Five-time Grammy nominee, Rhonda Vincent, has been successful with both country and bluegrass music. On “Only Me,” her upcoming two-disc set, due out on Jan. 28 from Upper Management Music, Vincent showcases her incredible talents for both styles.
Disc one of “Only Me” is all bluegrass – and a fine collection of it at that. The title track, which features Willie Nelson singing and playing guitar, is a real standout. Vincent and Nelson’s voices blend exceptionally well, and, instrumentally, it is a master class in bluegrass performance: rolling banjo fills seamlessly lead to spirited fiddle runs which fluidly transition into slick guitar riffs before Vincent’s powerful pipes take over once again.
The aptly named “Busy City” features lightning fast fiddle, banjo and guitar playing between Vincent’s verse lamenting a love that left her for the allure of the big city. Vincent injects a little of her Gospel influence on “It’s Never Too Late,” using her extraordinary voice to share a touching tale of redemption.
Over on disc two, Vincent puts on her traditional country boots. Most of these tracks call to mind the classic Bakersfield sound, especially “Teardrops Over You,” a down-tempo tear-in-your-beer song, written by Vincent when she was just 16, with haunting steel guitar and fiddle punctuating Vincent’s heartache.
An upbeat rendition of Ernest Tubbs’ “Drivin‘ Nails” closes the album. It’s one of the most upbeat tracks on the record, and a faithful tribute to the Texas Troubadour.
So, does “Only Me” answer the question, “is Rhonda Vincent country or bluegrass?” Well, not exactly. What it does do is show, once again, that Vincent is an enormously talented singer, songwriter and mandolin player.
There is a thin line between country and bluegrass, and, for whatever reason, the line is rarely crossed. “Only Me” serves as a reminder that creating art should be about pushing boundaries, not confining oneself to preconceived styles.
That being said, whether you like country or bluegrass, there’s something on this album for you. Sample a couple of the tracks here.