Rhonda Vincent - Taken
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Taken (Upper Management, 2010)

Rhonda Vincent

Reviewed by Donald Teplyske

Having recorded a string of popular albums for Rounder since 2000, Rhonda Vincent went the independent route with her latest . Undoubtedly one of the most successful bluegrass artists of the past decade, Vincent's recorded output has been of a consistent caliber. Unlike some contemporaries, Vincent has earnestly embraced overt country-pop overtones, frequently to her detriment. On "Taken," this is most apparent in the syrupy arrangement of the title track; the unnecessary addition of 80s feathered-coiffed, pop star Richard Marx only adds to the misery.

Vincent's propensity toward saccharine aside, "Taken" is a respectable, mainstream bluegrass album. The lead track, the Mike O'Reilly-penned Court of Love, sets a high standard, with The Rage - Vincent's long-time backing group - presenting strong evidence of their mastery within the genre. The band-written road epic Ragin' Live For You Tonight contains several in-house references that may be appreciated by those attuned to the band.

God is Watching, from bassist Mickey Harris, possesses a classic, bluegrass gospel sound highlighted by the band's trademark vocal precision and serves as a true highlight.

Not everything is as successful. Bluegrass is a music of passion and fervor, and songs like the meandering When the Bloom Is Off the Rose and pedantic A Little At a Time lack the excitement and depth that the best of bluegrass provides. You Must Have a Dream, a clunky number augmented by a children's chorus, defies reason.

"Taken" is an album for the Age of the Download: listen to online snippets, and decided for yourself what to purchase. The devoted Rhonda Vincent fan-base may want the entire disc, but those who are discerning will be selective in the tracks they purchase.


CDs by Rhonda Vincent

All the Rage Volume One, 2016 Christmas Time, 2015 Only Me, 2014 Sunday Mornin' Singin' Live, 2012 Taken, 2010 Destination of Life, 2009 Good Thing Going, 2008 Beautiful Star: A Christmas Collection, 2006 All American Bluegrass Girl, 2006


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