Rhonda Vincent & co. prove at WCU they are absolutely all the rage

Rhonda Vincent & The Rage! From left to right, Hunter Berry, Brent Burke, Sally Berry, Rhonda Vincent, Mickey Harris, Josh Williams, Aaron MCDavis. Photo by Alec Simkiss.

Rhonda Vincent & The Rage is as American and comforting as apple pie, offering the audience dazzling entertainment through the night with a pleasant atmosphere.

Vincent & co. performed Feb. 24 at the Bardo Arts Center.

Dubbed the “new queen of bluegrass,” Rhonda Vincent found her claim to fame when she was a child in her family’s band, “The Sally Mountain Show,” and has continued her career for four decades. Vincent has been named “Entertainer of the Year” by the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass music for 15 years, and “Female Vocalist of the Year” for over 20 years.

Vincent truly is the queen of Bluegrass, perfectly blending its parents genres of country and jazz to create complex musical compositions filled with comforting, homey platitudes. The tracks dug into life living alongside the railroad tracks, moving past old lovers, and gospel.

Their instrumentation showcased each of the members incredible talent, each taking their own bars of music to improvise in almost every song. What stuck out most was their impressive musicianship, and gut-wrenchingly gorgeous vocal harmonies.

Guitarist Josh Williams opening up about his past alcoholism through a solo cover. Photo by Alec Simkiss.

Throughout the show, the members related to the audience with stories both hilarious and sad, bringing a sense of authenticity to the group and their individuality. One of the guitarists, Josh Williams, before playing solo spoke about how he was asked to leave the band in 2007 due to alcoholism and came back in 2013. Hunter Berry, the fiddler, joked about the different between a fiddle and a violin.

Vincent brought up a story about how she once opened for a famous country singer for a county fair back in the ‘90s and because of the headliner had perks to free fair food, and had too much cotton candy so she was sick for her performance. Everything was conversational and informal, and even after the show, the musicians met up with fans for free autographs and handshakes.

Brent Kinser reunited with old friend, Rhonda Vincent. Photo by Alec Simkiss.

Audience members were in for a surprise when English department head, Brent Kinser, was called upon the stage. As it turns out, Vincent and Kinser are old childhood friends who grew up only blocks away from each other. According to Vincent, Kinser is “one hell of a guitar player” and tried to get him to play with them on stage, but Kinser politely said he hadn’t touched one in years and didn’t feel comfortable. Still, Kinser stayed up on stage to provide vocals for a section of a song. Part of this song is seen here:

Audience member Austin Hedden, said he really enjoyed the show.

“I hadn’t heard of the artist before, but the show was really well laid out,” said Hedden.

This story was updated on Monday, March 6 to correct the spelling of Austin Hedden’s name and his direct quote.