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Rhonda Vincent

THE STORM STILL RAGES (Rounder) • Rhonda Vincent

Oh yeah. That's what I'm talking about! We continue to bring you the very finest in Bluegrass, and Rhonda Vincent is really at the top of the game. She's got that bell-like authority, that hillbilly siren tone that can't be denied.

The lineup on the record is an incendiary who's who. Bryan Sutton's eight cylinder flatpicking and the Resophonic work of Rob Ickes left a smokin trail. The amazing fiddles of Stuart Duncan and young Mike Cleveland are each a thing of beauty, and they paired up classically on a couple of numbers. As if those fiddles weren't enough, equally notorious Aubrey Haynie doubles on fiddle and mandolin on two numbers. The banjo playing of Tom Adams is super, so musical while it's driving the livin hell out of the train, and so rhythmically flexible through all the many grooves. He's received top honors on his instrument from the IBMA for two consecutive years.

All that world class musicianship considered, for me this record is really all about the singing. The artist has been the IBMA Vocalist of the Year the last two years running, she's perfect. (With all due respect, I will mention for the record that she's also a drop dead redhead.) The DNA matched vocal sound with her bassist brother Darrin Vincent is spine tingling in spots, and heavenly throughout. The way they slide and leap together, it's unbelievable.

Some other fantastic singers do guest spots: Sonya and Ben Isaacs, Brian and Johnny Vincent, rhythm guitarist Audie Blaylock and Randy Barnes, and Alison Krauss. I particularly liked the bass harmony of Ray Deaton and the fingerstyle guitar of Tom Mills on "You Don't Love God If You Don't Love Your Neighbor."

This mandolin playing fireball vocalist from Kirksville, MO is going to be around a long time, but that's no reason to wait to buy her new CD here. Don't be surprised when you circle back to the Rounder site for her last one, the highly acclaimed Back Home Again. Me, I think I'm wearing out a trail in the carpet. I keep walking back to the player to hear "Drivin' Nails in My Coffin" one more time.  • FG

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