Sunday, May 12, 2013

Kentucky Songs: Kentucky Borderline

Did you miss me? I had to take a break from the blog – I was not feeling inspired to write anything during the past week, but I am ready to go now. About a month ago, I returned to the Commonwealth of Kentucky – in fact to the town of Grayson where I lived for five years from 1973-1978 to take a job at my alma mater, Kentucky Christian University.

In total, I lived nearly 8 years in the Bluegrass State – attending college at what is now KCU and then at Marshall University. During the period, I also worked at a variety of radio stations in the Tri-State Area. It has been a real Kentucky homecoming.

Every second week of the month, I feature seven days of songs that fit some sort of theme. For the month of May, I thought I might feature songs that reference Kentucky. Although Vincent is from Missouri, I decided to feature her and her band The Rage’s song “Kentucky Borderline.”

During my first semester of college in the fall of 1973, I owned 1964 Ford Fairlane 500.  Since it only had an AM radio, one of the few stations that could be heard clearly in Grayson and the surrounding area was the local outlet of WGOH. Because I had my afternoons free during my freshman year, I was frequently seen exploring the back roads of Carter and Boyd counties listening to the radio – and specifically to the late Carmel Stevens’ country music and bluegrass shows.

Having been transplanted from Pennsylvania, I had never heard bluegrass before and during this time I gained an affinity to this genre of acoustic music. Since I haven’t kept up with the bluegrass scene, I need to give credit where credit is due. A former coworker of mine, Jim Kandrach, turned me onto Vincent’s music (as well as a number of other eclectic artists) a few years ago. I’m pretty sure that I reciprocated.

Rhonda Vincent & the Rage put on an energetic show, as demonstrated by the accompanying video. I never quite understood bluegrass music’s affinity to the key of B, but it has been explained to me that it is great key in which to sing. I’ll have to try it some time. I’ve done Bb and C, but can’t say I’ve ever sung a song in B.

Playing in B on a string instrument is a challenge unless you use a capo at the fourth fret as does the Rage’s guitarist and banjo picker. Rhonda, however, does not and does fine on mandolin. Of course, the fiddler and bassist couldn’t capo their instruments if they wanted to do so.

Now You See It

This particular recording was a composite of at least two performances in the same venue probably on the same day. How can I tell? That’s the mystery that I will reveal. Watch the neck of the guitarist. In some shots, he has a pink pick stuck in strings below the capo, but not in others.

Now you Don't
Before his solo, it is missing – but it magically appears and disappears during his solo. There are four shots of the solo. It’s present in the first and last shots, but not in two shots in the middle. I know he’s fast, but no one is that fast to be able to move that pick around. During the remainder of the video, it’s present in some shots and not in others. Either the video editors missed it or they assumed no one would notice it.

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