Saturday, October 30, 2004
Rhonda Vincent and the RageHer biography is almost hard to read, like reading about Wayne Gretzky. She started playing when she was five years old -- music, not hockey -- and by age six was the drummer in the family band. So if you're a kid, 15 years old, and you're thinking of learning an instrument and you read something like this your heart is just going to sink. "Only fifteen years old, and already ten years behind."
She has 21 albums out and has been a guest on 29 others. She has 9 videos to her credit and began winning awards in 1973, when she was the Missouri State Fiddle Champion; 38 more have followed, both instrumental and vocal, including a Grammy in 2004. The Wall Street Journal called her the "Queen of Bluegrass." Which might say as much for them as for her. She is an innovator, the first woman to break from traditional forms into a more complex and faster-paced instrumental style, and writing her own music in the process. Her latest CD is rightly named One Step Ahead, on the Rounder Records label.
Prudence JohnsonShe was a founding member of the jazz ensemble Rio Nido, with whom she recorded three albums, one of which, High Fly, is still available on cassette from Red House Records. She stepped out on her own with Vocals, a successful debut bringing on board some 30 musicians from various facets of the Twin Cities music scene, plus an appearance in there by Manhattan Transfer.
She recorded three albums on her own and did two tours to the Soviet Union—one with Women Who Cook, and the other with The Good Life, her own band. She appeared on stage in the Steven Dietz play, Ten November (Actor's Theater of Saint Paul), in The All Night Strut (Music Box Theater, Minneapolis), and in Gershwin's The Klezmer (San Diego Repertory Theatre). She also had a cameo role in Robert Redford's A River Runs Through It.
Lovingly selected from the earliest archives of A Prairie Home Companion, this heirloom collection represents the music from earliest years of the now legendary show: 1974–1976. With songs and tunes from jazz pianist Butch Thompson, mandolin maestro Peter Ostroushko, Dakota Dave Hull and the first house band, The Powdermilk Biscuit Band (Adam Granger, Bob Douglas and Mary DuShane).