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Rhonda Vincent - Beautiful Star: A Christmas Collection
Review By Jim Moulton, CSO Staff Journalist

I fell in love with Vincent's music after getting an advance of One Step Ahead in 2003. I reviewed that and several other albums of hers including earlier work, an old Giant Country CD from the ninety's, Written In The Stars. I found something special about her and also, she was a professing Christian.

Her last disc, All American Bluegrass Girl, she left her formula for success (recording engineer Bill VornDick and his Sound Control Studio). She opened her own studio called "Adventures Studio", manned by M Latterell. The advance I got sounded pretty bad and I let them know about it. Thought it was a gliche, it wasn't, it was how the final disc sounded, full of distortion and just not a good recording, using mostly her road band.

I just got her Christmas CD and have to say it is a much improved product, using four other recording engineers and studios besides Adventures. There still is some distortion, but the music is generally much better. The main reason I decided to review this disc is Bryan Sutton, his excellent guitar playing is on almost every track, plus Vincent's vocals are great. Honestly, not generally a fan of Christmas records. I expected more Christian songs, there are only three out of the twelve song set. The rest is the typical holiday gamut like "Let it Snow". 

Some of the songs are hokey, but the musicians are serious, especially Sutton and Vincent. I could listen to this just for Bryan's pickin'. Another surprise is Weber guitars let them borrow a handmade archtop guitar for the project that Sutton plays some excellent jazz guitar on, especially the incredible swing version of the Christmas standard "The Christmas Song", just Sutton on The Weber, Kevin Grant on upright bass and Bob Patin on piano. Very slow and sultry with a great performance by Vincent, never heard this song done better. Sutton is incredible on his jazz guitar, wow, the punchy bass and piano. 

I feel bad for Sutton having to play "Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree", but he steals the song with some jazzy rock licks from the Weber, similar to "Rock Around The Clock".

"Beautiful Star Of Bethlehem" - Sounds great with harmony from brother Darrin who helped her produce the album as usual. 

"Let It Snow" - This has that swing sound with Randy Kohrs on Resophonic. Nice fiddle by Luke Bulla.

"Silent Night" is very beautiful. Rhonda at her best. Jeff and Sheri Easter on harmony. Bryan takes a real pretty break, harmonizing with mandolin player Adam Steffey.

Another great song is "Away In a Manger" with Amber Burks on Harp, Mark Casstevens on acoustic guitar, harmony vocals Sharon White Skaggs and Cheryl White. This is a beautiful recording, must have been recorded at one of the other facilities.

Well, that's all. This is a pretty good Christmas record, especially if you like some great guitar and it's a Christmas party type listen for the most part.

Imprint - Rounder
Street Date - Oct., 17, 06

Click on the CD cover to order yours!

1. Christmas Time at Home 
2. Christmas Song 
3. Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree 
4. Beautiful Star of Bethlehem 
5. Christmas Time's a Comin' 
6. Let It Snow 
7. Silent Night 
8. Oh Christmass Tree 
9. Winter Wonderland 
10. Jingle Bells 
11. Away in a Manager 
12. Twelve Days of Christmas 

Related Links:  
Official Website  

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