Based for most of his career out of Knoxville, TN, Red Rector was one the great second-generation traditional bluegrass mandolinists, which means, for one thing, he grew up listening to the sounds of Bill Monroe. In his playing, there were almost as many individual strengths as there are strings on a mandolin. He was known for a durable sound that could cut through whatever ensemble he was in, even when a dynamic banjo player such as Don Stover was trying to drown him out. In a music the uninformed listener might associate with "hicks," Rector played with a musical sophistication that could make a hip jazz musician or studied classical virtuoso's ears stand at attention. He could make an audience laugh with a mandolin solo, although he never got as deeply connected with humour in music as his fellow mandolinist Jethro Burns. His playing could be as precise as a triple scale session player, and as sincerely sentimental and moving as any mountain musician picking a tune on someone's front porch. And, boy oh boy, could he ever play fast! When told by one interviewer that his solo on "Blackberry Blossom" sounded like it was going at 6,000 miles an hour, Rector calmly corrected him: "Maybe a little faster."