Politics and Bluegrass at Podunk

Taken - Rhonda VincentA few NorthEastern blogs are abuzz with the name, Rhonda Vincent. Sadly, it’s not her music they’re talking about. What has them all stirred up is an action she took at the Podunk Bluegrass Festival this last Saturday.

During the course of her set on Saturday, Rhonda invited Mary Glassman onto the stage to join the band on the tune The Passing of the Train. Glassman provided the train-whistle sound effects during the course of the song. When Glassman first stepped on stage, Rhonda introduced her as a candidate for lieutenant governor in Connecticut.

During a short break between Rhonda’s set and Ricky Skaggs, the Mayor of East Hartford, Melody Currey, took to the stage and apologized to the festival audience for politics having intruded into the event. Mayor Currey is a supporter of Glassman’s opponent in the primaries, which are taking place today.

It’s unclear why Rhonda invited Glassman to join the band on this song, especially considering the poor quality of the candidate’s train whistle.

Below is video of the performance, judge for yourself…

  • hog

    I thought the whistle blowing display was pretty poor,but I wonder why someone of Vincent’s standing should attempt a stunt like this.I feel we get enough politics ramed down our throats on a day to day basis,and when I go to see bluegrass music ,this is not what I want to see.Which ever side of the political divide one sits.

  • derekanjo

    Well, if anyone (including you Brance) has seen many Rhonda shows, the you know that she has many people de the part of the train whistle…some good, some bad. As for politics, she didn’t say “go out and vote for this person, because I said so.” She simply stated the person’s title. Which is generally what you do when someone who is recognizable to the crowd is pulled on stage. I find it more questionable that the Mayor (who supports the other candidate) promptly apologized for politics…as if he were TRYING to make a scene. But what do I know?

  • Sorry Brance,
    I don’t see the problem. To quote that Wendy’s TV commercial from the 1980’s: “Where’s the beef?” If Rhonda wants to build her reputation around excellent Bluegrass music, which she has done, that is her business. If she wishes to add to that foundation slinky outfits on her CD covers and print ads, which (IMHO) she has done, that’s her business. If she wishes to bring local celebs on stage to blow the train whistle, whether they be political candidates, family members, support people associated with running the festival in which she is appearing, which she has done, that too is her business. You take the entire package of the entertainment.

  • Derek: I’ve seen Rhonda’s shows in the past, but have yet to see her perform this particular tune, so I’ve not seen her bring people on stage to do the train whistle. I’d love to have an “American Idol” style competition for the whistlers! BTW, I assume the Mayor is a SHE not a HE, based on the Mayor’s name, Melody Currey. For the record, I agree that it seems the mayor was the one trying to make something out of this.

    Mark: I never said there was a problem. I just said the blogs in that part of the country had noticed and were reporting it. It’s news when someone of Rhonda’s stature in our small world gets noticed in the larger world. I thought it was funny how badly the candidate did a train whistle. It’s like she’s never heard an actual train. If you’ve followed the comments on the facebook thread you’ll see that I said much the same thing concerning her actions, “She was just being an entertainer.”