Rhonda Vincent and the Rage. (LtoR: Hunter Berry, Brent Burke, Rhonda Vincent, Mickey Harris, Josh Williams, Aaron McDaris.
There is a reason why Rhonda Vincent is the Queen of Bluegrass, except classifying her as just a bluegrass performer is like telling a world-class chef he or she is just a cook.
Appearing last night at the indoor theatre at Roanoke Island Festival Park with her band the Rage, Vincent and the band put on a show that crossed genres and decades.
A consummate professional, Rhonda Vincent is pure energy on stage and her band plays off that delivering a performance that is as high-powered and dynamic as a rock show—without the drums and electronic volume.
What makes it all work is Vincent is an amazing musician; that becomes clear when she sings with a full-throated alto voice that hits every note with authority. She is a gifted mandolin player, her leads lightening quick and precise. She also picked up a guitar for a few songs and even played fiddle.
It is the Rage, though, that brings it all together.
It doesn't hurt that Hunter Berry, the fiddle player, and Brent Burke on dobro are married to Vincent’s daughters—but this is not a case of nepotism. These are musicians who could be making it anywhere. The same goes for Mickey Harris on standup bass, Aaron McDaris on banjo and Josh Williams on guitar.
It does need to be mentioned, however, that the primary instrument is only one instrument they play in performance. Accept for Mickey Harris everyone plays at least one other instrument and sometimes two or three.
The show was entitled an Intimate Evening with Rhonda Vincent and for anyone who has seen Vincent perform in large venues, this was a completely different show. The music was pretty much the same, although there did seem to be a bit more variety; but this was much more relaxed performer on stage, clearly delighting in being able to interact with the audience.