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THURSDAY, OCTOBER 27, 2005
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Rhonda Vincent's latest albums are 'Ragin' Live' with her band, The Rage, and 'One Step Ahead,' which took bluegrass Album of the Year honors. Her recent singles include 'I've Forgotten You' and 'If Heartaches Had Wings.'
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Rhonda Vincent's latest albums are "Ragin' Live" with her band, The Rage, and "One Step Ahead," which took bluegrass Album of the Year honors. Her recent singles include "I've Forgotten You" and "If Heartaches Had Wings."

Queen of bluegrass
Grammy winner to perform concert in Athens on Nov. 5

By Patrice Stewart
DAILY Staff Writer

pstewart@decaturdaily.com 340-2446

A former Athens resident now working in the Nashville music industry plans to bring contemporary bluegrass singer Rhonda Vincent to Limestone County for a Nov. 5 benefit.

Blake McDaniel says the "Queen of Bluegrass" is on a roll, so he booked her to roll into Athens Middle School auditorium for the 7 p.m. concert to benefit the National Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Brad Pullum, an Athens-Limestone country musician, will open, and guitars and other items autographed by Garth Brooks and other celebrities will be available during a silent auction.

Vincent's latest albums are "Ragin' Live" with her band, The Rage, and "One Step Ahead," which took bluegrass Album of the Year honors. Her recent singles include "I've Forgotten You" and "If Heartaches Had Wings."

Vincent, a 2004 Grammy winner who plays mandolin, guitar and fiddle, also pulled a step ahead with dozens of accolades such as Female Vocalist of the Year from the International Bluegrass Music Association and Entertainer of the Year from the Society for Preservation of Bluegrass Music in America.

Vincent sees bluegrass as the "sister music" of country music. The difference in contemporary bluegrass and country is that her type music "has a less produced sound, and individual musicianship is showcased more, which creates a more earthy sound that's really catching on with the public," she said.

McDaniel, who works in the music department of Creative Artists Agency in Nashville, booking concerts and handling other business, thought Vincent would be a good fit for an Athens concert because of its bluegrass and fiddlers' convention connections.

"I work with everything from rock to country to bluegrass," said the 1992 graduate of Athens High School. He majored in commercial music at the University of North Alabama and then earned a master's in business administration there.

"Rhonda's one of our artists, so I'm kind of bringing her home to Athens," he said.

He said Vincent, who lives in Missouri when she's not on the road, is taping an NBC Christmas Day special and is one of those followed by cameramen to be featured in the "A Day in the Life of the American Woman" segment for the "Today" show.

McDaniel said he and his wife, the former Jaime Sisk from Hartselle, "wanted to do something to help out — some sort of philanthropy in addition to our mentoring and reading with children," he said.

He and his wife also are training for a Leukemia/Lymphoma Society marathon to be held in Phoenix in January. "We thought it would be a great way to spend some time together and raise money, too," he said.

They chose the concert and marathon benefiting LL because one of her uncles, who lives in Texas, battles it and is currently in remission. "That kind of inspired us," McDaniel said.

Creative Artists Agency handles many television and film artists through its Los Angeles office. In Nashville, McDaniel helps book events for artists such as Dixie Chicks, Alan Jackson, Faith Hill, Amy Grant, Reba McEntire, Shania Twain, Randy Travis, Barbara Mandrell, Billy Bob Thornton, Loretta Lynn, Martina McBride, Leann Rimes and even Larry the Cable Guy.

For the benefit in Athens, McDaniel is using his contacts to get autographed items from celebrities for an auction.

He said a guitar to be auctioned will be autographed by Garth Brooks, Allison Krauss, Lee Greenwood, John Michael Montgomery, Loretta Lynn, Porter Wagoner, Little Jimmy Dickens, Willard Scott and others. There also will be items autographed items by Martina McBride, Toby Keith and more.

Concert tickets are $17 at the door, or $12 in advance from Jiffy Food Mart, Railroad Bazaar and WKAC radio office. Call 232-6827 for information.

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