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Rhonda Vincent is back home again

Johnny D's, Somerville, Mass. Sept. 2, 1999

By Jeffrey B. Remz

SOMERVILLE, MA - Rhonda Vincent may have gained most of her notoriety with two country albums on Giant during the Nineties. She garnered good reviews for "Written in the Stars" and "Trouble Free"on Giant, but what did she not get was radio play.

And that meant after "Trouble Free" sank at the cash registers, Vincent also was in trouble.

Next stop was being out on her own.

But now Vincent, who has been on stage for more than three decades - she started when she was only three - is back doing her meat and potatoes, bluegrass music.

And despite a very small crowd of maybe 40 people, Vincent did not let that get her down one bit. Armed with a Rounder Records deal, Vincent showcased her vocal talents time and again during the hour-long second set.

Her voice puts life into the songs. Her rendition of "Jolene," made famous by Dolly Parton (with whom Vincent has oft recorded), was no mere by-the-numbers job. The heartache was quite apparent.

And she would have made Dwight Yoakam proud with "I Sang Dixie."

Vincent belted out Carl Jackson's "You Don't Know How Lucky You Are" with good fiddle playing from Jimmy Campbell, who occasionally had his problems with sound feedback during the evening.

Vincent possessed a veteran backing band with banjoist Steve Sutton a standout. Upright bassist Randy Barnes and acoustic guitarist Keith Tew were no slouches either.

The only misstep was "Slippers With Wings," actually sung by Vincent's mother, a musician of longstanding herself. The schmaltzy song told of a disabled girl overcoming her problems, but lyrically it did not measure up at all.

Vincent's upcoming album is entitled "Back Home Again." She seemed quite at home with where she is at musically these days in this concert.

©Country Standard Time • Jeffrey B. Remz, editor & publisher •
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