The Storm Still Rages (Rounder)
Rhonda Vincent

By Bob Mitchell

There is not a wasted note or weak track on this highly polished release. Once again, Vincent has surrounded herself with some of the best musicians in the business and immersed herself in some of the finest traditional country classics. When she picks up the mandolin, she means business and her business is to provide a listener with the absolute best in Bluegrass music. Her vocals are pure and powerful.

Perhaps the word that best describes this project is energetic. She sets a fierce pace with a hard-driving brand of Bluegrass and the band has its hands full trying to keep up. But they do keep up and they do it in a way that leaves the listener nearly breathless. An extraordinary solo or two is the common ingredient for each cut. Tom Adams, banjo, and Brian Sutton, guitar, are simply outstanding. Ron Stewart, Aubrey Haney, Stuart Duncan and Louisville's own Mike Cleveland provide incredible fiddle work.

In addition to new material, Vincent gives us excellent covers for such classics as Hank Williams' "My Sweet Love Ain't Around," Ernest Tubb's "Driving Nails In My Coffin'" and "Bluegrass Express" from the Osborne Brothers. "Is The Grass Any Bluer On The Other Side?" is a testament to the lasting musical influence of Bill Monroe and the twin fiddles of Duncan and Cleveland are about as sweet as it gets. One of my favorite tracks is a cover of Carl Story's "You Don't Love God If You Don't Love Your Neighbor." Jim Mills' three-finger guitar work is first-rate. Throughout this recording, Vincent gets very fine harmony from bassist Darrin Vincent. Rob Ickes' resophonic guitar lends support on several cuts, but he is at his best in "On Solid Ground." When it comes to heartbreak, Vincent sings with as much feeling as one can put in a song. This is especially evident in her covers of Carl Jackson and Melba Montgomery's tear-jerker, "I'm Not Over You," and Hank Williams' "My Sweet Love Ain't Around."