A Lifetime of Music: A Chitchat With Rhonda Vincent< < Back to
This Sunday, the one of the most accolade-laden acts in all of bluegrass is headed back to Stuart’s Opera House for a special musical matinee kicking off at 3 p.m.: Rhonda Vincent & The Rage. Named the “new queen of bluegrass” by the Wall Street Journal, Vincent has a career that spans the entirety of her life, starting from her work as a child in her family’s traveling band, the Sally Mountain Show.
In anticipation of the upcoming performance, WOUB’s Emily Votaw spoke with Vincent about her award-winning band, the bluegrass scene in the Czech Republic and coming back to Nelsonville, OH.
WOUB: Could you tell me a bit about the recording of All the Rage: Volume 1?
Rhonda Vincent: We filmed that about two years ago this May. The process was a little more tedious than it is with a CD, and we did so many songs that we divided it up into two projects, with Volume 2 coming out whenever I can get it done. The concert features the world class band that I have the pleasure of playing and touring with – they’re all musicians who are at the top of their game. I wanted to make something that would be up close and personal that would show how phenonmenal the band really is. Josh (Williams) has been named the guitarist of the year numerous times, and for other guitarists to be able to see his fingers going up and down the frets like that is amazing. People have always asked for a record that depicts what our live shows are like, and before this, we didn’t really have a recording that fulfilled that.
WOUB: You and The Rage have a pretty jam-packed schedule this year.
RV: Yeah, we travel about 11 months out of the year; usually taking off the entire month of December. We’ll be back in Europe this year, too, which I’m excited about. This will be my third year performing at Country Night Gstaad Festival in Switzerland. I’ve toured in Switzerland more than I’ve toured in any other country. We’re also returning to the Czech Republic, which is really the capital of bluegrass in Europe. I had no idea that that was true until we played two sold out concerts there. You have this little country, which is probably about as big, if not a little smaller, than my home state of Missouri, and there are over 500 bluegrass bands there.
WOUB: I wanted to ask you about your lifetime of music – I know that you came from a musical family, and that you’ve been heavily involved in making music all of your life.
RV: Well, in my family, there are five generations of the Vincent family that made music – so my family was making music long before I was even an idea. When I was a child, my family and I made music playing shows and recording albums as the Sally Mountain Show. Really, my life of music evolved into a career. There was never a moment where I sat down and thought to myself “I want to have a musical career,” it just happened. I always saw my family making music, so I thought that was just what everybody did with their family. I love my career and I’m thankful for each day that I get to do this
WOUB: What was it like coming up as an enormously talented woman in a male dominated field?
RV: You know, my father always instilled in my siblings and I that we should never let someone tell us that we “can’t” do something. So I think that I wasn’t even really aware that this is a male dominated industry for a long time – we just did our thing as a family. Everybody took a turn, and you just sang when it was your turn and waited while it was someone else’s. Unfortunately, when you get out into the real world, you realize that there is actually a lot of competition going on in the music industry. I had to learn that we weren’t all in this big, happy family that I thought we were in. But the thing is, the cream rises to the top, as they say, and that’s true to a certain extent. I truly believe that if people hear something that they like, they will tell other people about it, and that it will spread. In this day and age, everyone wants everything instantaneously; they want the tour bus, the number one record, all right away. But this is still a process, you still need to perfect your craft and it boils down to whether or not you have the skills for this type of career.
WOUB: What do you have to say about coming to Nelsonville this weekend?
RV: We love coming there, we get to see a lot of people that we don’t get to see anyplace else. There’s a wonderful comfort in coming back to a place that you’re familiar with, and we look forward to it.
Tickets for Sunday’s show are on sale now at stuartsoperahouse.org and by calling 740-753-1924. Reserved seats are $25 advance, $30 at the door; box seats are $30 advance and $35 at the door.