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Vincent offers alluring mix

By JACK W. HILL Special to the Democrat-Gazette

This article was published May 8, 2014 at 2:23 a.m.

Rhonda Vincent

Bluegrass music and Rhonda Vincent seem like a match made in heaven. But wait -- country music also comes calling. Which will it be? What will she choose?

Vincent sees no need to choose; she embraces both. Indeed, her latest CD, Only Me, released in January, addresses the matter with two discs: one bluegrass and one country.

"I get asked the question a lot," Vincent says, "so I guess that was one reason I came up with the idea to do a little of each kind, since I have fans in both worlds. I did do a couple of country albums in Nashville, Tenn., and I look at that time of my life as sort of like college years, where I got to learn about putting a band together, songwriting and publishing and so on."

Born in Kirksville, Mo., in 1962, Vincent has always preferred life outside the fast lane. She still lives in Greentop, Mo., near family. She and her two brothers grew up playing music in their parents' band, which came to be called the Sally Mountain Show. At the age of 5, she was singing and a year later, her father bought her a snare drum. She next took up mandolin, then guitar and fiddle. She still plays the latter three, but is mostly identified with mandolin.

Spending some 11 months of the year on the road, Vincent is well known on the bluegrass festival circuit. She counts the Turkey Trot Festival in the Scott County town of Waldron as a place where she and her band, the Rage, regularly perform. Her band members are Hunter Berry on fiddle, Mickey Harris on stand-up bass, Aaron McDavis on banjo and guitar and Ben Helson on guitar.

Though she reckons she is only off the road for the Christmas holidays, she also takes a break in early July to host a bluegrass festival in Queen City, Mo., not far from her home. The Sally Mountain Bluegrass Festival is named in honor of the family band.

The International Bluegrass Music Association has honored Vincent with its Female Vocalist of the Year award seven consecutive years and named her the IBMA Entertainer of the Year in 2001.

She has recorded with Dolly Parton, Tanya Tucker, Joe Diffie and Alan Jackson, and made a duet album with Gene Watson.

"I have Willie Nelson and Daryle Singletary on my new album," she says. "I had opened a show at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville for Willie in 2009, but had never recorded with him, so that was really special, getting him to sing on the album's title cut."

(Note: Vincent's performance time Sunday at South on Main was originally set at 3 p.m., but was moved to noon.)

Rhonda Vincent & the Rage

Noon Sunday, South on Main, 13th and Main streets (former location of Juanita’s), Little Rock

Admission: $45, $35

(501) 244-9660

Weekend on 05/08/2014

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