One Step Ahead

( 5 )

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David McGee
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...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David McGee
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.
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.

This album... should bolster Vincent's reputation as the next big bluegrass star. (B+)
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 4/29/2003
  • Label: Rounder / Umgd
  • UPC: 011661049727
  • Catalog Number: 610497
  • Sales rank: 200,070

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
Hank Williams Mastering
R. Moody Composer
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 5 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Rhonda's Revival!

    Vincent, Rhonda Vincent to the recording studio STAT!!! <<<>>> Bluegrass is about to flat line!!! <<< >>> Vocals! Mandolin! Banjo! Guitar! Fiddle! Bass! <<< >>> Just when I was about to pull the plug on REAL country and bluegrass music, Rhonda Vincent arrives with the cure! “One Step Ahead”, Vincent’s hot off the presses project, is a spectacular combination of EVERYTHING needed to revitalize Nashville’s music row! <<< >>> From trains to pains, love to loss, Missouri memories and more, “One Step Ahead” contains something for every listener. Each song means something and adds a beautiful twist to Vincent’s long awaited CD. <<< >>> As the album opens a “Mighty L and N” heads to the Kentucky borderline carrying a perfect load of bluegrass breakdown. The ride gains momentum as Vincent pulls at the heartstrings and unloads the powerful warning that you can’t take it with you when you go, a message about love that leaves her only one step ahead of the blues. <<< >>> Lightening strikes and hearts are caught in the crossfire as divorce is seen through the eyes of a child, but the ride blazes onward! Vincent trades in her engine for an 18-wheeler and lays that pedal down. Ridin’ the red line down the pathway of teardrops, Vincent tries to out run an old memory, but with no such luck; that rig lands her right in the memory packed glow of the Missouri moon. <<< >>> Teeming with emotion Vincent confirms her gospel roots and, like no one else can, belts out the classic “Walking My Lord Up Calvary’s Hill”. Keeping in the four part harmony tradition that bluegrass holds dear, Vincent, with some of the finest harmony singers in the business, lays down the brand new, a cappella track Fishers of Men, beautiful, simply beautiful! <<< >>> Now, add the energy of a hard drivin’ instrumental, written by a ten year old fiddle prodigy and a new, short, but powerfully sweet advertisement for veteran Opry sponsor Martha White, and the result is perfection, pure perfection! <<< >>> After her “The Storm Still Rages” project, fans must have wondered how Vincent could ever create an album of equal caliber or potential success, but she has done it! She’s given a new sound to a classic style of music, all the while keeping it real! <<< >>> When it comes to remembering how bluegrass was and how it needs to be, Rhonda Vincent really is “One Step Ahead”!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    NOT A FAN OF BLUEGRASS

    I was listening to netscape and heard "IF HEARTACHE HAD WINGS" and loved it. I purchased the album the same day and expected to only like that one track as it was categorized as bluegrass and I'm not a fan of bluegrass. Well, I was in for a surprise, I loved the entire cd and can't get enough of it. My 21 year old daughter loved it too.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    What a find!

    I happened on this CD by chance while browsing in the stores. I'm partial to Alison Kraus, and this CD gave me the same sweet sounds. There is a little something here for everyone: fast pace, toe-tapping, ballards, you name it. My favorites were "Missouri Moon" and the heart-wrenching "Caught in the Crossfire". "Fishers of Men" kept playing in my head for weeks afterwards. I loved this album, but I wish the songs were longer.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Her wonderful voice is used to its full potential

    As I expand my vocabulary - so to speak - of Bluegrass music, the more I am pleased with it. For every mediocre album that comes out, two or three really good ones make up for it. Since I have been expanding my 'vocabulary' only recently, this is the first time I have heard of Rhonda Vincent. You may be thinking something along the lines of: 'What?! You've never heard of Rhonda Vincent?!' I know, I know, I realize how much I have been missing. But, let me tell you, this is one of those really good albums... Even though Rhonda isn't one of those hot pickers, she is pretty darn good anyway, and makes up for any defect of playing with her wonderful voice, which is used to its full potential. The first track exercises the rip-snorting (is that a good description word for singing?) side of her voice, by way of a train song 'Kentucky Borderline', co-written by Rhonda Vincent. Following this, 'You Can't Take it With You When You Go' is a fine example of (as described by Bill Jolliff) 'lost love and bad weather' laments, therefore, it is slow. With such a voice, you know Rhonda must be in league with some singers like herself. So, it isn't surprising that Alison Krauss joins her as a special guest on 'One Step Ahead of the Blues', the third track, also co-written by Rhonda. 'Caught in the Crossfire', 'Riding the Red Line', and 'Pathway of Tears' add themselves to the repertoire, followed by two nostalgic songs about memories, 'An Old Memory Found its Way Back', and 'Missouri Moon', written by Jennifer Sutton. As well as sad love songs, good bluegrass albums also have their share of Gospels. 'Walking My Lord Up Calvary's Hill', a lilting waltz, and an inspiring a cappella: 'Fishers of Men' make up this album's gospel tune section. As I've mentioned before, instrumentals are an essential part of bluegrass as well. This instrumental 'Frankie Belle' starts out with Rhonda on mando, and then is joined by Molly Cherryholmes on Fiddle, doing a break in unison, and then as each instrument filters in, Ronnie Stewart and Bryon Sutton show their stuff on guitar and banjo. Now, just because Rhonda doesn't absolutely blow you away with her picking, doesn't mean that she is not an excellent player, or that none of the other musicians can, either. With Stuart Duncan, Ronnie Stewart, Luke Bulla, Molly Cherryholmes, and Aubrey Haynie on fiddle, Ronnie Stewart, Cody Kilby, and Tom Adams on banjo, Bryan Sutton, Aubrey Haynie, Cody Kilby, and Darrin Vincent on acoustic guitar, the album already has accomplished what few albums have with that arrangement of fine musicians. It doesn't end there, however. Aubrey Haynie, Cody Kilby, and Sam Bush join Rhonda on mandos, and Darrin Vincent accompanies on bass during all of the songs, with the exception of one, which features David Smith. Also honorably mentioned: Mike Johnson on pedalbro, and Aaron Minick on the wallet box. The album ends with a 25 second commercial for Martha White Flour, rightfully named: 'The Martha White Song'. Properly done, as well, with a fiddle introduction. To sum things up, (finally) the only thing that I don't really like about this album is the song lengths: They are too short, only two-three minutes long. The longest one claims three minutes and 45 seconds, therefore you have to listen to the song three or four times before you get your thoughts arranged enough to put them into a review! I noticed that this album has, in actuality, been out since April! But for those of you who do not already claim an acquaintance with this album, I advise you get to the nearest music store, or the nearest computer, whatever kind of person you are, and get 'One Step Ahead'. (As the credits (co-writings and such) were not listed in the jewel case, I had to look them up. (Anna Snook, reviewer, Nwbluegrass Yahoogroup)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Same focus and intensity of her highly-acclaimed bluegrass projects that have gone before

    Rhonda Vincent hails from Missouri where she grew up performing with her family band, The Sally Mountain Show. She began singing professionally at age five in 1967 on her family's weekly TV show. At that same young age, she began playing mandolin, and she can now play all the bluegrass instruments. This Missouri state fiddle champ recorded eleven albums with the Sally Mountain Show and six solo albums before age 30. For over a decade (about 1985-98), she was involved in the country music scene, performing with Grand Ole Opry Star Jim Ed Brown and recording two projects for Giant Records. In 1998, she returned to her bluegrass roots when she formed Rhonda Vincent and the Rage. The following year, Rhonda performed on Dolly Parton's award-winning album "The Grass is Blue." Rhonda then released bluegrass albums "Back Home Again" and "The Storm Still Rages." Rhonda was three times the IBMA Female Vocalist of the Year (2000-2002). In 2001, she won the IBMA Entertainer of the Year Award, and in 2002, she was inducted into the George D. Hay Country Music Hall of Fame in Arkansas. When Rhonda Vincent came to that fateful fork in the road in 1998, she made the right choice to take the high, lonesome road - the one she'd traveled many times before called bluegrass lane. Now, I believe that she's has found her true musical home and niche as her stardom continues to build. She once commented that she had taken charge of the music she was playing. "One Step Ahead" showcases a confident, seasoned and committed artist with a great deal of talent and business savy. Her brother, Darrin Vincent, sings soaring harmonies on the album. Stuart Duncan, Aubrey Haynie and Bryan Sutton are sterling session musicians who also assist. However, their flashy melodic licks never steal the spotlight from Rhonda's soprano. The banjo kicks the opening cut of Vincent's original "Kentucky Borderline" which has the band driving for a bluegrass state of mind. Contemplative acoustic country is the best way of describing "You Can't Take It With You When You Go." The album's bluesy title cut is a Rhonda Vincent composition with a theme that is commonplace in bluegrass music. The story of a child experiencing the divorce of parents is told in "Caught in the Crossfire." A trucker's song, "Ridin' the Red Line," is a homecoming song of pedal to the metal. Twin fiddles and vocal harmony are the strengths of the lovely waltz "Pathway of Teardrops." Things you can't even see sometimes reappear even after throwing away old love letter and photos in "An Old Memory Found Its Way Back." Nostalgically singing of love back home, Vincent's rendition of "Missouri Moon" is acoustic country at its best. A moderate waltz-time is imparted to Wilma Lee Cooper's gospel standard, "Walking My Lord Up Calvary's Hill." The band's a cappella gospel quartet is nicely blended on "Fishers of Men." The album's solid all-instrumental offering, "Frankie Belle," showcases the band's adroit picking with fiddle prodigy Molly Cherryholmes. The album closes with a 25-second version of the "Martha White Song," a tribute to her tour sponsor who has saluted Rhonda as one of the company's "Legends of American Music." The bottomline is that Rhonda Vincent has created a long-term vision for her music. She's shared her view with others, assembled a band, and has translated her strategic thinking into action. This album clearly shows that she recognizes her major strengths lie in bluegrass. She's a top-notch artist who is very easy to embrace. In fact, I'd like to give her a big hug for this latest project. "One Step Ahead" maintains that same focus and intensity of her highly-acclaimed bluegrass projects that have gone before. (Joe Ross, staff writer, Bluegrass Now)

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