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Back Home Again

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Classical Bluegrass

    This woman is one of the greatest performers in Bluegrass today. I don't know why PBS hasn't done an "American Experience" episode about her or why she isn't playing and lecturing on Ivy League campuses with courses in American Culture."Back Home Again" is a ten year old recording that shows the continuing promise of an artist whose vocal instrument only gets better and more powerful with each passing year. She will throw in a little folk and country on her later records. What you get here is a pure Appalachian soprano with an infallible ear for the sweet spot of Bluegrass harmonies. She's faithful to the conventions of the genre: lost loves, train songs, earthly angels, and it all sounds new: "Lonesome Wind Blues", "Passing of the Train", and a version of "You're in My Heart" where the pure elegance of her singing is underlined by the elegant fiddle playing of Ron Stewart. It will stay and play in your heart. There is a song about child molestation, "Little Angels", that I found jarring and out of genre and rightly so. So was Billie Holliday's "Strange Fruit". As good as Rhonda Vincent is here...and that means very good...it's interesting to play this recording and compare it with the work she's doing now. To paraphrase Carl Sandberg's comment about The Weavers, when I hear Rhonda Vincent I hear America singing.

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