Ramblin' Rhodes

Stroll down memory lane with music columnist Don Rhodes.

Ramblin' Rhodes: Vincent to wrap up bluegrass series

Rhonda Vincent performs "Heartbreakers Alibi" with special guest Dolly Parton.
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Bluegrass music star Rhonda Vincent doesn’t yet have an official name for her all-gospel DVD/CD package due out this summer, but a good title might be Let There Be Light!

Rhonda Vincent  SPECIAL
SPECIAL
Rhonda Vincent

She talked about the recording and filming of that project earlier this week from her home near Nashville, Tenn.

At 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 10, at Imperial Theatre, Vincent and her band The Rage wrap up the 2011-2012 Morris Southern Soul & Song series. Tickets are $24, $19 and $13. Call (706) 722-8341 or buy online at imperialtheatre.com.

“We made plans to record and film my all-gospel DVD and CD last June in my home church in Greentop, Mo.,” Vincent said. “We were faced with a lot of different challenges. It was over 100 degrees, and my church is more than 100 years old and doesn’t have air-conditioning.

“To complicate matters, there was a storm the night before, and there was no electricity in several counties. We had long scheduled a film crew and a recording crew for three days, and we had special guests who had driven hundreds of miles.”

The day was saved by Vincent’s bass player, Mickey Harris, and a friend, Jim Goodman, who went to a home supply store, bought $1,500 worth of electrical cables and wired what they needed to the generator of Vincent’s Martha White Express tour bus.

“It probably was just as well it happened that way,” Vincent said, “because the church only has two electrical outlets and, most likely, that wouldn’t have worked. We filmed five songs with the lights off and are using some of that footage in our video.”

Vincent has been associated with the Martha White flour company for 10 years. The company for many decades has sponsored a portion of the Grand Ole Opry radio program on WSM-AM, including the segment hosted for many years by bluegrass legends Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs.

“I recorded The Martha White theme song and wrote the company and told them how I grew up in Missouri listening to the Martha White show on WSM and that I taught my daughters (Sally and Tensel) how to cook using Martha White products.”

That led to the long association of Martha White as a financial and media sponsor of Vincent and her band. She is proud of being a spokesperson for a company that has such a positive and reputable public image.

“I don’t drink so it wouldn’t make sense to represent a whiskey company or anything else I don’t believe in,” she said. “Some people will do it for the money, but I can’t. Martha White was a part of my life growing up, and now they’re part of about every thing we do.”

Just in case you don’t know it, dear readers, Martha White was named for the real daughter, Martha, of Richard Lindsey who started the company in 1899. It is based in Memphis, Tenn.

Last August, Martha White hosted a breakfast for members of the U.S. military at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and arranged for Vincent to sing The Star-Spangled Banner.

“That was one of the greatest highlights of my career,” she said, “getting to perform at Pearl Harbor for our military service men and women. That was one of my favorite quests that Martha White has sent us on.”

Vincent’s latest CD, Taken, was the first project for her own label, Upper Management Music. It features guest vocalists Dolly Parton and Richard Marx and band musicians Aaron McDaris on banjo, Hunter Berry (Vincent’s son-in-law) on fiddle, Mickey Harris on bass, Ben Helson on guitar and Vincent on mandolin.

At the Augusta show Feb. 10, fans also will get to see new band member Brent Burke on resonator guitar.

Among Vincent’s new recording projects is a duet called Your Money and My Good Looks recorded with country music star Gene Watson.

“I thought I was just recording harmony for the master track on part of the song,” Vincent said. “But the producer said, ‘Let’s start over, and you sing all the way through the song.’ I later got a version sent by e-mail with a note saying, ‘Here is your new duet with Gene Watson.’”

Vincent’s first meeting with Watson came about in a strange way.

“I was scheduled to sing the Buck Owens/Ray Charles song Together Again with him on the Grand Ole Opry being televised live,” she related.

“My plane was late, and I got to the Opry House just as he was going on the air. I had not rehearsed the song with Gene or even met him. I literally walked on stage and sang the song with him and then met him later!”

CAREY MURDOCK REMINDER: North Augusta-reared singer and songwriter Carey Murdock, now living in Nashville, returns to the area for an acoustic concert at 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 4, in Lookaway Hall at Georgia and Carolina Avenues in North Augusta. Tickets are $7.


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