My Kind of Country

Country music from a fan's point of view since 2008

Album Review: Rhonda Vincent & Daryle Singletary – ‘American Grandstand’

“Traditional country music is a whole different genre,” Vincent said. “A lot of people will say that there is not a market for traditional country music, but I know that is not true as it has its own niche. I did that traditional country album with Gene Watson not long ago, and I found out that there is a tremendous audience out there for traditional country music. Daryle and I have been doing shows together, and he is so much fun. When everybody hears this new album, they will know how special it is.” – Rhonda Vincent discussing American Grandstand. h/t That Nashville Sound

It’s hard to believe it’s been six years since Your Money and My Good Looks, which helped redefine Vincent’s pedigree beyond bluegrass. American Grandstand is a companion album of sorts to the project with Watson, a chance to recreate the magic all over again. Her friendship with Daryle Singletary goes back 23 years when they were labelmates on Giant Records. One of their earliest collaborations, a cover of Keith Whitley’s “Would These Arms Be In Your Way,” appeared on his self-titled debut album. They’ve collaborated frequently through the years, most recently on “We Must’ve Been Out of Our Minds,” from Vincent’s Only Me in 2014.

To say American Grandstand has been a long time coming is an understatement. With the timing finally right, they went into the studio to craft an album that mixes old and new, covers of classic duets interwoven amongst tracks newly-composed. A few of the duets may be oft-covered, but in the care of Vincent and Singletary, are as expertly executed as they’ve ever been. They tackle the mournful nature of “After The Fire Is Gone” with ease and extract the effervesce from “Golden Ring” without issue. “Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man” is a revelation, one of the strongest collaborative recordings I’ve heard in years.

They also surprise, with a stunning rendition of Merle Haggard and Bonnie Owens’ lesser-known “Slowly and Surely.” Also not as famous is George Jones and Tammy Wynette’s “One,” which the pair released in 1996. Vincent and Singletary’s serviceable take is the album’s lead single. Other surprises include Harlan Howard’s “Above and Beyond,” which they deliver flawlessly. A third Jones cover, “A Picture of Me (Without You)” is also very good. “Up This Hill and Down,” which originated with The Osborne Brothers, is excellent.

The remainder of the album consists of the new songs, which include a reprise of “We Must Be Out of Our Minds.” These tracks are all ballads, which varying degrees of tempo. “As We Kiss Our World Goodbye,” about the end of a relationship, feels like the kind of track Singletary would’ve recorded back in the mid-1990s. In any other era, “Can’t Live Life” would be cemented as a standard.

If you can believe it, the rest of the album only slightly pails in comparison to the title track, which showcases Vincent as a songwriter (she wrote it solo). The spellbinding ballad is a grand finale of sorts, detailing the tale of duet partners preparing for their final show and the emotions attached to such an ending. I love how Vincent presents the well-worn themes in a new and exciting light.

American Grandstand is everything you would expect from a Vincent and Singletary collaboration, yet it’s even more deeply satisfying than you could even imagine. In a rare move, they actually sang together in the studio, at the instance of Singetary, who knew immediately that recording separately wasn’t going to work. The pair were born to sing together, even if Vincent’s power overtakes Singletary’s understated charm on occasion. He sounds to me like a modern day incarnation of Whitley, with a voice that has deepened over the years. It proves that Whitley’s influence continues to this day, which only makes this record even more special and essential.

I cannot recommend American Grandstand enough.

Grade: A+

6 responses to “Album Review: Rhonda Vincent & Daryle Singletary – ‘American Grandstand’

  1. Dan Quill (formerly of WOKQ-FM) July 6, 2017 at 10:12 am

    RADIO is Killing Country. HIJACKED! Hip-Hop-Ified REPLACEMENT for Country is ALL we have on-the-air now. I WAS IN Country Music Radio (70’s-90’s). Now, it’s just Hip-Hop. A GENERATION (or so) is thinking THAT’S Country ! The “Metrics” that influence the Industry ALREADY Impact CMA and ACM’s.

    To Rhonda Vincent’s point, Yes, there COULD BE a market for Country — We need a Venue/Platform to OFFER/PRESENT “The Product”.

    WHERE Can we Present it ?

    The INTERNET does, of course, come to mind.
    And so does “Music Choice”.
    They DO a “Classic Country” channel — but it’s “George and Tammy”, “Conway and Loretta”, “Kenny and Dottie/Dolly”, Merle and Johnny Cash. YOU Know!

    Can They be Persuaded to either DO a Country Channel?
    Possibly Mix In Contemp. Country?


    THANKS for Reading !
    (978) 462-2288
    (978) 578-8744 (Mo.)

  2. Razor X July 6, 2017 at 2:36 pm

    Looking forward to giving this one a listen.

  3. Occasional Hope July 8, 2017 at 12:42 pm

    Great album – I’d be very surprsised if this didn’t end up in my top 10 at the end of the year.

  4. Cathy Bell July 20, 2017 at 7:16 pm

    This is absolutely the best Country Album to come out in years. Rhonda Vincent and Daryle Singletary blend perfectly together. Daryle’s voice is so good. I’m quite surprised Daryle never became a superstar anyway. But he might now! Both are amazing talents! Go buy the album today!

  5. Paul W Dennis July 21, 2017 at 1:10 am

    It’s a very good album

  6. Pingback: Occasional Hope’s top 10 albums of 2017 | My Kind of Country

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