A well rounded production
from Rounder Records, "One Step Ahead" is loaded to the brim with talent. It was
produced by Darrin Vincent & Rhonda Vincent. The album was Mixed by Bil
Vorndick, Darrin Vincent and Rhonda Vincent (is there anything this gal can't do?) and
Mastered by Hank Williams at Mastermix, Nashville. Top noted guest appearances from
country greats such as Alison Krauss who chimes in harmony on the title song, "One
Step Ahead of the Blues". You take all of this and add a host of talented musicians
and you have nothing less than a sure fired HIT on your hands.
As for the song writers;
Rhonda co-wrote 5 of the 12 songs (many with brother, Darrin Vincent), 2 songs are old
standards, "Pathway of Teardrops" by Webb Pierce, June Hazlewood and Wayne
Walker and "An Old Memory Found Its Way Back" by Melba Montgomery and Jerry
Salley, which Rhonda sings with a heart full of ache that adds that much more credibility
to the compositions.
Rhonda said, "This
project was more challenging than any project I've put together before. Challenging
because of a continuing touring schedule and the task of creating a new album that will
exceed the escalating expectations. Add to the equation the desire to write new material
and the juggling of the schedules of stellar musicians, studios and engineers, along with
the schedule of my co-producer, Darrin Vincent, who is a member of the Grammy - Award
winning group Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder. Special thanks to all who shared their
time and talents in the creation of our musical vision."
"One Step Ahead"
is labeled "Bluegrass" but after listening to the montage of songs and styles of
Rhonda Vincent, I don't believe one label is satisfactory to describe her music. Rhonda
has her own style of Bluegrass which melds traditional "classic" country along
with down-home Bluegrass and creates creates the sweetest sound that can only be
"pure Rhonda". Fans of any genre will welcome this CD into their homes and I
predict it will spend a great deal of time on the stereo, in their computers, cars or
wherever they may be, to play over and over for years to come.
I would be remiss if I
didn't point out that the ballads on this album are all A-1 hits! Rhonda has the voice and
depth of feeling that melts right into the heartache of a song, making it her heartache...
as a listener, it's as though she is singing your pain. As a ballad lover from way back,
these are by far my favorite songs on the album... then again, another song plays... all
upbeat and toe-tappin' and I'm out of the dumps and back on top of the world again.
"One Step Ahead" takes you on a rollercoaster ride of emotions that leaves you
breathless and ready to get right back in line for more.
A truly great album is one
that you never tire of, one that will last over and above other recordings for generations
to come, becoming one of the "standards" that other recording artists will later
use to measure for their own perfection. That puts "One Step Ahead" one
step up on the ladder of the legends of tomorrow.
© Marlene Slater (Marli)
My Kind of Country