August 5, 2017

Ray Stevens CabaRay Nashville...Rhonda Vincent...

It's an almost fall like night here as I put together my first fan-created blog entry of the month. Oh yes, it's a Saturday night and that means that I'm fresh off the latest episode of Ray Stevens CabaRay Nashville. On tonight's episode the guest star happened to be Rhonda Vincent...introduced by Ray as The Queen of Bluegrass.

The video clip is a promo of the episode. If you visit Ray's YouTube channel you'll be able to see promo clips for all of the episodes. The episode carried an overall feel of Roger Miller and Ray opened the show performing "King of the Road" and afterwards the Video Jukebox segment spotlighted a more recent release, "Unchained Melody". To date Ray has only released his version of the song as a music video (October 2, 2013) but it's part of a larger project that has yet to be released.

Ray brings out Rhonda Vincent and the two have an unusually lengthy conversation. I say this because most of the time the guests are brought out and they interact with Ray, briefly, before the guest performs their song. This particular episode is a bit different in that Rhonda spoke of her childhood, her family, and how strong of an impact that Bluegrass music had on her life. Ray mentions her brother, Darrin, of the Bluegrass group, Daily and Vincent. Moments later Ray tells a story of Bill Monroe meeting Frank Sinatra at a function in Washington, D.C. in which Bill received an honor. Sinatra walked over to offer congratulations and Bill's reply was: "Thank you and who might you be?". This lead into Rhonda explaining how much Bluegrass impacted her upbringing and that she didn't hear any music outside of that...she offers recollections about the songs, "A Little Piece of My Heart" and "Yesterday", and how she was raised thinking those were Bluegrass songs. She tells of the origins of her own group, The Rage.

She sings the gospel song "Just a Closer Walk With Thee" with Ray singing harmony and playing the piano. Afterward the limited animation music video, "Teenage Mutant Kung Fu Chickens", airs. The song itself goes back to 1991 in the career of Ray Stevens. It appeared on the album, #1 With a Bullet. It, like so many of Ray's songs, wouldn't become a music video until years later. The music video emerged in 2006 on a DVD release titled Teenage Mutant Kung Fu Chickens (a DVD featuring five limited animation music videos). It's now part of a DVD collection called Cartoon Carnival, Volume 2.

Rhonda returns and sings "Jolene", the Dolly Parton classic, which Rhonda recorded in 2000, and afterward Ray walks over and thanks her for being on the show. I'm sure the most devoted of Rhonda Vincent fans may have preferred that she perform songs more closely associated with her career (such as "Is The Grass Any Bluer on the Other Side?", "I'm Not Over You", or "All-American Bluegrass Girl") but then again, if you happen to be one of her fans, I'd assume you'll enjoy/like whatever she sings.

Ray closes the episode performing Roger Miller's "Chug-a-Lug". This is one of the songs that Ray had previously recorded for his 2012 project, The Encyclopedia of Recorded Comedy Music. Next week's episode guest stars the famed country music band, Restless Heart. Have you contacted your local PBS station? Remember that Ray's program is locally syndicated on PBS affiliates...if you have a local PBS channel in your area contact them via e-mail or telephone and suggest they air Ray's show. But hold's a much better and simpler idea...

Ray's website, if you hadn't checked it in awhile, has actually done the hard work. They've gone through and listed contact information of local PBS affiliates across the country. All you need to do is type your zip code. Once you enter the zip code a box opens up displaying contact information for your local PBS station's programming department. You can see it by clicking HERE.

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