NMG Musicians Spotlight - Wanda Vick
©2006 By Bronson Herrmuth
Bronson: Where's your hometown and what year did you move to Nashville?
Wanda: 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
Wanda: 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
Bronson: Tell me about your group Wild Rose.
Wanda: 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: 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: 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
Wanda: 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
Wanda: 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: 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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