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"Today I attended an intimate concert where my friend Travis Wetzel played fiddle and mandolin. For those of you not familiar with Travis, he is one of the finest fiddle players EVER! He should be a household name one of these days. He lives in Nashville and frequently plays with Jesse McReynolds’ band on the Grand Ole Opry. Travis is capable of playing Bluegrass fiddle, Irish fiddle, Western Swing fiddle - all played in a very authentic manner. His forte is jazzy swing in the manner made famous by Stéphane Grappelli, who held the fiddle chair in Django Reinhardt’s Quintette of the Hot Club of Paris.

Today’s concert was the odd combination of Bluegrass played by Travis and well known flat picker Orrin Star, and Jazz played by the 7-string Jazz Guitar master Bucky Pizzerelli, who has played with every major music performer from the mid-40s to today with Sir Paul McCartney. Ed Laub played rhythm guitar for Mr. Pizzarelli. Bucky asked Travis to sit in for some hot swinging jazz tunes. The music was transcendental - those beautiful Jazz guitar lines, and those Grappelli-like violin improvisations flowing off of Travis’ bow. I truly wish all of you music lovers could have been there with me in White Plains, NY for this event. DO NOT PASS UP AN OPPORTUNITY TO HEAR TRAVIS IF HE IS EVER IN YOUR AREA!"
- Mike Perry, fan

"That's BRAW! I'm lapping up yer fiddle playing, a fair bit o' Gypsy influence (or maybe that's just my ear, heh heh) ye have great style Laddie, ye make that box sing !!!"
- Mark Cosgrove, Scotland

"Travis Wetzel is a man to the fiddle what Dale Earnhardt Sr. was to stock car racing."
- Ben "Cooter" Jones, Dukes of Hazzard

"A Presenter knows they've done a great job when the audience wants to know when the artist performing is returning. That is what happened when Travis performed at the Philadelphia Museum of Art."
- Laura Henrich, Philadelphia Museum of Art

"He is versatile, original and thoroughly enjoyable."
- Ginger Lutke, The Dinning Sisters

"Working with Travis has been one of the highlights of my musical career. He is the greatest."
- Jesse McReynolds, Jim & Jesse

"He's phenomenal. One of the best fiddlers I've ever heard."
- Orrin Starr, Sultans of String, 1976 National Flatpicking Champion

"Electrifying concert performance. With every sinew in his lean muscular frame taut, Wetzel drove a furious energy into Klezmer dances with hypnotic fiddling and foot stomping percussion. The mesmerized audience responded with a standing ovation, cheering and cries of exultation."
- Review of May 2000 "Bluegrass & Swing Fiddle" Concert

"He's one fantastic fiddler... Power, drive, clarity, taste... Wetzel's fiddling...has a rich tonality and an unerring rhythmic sense."
- Bluegrass Unlimited

"'Huka-Hey' and 'Dance of War' are native American war dances which Wetzel performs on the fiddle with a passion springing from his Shawnee and Cherokee forebears."
- "Fiddlers on Fire" Concert Review

"He is an amazing talent."
- Larry Goldfarb, The Tin Angel

- Bluegrass ensemble puts on memorable show -

Singer/instrumentalist Rhonda Vincent and her band perform intricate arrangements of traditional and original material at the Scottish Rite Cathedral.

By Susan L. Peña
Reading Eagle Correspondent 

If bluegrass vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Rhonda Vincent is at home anywhere, it’s onstage. Performing since the age of 5 with her family’s Sally Mountain Show, Vincent has honed her talent to a fine point, which was on display Saturday night in the Scottish Rite Cathedral in a concert presented by the Star Series.

Aided by her comfortable, down-to-earth persona and her natural showmanship, Vincent put on a memorable show with her excellent band. Fiddler Hunter Berry, banjo legend Kenny Ingram, guitarist/vocalist Josh Williams and Mickey Harris on vocals and upright bass joined Vincent (on mandolin and fiddle) to create an ensemble that sparkles with speed and precision, in intricate arrangements of traditional and original bluegrass material.

Vincent’s voice is big and generous, often deeply expressive — perfect for up-tempo numbers such as her own “All American 

Bluegrass Girl” and “Drivin’ Nails in My Coffin Over You” or the lovely slow waltz “Prettiest Flower There” or the ballad “You Can’t Take It With You When You Go.”

Berry and Ingram took plenty of solos and were featured in songs they wrote; Vincent took up the fiddle now and then and played in tandem with Berry. Their musicianship was astounding.

Williams sang lead on several songs, including “Polka on the Banjo,” and he joined Harris, Ingram and Vincent for a vocal gospel quartet, “So Happy I’ll Be.”

Vincent invited an audience member to volunteer to provide the train whistles for “The Passing of the Train,” and an engaging high school sophomore named Cody complied.

They ended with “The Mule Skinner Blues,” which Vincent recorded when she was 9. 

Opening for Vincent was Berks County’s own East Side Dave and the Mountain Folk Band, giving a brief history of bluegrass with songs from the Revolutionary War era, the Depression, from Bill Monroe and contemporary styles.

Joining him were his son, Dane Kline, on bass; fiddler Travis Wetzel, whose astounding performance of the “Orange Blossom Special” was the evening’s highlight; Mike Hertzog on banjo; and Bob Entler on mandolin. Dave Kline provided guitar and vocals for a wonderful 30 minutes.