Music: Rhonda Vincent's 'Good Thing Going'

January 9, 2008 12:19:07 PM PST
The title song of Rhonda Vincent's latest CD, "Good Thing Going," tells of a couple who offer thanks for the blessings in their lives, despite the occasional struggles. But the title just as aptly reflects this Missouri bluegrass singer's musica lattitude.

One of the most awarded artists in bluegrass in the last eight years, Vincent clearly plans to stick to straight-ahead, tradition-based mountain music. She eschews drums, letting her accomplished acoustic accompanists provide the drive and rhythm. And boy do they: When they cut loose on the opening "I'm Leavin"' or scale dramatic heights on the soaring "Scorn of a Lover," they set the bar for how powerful traditional bluegrass can still sound in the 21st Century.

Vincent does throw a few new wrinkles into "Good Thing Going," her sixth album since signing with Rounder Records in 2000. She's writing more, and the five originals she contributes are among the album's best. She's just as good when updating the beautiful folk song, "The Water Is Wide," with help from duet partner Keith Urban. The same is true on the occasional sidestep, as on the gently swinging "World's Biggest Fool," where Vincent shows the sprightlier side of her sweet, clear-toned voice.

CHECK THIS OUT: Vincent has a reputation for plucking hidden gems from the catalogs of bluegrass heroes, as she does with a barn-burning take on the late Jimmy Martin's "Hit Parade of Love." Vincent and her road band, The Rage, tear through it with a reckless force that Martin would have loved.