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 Reinhardts Quintette of the Hot Club of Paris.
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 !!!"
Wetzel is a man to the fiddle what Dale Earnhardt Sr. was to stock
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."
versatile, original and thoroughly enjoyable."
Travis has been one of the highlights of my musical career. He is the greatest."
phenomenal. One of the best fiddlers I've ever heard."
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."
fantastic fiddler... Power, drive, clarity, taste... Wetzel's
fiddling...has a rich tonality and an unerring rhythmic sense."
and 'Dance of War' are native American war dances which Wetzel
performs on the fiddle with a passion springing from his Shawnee and
"He is an
- 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
If bluegrass vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Rhonda Vincent is at home anywhere, its onstage. Performing since the age of 5 with her familys 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.
Vincents 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 Cant 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 Ill 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 Countys 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 evenings highlight; Mike Hertzog on banjo; and Bob Entler on mandolin. Dave Kline provided guitar and vocals for a wonderful 30 minutes.