My Interviews - Wanda Vick


NMG Musicians Spotlight - Wanda Vick

©2006 By Bronson Herrmuth

Bronson: Where's your hometown and what year did you move to Nashville?
Wanda Vick: I grew up in Montevallo, Alabama. I started out playing dobro with a family trio. I played in local bluegrass bands and went to a lot of fiddle conventions growing up, entering fiddle, banjo, guitar, mandolin and dobro contests. It was at one of these contests in I think around 1976 that I first met Buddy Spicher (and Charlie McCoy and several other great Nashville musicians.) Buddy held a festival at his ranch out near Fairview. Buddy became a friend and actually invited me to play on my very first Nashville recording session. I came up to Nashville (still a kid) and played on a Buddy Spicher, Benny Martin album. It was an awesome experience recording with such great musicians as Buddy Spicher and Buddy Emmons. Later on Buddy had a TV gig come up and he wanted me to be a part of the house band for the show. I transferred from the University of Montevallo to Belmont in Jan. 1981. The TV gig ended up falling through, but moving to Nashville was definitely the right thing for me.

Bronson: How long have you been performing professionally and what was your first gig?
Wanda Vick: I of course did a lot of local gigs in Alabama and even played regularly on the Country Boy Eddie Show, a morning TV show out of Birmingham. I also made some cash winning in various competitions and giving lessons. When I moved to Nashville, I did various gigs. I actually did several gigs with the Nashville Superpickers - that was a big honor for me. I guess my first full time professional gig was with Lynn Anderson. I started working with Lynn later on in 1981. Buddy Spicher recommended me for the gig. It was perfect for a college student. She mostly traveled on the weekends (except for Vegas stints in the summer) and flew everywhere.

Bronson: Tell me about your group Wild Rose.
Wanda Vick: The Wild Rose years were a great time in my career. We were a five piece all female band (all great musicians) and we had a record deal on Capital. We had a couple of hit singles and videos (Breaking New Ground was our biggest). We were nominated for an ACM and grammy award. James Stroud produced our first two cds and Paul Worley and Ed Seay our last. (We did play on our own records) The girls were all great friends and we had a wonderful time. I think the time was just not right for us. We came out at a time where male vocals dominated radio.

Bronson: Estimate how many sessions you have played on, demos and masters.
Wanda Vick: I don't really have a clue - but I know it is thousands.

Bronson: Name some of the artists you have played with, live and in the studio.
Wanda Vick: As far as road gigs, I traveled with Lynn Anderson, Porter Wagoner, Ronnie Milsap and Wild Rose, but I have worked live with many artists. From 1993-1999 I was in the house band on TNN's "Music City Tonight" and then "Prime Time Country". On those nightly TV shows, we backed up nearly every artist in Country Music, from Dolly Parton, to Loretta Lynn, to Shania Twain. During the years of doing the TV show I was able to get well established doing sessions. I have recorded with all kinds of artists, including: George Jones, Trisha Yearwood, Travis Tritt, Billy Ray Cyrus, Uncle Kracker, Micheal English, Sandi Patti, to name a few.

Bronson: What do you feel are the most important traits to being a successful session player?
Wanda Vick: I think that it is very important to be very conscientious and do your very best on every session and always repair anything that is not your very best. I always try to give everyone my very best. I try to really pay attention to what a song is about and I try to do what will most complement the song. I try to always be as creative as possible. It is good to listen to the other players and try to work together also. It is also important to be friendly and easy to work with and take suggestions well.

Bronson: List the top 3 producers you have worked for that challenged you the most as a musician.
Wanda Vick: Well the producer that challenges me the most is no doubt, my husband, Mark Burchfield. He produces a lot of gift market projects for the Green Hills label, many of them instrumental. He always pushes me to play my very best. He is more nit picky about time than anyone I've ever worked with. He has an incredible sense of time and pocket. Working with him has made me a much better player - especially when it comes to really playing in good time and right in the pocket.
The next producer that comes to mind is Ed Seay. When Wild Rose recorded with Paul Worley and Ed, Ed would have me replay things over until they were perfectly in tune. He made me aware of the importance of perfect intonation. I feel that through the years I have really improved in that area and my ears have become much more well trained to hear anything that is slightly out of tune.
I have worked with many great producers who have challenged me to play my best on a given song, but Mark and Ed are the two who have had made an impact on making me a much better studio musician.

Bronson: What would be your advice to a musician new to town, in regards to establishing themselves in Nashville?
Wanda Vick: Almost everyone first gets their start in Nashville playing on the road with an artist. It is a great way to get started here. It is not easy to get started in Nashville, you have to be patient. It really takes years to get established - I've been here 25 years. There are so many incredibly talented musicians in this town. I feel so fortunate, blessed, and just plain lucky to have been able to have had such a great career thus far in Nashville.

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