Bluegrass queen Rhonda Vincent has a 'Good Thing Going'

Bluegrass musician, songwriter, bandleader and multi-instrumentalist Rhonda Vincent started her career at age three performing on the stage with her family’s band The Sally Mountain Show and has since become, perhaps, the most well regarded female performer in the bluegrass music genre...with the possible exception of Alison Kraus.

With her band The Rage, Vincent drew a total of eleven nominations from the 2007 International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) including her seventh nomination in a row for female vocalist of the year. Vincent had taken the award home six years running starting in 2000 but was unseated this time around by the amazing talent of Dale-Ann Bradley. No matter, Rhonda Vincent has plenty on her plate right now with the January release of the 23rd studio album of her career “Good Thing Going” that is taking the world by storm.

Vincent works very hard with every album to raise the bar just a bit more to top her previous work every time. In order to do that with "Good Thing Going," Vincent went with a tape-based (as opposed to digital) recording process throughout much of the album in order to produce a warmer, richer sound. Throw in a few guest stars (you simply MUST hear her duet with Keith Urban on The Water is Wide) and Rhonda’s trademark timeless vocals and unmatched skills on the mandolin and you have the recipe for a great album. Already earning great commercial and critical success “Good Thing Going” is definitely going to be a hard one to top.

Recently, Rhonda Vincent agreed to sit down with O&AN at the BMI offices on Music Row in Nashville to talk about the success of her new album and what it’s like for the former small town girl to be the new Queen of Bluegrass.      

O&AN: You have come a long way as a musician since those early days as a country music star having earned such appellations as “The Queen of Bluegrass” from the Wall Street Journal and even things like the choice of your clothes on the cover of an album draw harsh criticism from some corners. How do you deal with being in the spotlight so much?

Rhonda Vincent: It can be very surreal sometimes when I hear people call me “The Queen of Bluegrass” or talk about my music because it’s almost like this person they are talking about is someone else or some alter ego I have. My daughters work very hard to make sure I stay grounded and bring me back to Earth when it needs to be done. They hate it when I sign my name Rhonda Vincent on school forms and things like that. You hear these titles and nominations and sometimes I have to pinch myself. I feel like I get to live my fantasy every day because it really is a sort of fantasy land. It’s wonderful and unreal and exciting, but it’s not the real world. I’m really thankful that I get to be a part of both worlds. It’s like a dream come true.

O&AN: You grew up in a musical family and have been making music since you were three years old. What is it like for you now that you are in a place where you are influencing not only an entire genre of music, but also a new generation of fans and young women who want to pursue bluegrass music as a career choice?

RV: I still feel like I’m the 16 year old. My daughters will be 19 and 21 this year, but I still feel I’m the teenager, so it’s always amazing when I talk to women of all ages. I was in Kentucky last weekend and I bet there were four women all over the age of 30 who came up to me and told me they had seen my DVD and went and bought a mandolin so they could learn to play like me. You are never too old to start playing. There was a lady that I met who was over 60 who told me she bought herself a mandolin after she saw me perform. It’s such an amazing thing to know that I have inspired people.

O&AN: Most women wouldn’t have chosen the mandolin as their instrument of choice since it is traditionally still a male instrument. Why did you choose that instrument as opposed to banjo or guitar?

RV: I started playing mandolin quite by accident. My family was playing a country music show when I was eight in Marceline, Missouri and the guy that owned the show decided that if you didn’t play an instrument you didn’t get paid. So my dad gave me a mandolin and taught me G, C, & D chords and told me that I was going to be playing it for two hours every Saturday night. Everybody got ten dollars apiece. I don’t know that I ever saw that ten dollars but dad did. Every day when we got out of school my dad would pick us up and we would go home and friends would come over and we would play until dinner. After dinner our friends would come back and we would play until bedtime. That was the only life I ever knew as a kid and it just evolved into a career so my father and grandfather and other members of my family were my greatest influences.

O&AN: Did you ever imagine in those early days that you would be one be in the place where you are now as one of the most widely lauded female bluegrass performers ever on a level with such luminaries as Alison Kraus?

RV: I never really even considered that one day I would be where I am now. The idea of fame never even entered my mind because music was just what we did. For a long time I struggled with things because when I was in country they kept telling me to take the bluegrass out of my voice and before that in bluegrass they all said I was too country. I was really kind of lost and didn’t know who or what I was. The defining moment for me was when I finally put my own bluegrass band together in 2000 and the response was overwhelming. We performed at a few festivals and I signed with Rounder Records. I signed with my first agent and everything finally fell into place. At first I questioned it because it was such a natural progression. It seemed too good to be true. It was something that I had grown up doing so I was confused that I was going to keep doing it and everyone was so excited about it. It feels really good to be in the right place at the right time.

O&AN: Without a doubt you certainly do have a good thing going. What is the best part about being Rhonda Vincent?

RV: I’m really happy just doing what I do, so I would be happy to just stay gainfully employed and keep selling out those cruises and concerts. Ultimately as a performer that’s what you hope for and beyond that I look at Grandpa Jones and he was a ripe old age on the stage of the Grand Ole’ Opry when God took him off and I want to be Grandpa Jones when I grow up.

Photo by Kenny Eliason on Unsplash

National Pride Grant money

The LGBTQIA+ National Grant allows eligible small businesses to receive one of 25 grants totaling $25,000. Founders First is committed to increasing the number of diverse founder-led companies generating over $1 million in revenue and creating premium-wage jobs. To be eligible, the company's founder must identify as LGBTQIA+, have an active U.S.-based business, be the CEO, President, or owner, and employ between 2 and 50 employees

SAN DIEGO (PRWEB) May 06, 2023 -- Founders First CDC (Founders First), a national 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that empowers the expansion of diverse founder-led, revenue-generating businesses alongside TurningPoint Executive Search, is pleased to announce that the inaugural National Pride Grant, a grant fund to support U.S. based LGBTQIA+ small business owners, is now open for pre-registration.

Keep readingShow less

The Perfect Jean

Disclaimer: This product has been tested and reviewed by our writer and any views or opinions are their own. Please note there are affiliate links and at no additional cost to you, we may earn a commission if you make a purchase.

I don’t know what it is with men’s jeans that make it so difficult to find the right pair. It takes time to go through all these denim brands and try styles like straight-legged, boot-cut, and then the disco favorite, flared jeans. Thanks to popular metal bands back in the day, acid-washed and stone-washed jeans were a thing–pair those with a biker jacket and some big hair, and you were set.

Keep readingShow less
Photo by Margo Amala on Unsplash

The Best Cannabis Edibles for 2023

Disclaimer: Please note there are affiliate links and at no additional cost to you, we may earn a commission if you make a purchase.

I think we’ve all been there back in the day when we smoked our first joint, and then some, (sorry mom)–hacking, coughing, and choking on the herbaceous weed. Nowadays, there are several products on the market that produces the same effects but without a sore throat like the popular cannabis edibles.

Keep readingShow less