If there is such a thing as a bluegrass diva, it is Rhonda Vincent, she of the powerhouse vocals, expert mandolin and—as showcased here—burgeoning songwriting skills.

If there is such a thing as a bluegrass diva, it is Rhonda Vincent, she of the powerhouse vocals, expert mandolin and—as showcased here—burgeoning songwriting skills. Right off the bat, Vincent impresses with the Southern train anthem "Kentucky Borderline," then effortlessly switches gears with gorgeous, radio-friendly ballads "You Can't Take It With You When You Go" and "Missouri Moon." Appropriately, themes often turn dark: "One Step Ahead of the Blues" (featuring Alison Krauss) revels in its pessimism, and "Caught in the Crossfire" is a haunting child's eye view of divorce. Vincent's vocals are unique; she blends dead-perfect tone and pitch with surprising power and bite, and at times a hint of desperation more than powers intense cuts like "Ridin' That Red Line." Then she turns country queen on Webb Pierce's "Pathway to Teardrops," featuring exquisite harmonies with brother Darrin. Melba Montgomery's "An Old Memory Found Its Way Back" is a monster here, as is the goosebump-inducing a cappella quartet on "Fishers of Men." Throw in Vincent's too-cool snippet "The Martha White Song," and what we have here is perfection.—RW