Rhonda Vincent

All American Bluegrass Girl

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Rhonda Vincent has stuck closer to tradition than Alison Krauss over the long run, and with a title like All American Bluegrass Girl, she seems quite happy to have done so. She remembers to touch all the right bases, covering religious material like "Jesus Built a Bridge to Heaven," closing with Roy Acuff's "Precious Jewel," and even dueting with Dolly Parton on "Heartbreaker's Alibi," and Bobby Osborne on "Midnight Angel." At the same time, songs like "Forever Ain't That Long Anymore" and "God Bless the Soldier," while built out of acoustic instruments, sound much more contemporary and radio-friendly. The latter song, a Vincent original, veers much closer to contemporary country than bluegrass, complete with unabashed (and cloying) patriotism. "Till They Come Home" is perhaps worse, with successive citizens happily leaving their significant other to fight for World War II, Vietnam, and Desert Storm. These songs are nonetheless partially redeemed by recognizing that women, like men, also serve in the military. Whatever the material, the musicianship on All American Bluegrass Girl is exceptional. Fiddler Stuart Duncan really gets a chance to stand out on ballads like the "Prettiest Flower There," while guitarist Bryan Sutton's workout on "Jesus Built a Bridge to Heaven" is phenomenal. While some listeners may be a bit perplexed by Vincent's glamour shot on the album's cover (complete with go-go boots), All American Bluegrass Girl delivers solid mainstream bluegrass that will please fans.

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