One Step Ahead

One Step Ahead

4.6 5
by Rhonda Vincent
     
 

Looking tough in black leather on the cover of her new CD, Rhonda Vincent projects the image conveyed by the music contained within: uncompromising, fearless, and alluring all at once. In keeping with this message, Vincent and her songwriting partner, Terry Herd, take two of their original songs into rarely charted areas: The hard-driving "Kentucky Borderline" salutes… See more details below

Overview

Looking tough in black leather on the cover of her new CD, Rhonda Vincent projects the image conveyed by the music contained within: uncompromising, fearless, and alluring all at once. In keeping with this message, Vincent and her songwriting partner, Terry Herd, take two of their original songs into rarely charted areas: The hard-driving "Kentucky Borderline" salutes a great train, with a verse devoted to those who toiled to build the steel rail, while the foreboding ballad "Caught in the Crossfire" is told from the viewpoint of a child conflicted by his parents' divorce. These and three other originals -- including a classically styled bluegrass doomsday scenario, "One Step Ahead of the Blues," which features a harmony vocal by Alison Krauss, and a toe-tapping evocation of a homeward-bound trucker in "Ridin' the Red Line" -- demonstrate the impressive growth in the songwriting collaboration between Vincent and Herd and are of a piece with the exemplary covers here. Behind Vincent is a cast of superlative musicians, including guitarist Bryan Sutton, fiddlers Stuart Duncan and Aubrey Haynie (the latter on mandolin), and Vincent's brother Darrin (from Ricky Skaggs's Kentucky Thunder), who co-produces, plays bass, and adds lovely sibling harmonies. Heartbreak gets no deeper or more beautifully expressed than when the Vincents blend their voices on Webb Pierce's honky-tonk tear-jerker "The Pathway to Teardrops," but the most stirring moments come in a pair of religious numbers, the stately "Walking My Lord Up Calvary's Hill" and a stunning a cappella gospel quartet rendering of "Fishers of Men." And to put a fine point on the past informing the present, Vincent again closes with her rewrite of the theme song of the venerable Grand Ole Opry sponsor, "The Martha White Song." All that black leather can't hide the fact that Vincent's heart is always in the right place as she brings the ancient tones into the present. No one does it better.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Zac Johnson
Rhonda Vincent has so adeptly incorporated the sparkling production of the best contemporary bluegrass recordings with the heartfelt songwriting and passionate playing of the classic era of traditional bluegrass that her third album for Rounder hits that almost perfect balance: updated enough to not sound stuffy, but faithful enough to still sound honest. The leadoff track, "Kentucky Borderline," is an ol' fashioned train song along the lines of "Orange Blossom Special" or "Wabash Cannonball," and the title track (a duet with guest vocalist Alison Krauss) takes reverent cues from the Del McCoury Band in its tight harmonies and laid-back, bluesy solos. In context, the divorce-through-the-eyes-of-a-child song "Caught in the Crossfire" is only slightly maudlin, and the blistering trucker tribute "Ridin' the Red Line" is sung with such amphetamine-fueled conviction that very few female country singers could pull it off convincingly, but Vincent has the range (and the Rage) to perform both the dewy-eyed "Crossfire" and the fiery "Red Line" back to back. The group's warm, a cappella rendition of "Fishers of Men" is reminiscent of Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver's best gospel work, and their 20-second rip through the Martha White Flour song is a sly nod to Flatt & Scruggs and any other picker who has exchanged their music for a quick sponsorship to all of the "Health and Happiness" tonics throughout the years. Highlighted throughout by breakup waltzes, makeup stompers, '40s train songs, '70s trucker songs, and up-to-the-minute acoustic folk numbers, One Step Ahead is all over the place thematically, but right on the money stylistically.
Entertainment Weekly - Alanna Nash
This album... should bolster Vincent's reputation as the next big bluegrass star. (B+)
Billboard
What we have here is perfection.

Product Details

Release Date:
04/29/2003
Label:
Rounder / Umgd
UPC:
0011661049727
catalogNumber:
610497
Rank:
65301

Tracks

  1. Kentucky Borderline  - Rhonda Vincent
  2. You Can't Take It With You When You Go  - Rhonda Vincent
  3. One Step Ahead of the Blues  - Rhonda Vincent
  4. Caught in the Crossfire  - Rhonda Vincent
  5. Ridin' the Red Line  - Rhonda Vincent
  6. Pathway of Teardrops  - Rhonda Vincent
  7. An Old Memory (Found It's Way Back Home Again)  - Rhonda Vincent
  8. Missouri Moon  - Rhonda Vincent
  9. Walking My Lord Up Calvary's Hill  - Rhonda Vincent
  10. Fishers of Men  - Rhonda Vincent
  11. Frankie Belle  - Rhonda Vincent
  12. The Martha White Song  - Rhonda Vincent

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Rhonda Vincent   Primary Artist,Mandolin,Soloist,Vocal Harmony
Alison Krauss   Vocal Harmony
Sam Bush   Mandolin
Tom Adams   Banjo
Luke Bulla   Fid
Stuart Duncan   Fiddle
Aubrey Haynie   Fiddle,Mandolin
Jim Britton   Train Whistle
Darrin Vincent   Guitar,Acoustic Bass,Soloist,Vocal Harmony
Cody Kilby   Banjo,Guitar,Mandolin
Bryan Sutton   Guitar
Eric Wilson   Vocal Harmony
Aaron Minick   Box
Jamie Dailey   Vocal Harmony
David Smith   Acoustic Bass
Andy Leftwich   Mandolin
Ronnie Stewart   Banjo,Fiddle

Technical Credits

Rhonda Vincent   Composer,Producer
Melba Montgomery   Composer
Curtis Wright   Composer
Audie Blaylock   Composer
Ronnie Light   Engineer
Webb Pierce   Composer
Bil VornDick   Engineer
Wayne Walker   Composer
Randy Gardner   Engineer
Robert K. Oermann   Liner Notes
Darrin Vincent   Producer
Jerry Salley   Composer
Steve Chandler   Engineer
Eric Wilson   Engineer
Brando Marius   Engineer
Rudy Moody   Composer
Terry Herd   Composer
Becky Buller   Composer
Jennifer Strickland   Composer
R. Moody   Composer

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