” Learning the nuances of harmony, arrangement, and stage presence by performing throughout her childhood, Vincent grew into a formidable musician and a radiant, captivating lead singer able to deliver both overpowering up-tempo numbers and soulful, introspective ballads. Her early bluegrass solo albums led to a Nashville deal, and the experience of recording her two fine commercial country efforts taught her essential lessons about the inner workings of the music industry.

Vincent triumphantly returned to bluegrass with her 2000 Rounder debut Back Home Again. That same year, the bluegrass community welcomed her back with Female Vocalist of the Year honors at that year’s International Bluegrass Music Association awards – her first of an unprecedented seven consecutive wins in that category. She received the coveted Entertainer of the Year award from IBMA in 2001, concurrent with the release of her second Rounder album The Storm Still Rages. One Step Ahead followed in 2003, which included “You Can’t Take It With You When You Go,” a top-five v