april 2009

Where the Sky's the Limit

By Billy Altman

Darrin Vincent (left) and Jamie Dailey: Keeping it 'close to the ground'

Brothers From Different Mothers
Dailey & Vincent

I suppose that if Jamie Dailey and Darrin Vincent wanted to, they could have called their second CD From A Splash To A Monsoon. After all, when your debut album makes IBMA history by garnering seven awards, including Emerging Artist of the Year, Vocal Group of the Year and Entertainer of the Year, as well as Album of the Year to boot, you've pretty much got carte blanche to do whatever you want to for a followup. Which only makes Dailey & Vincent's eagerly awaited sophomore release all the more impressive.

George Hay, the "Solemn Old Judge" who founded the Grand Ole Opry back in the 1920s, used to instruct his performers to "Keep it close to the ground." And that's precisely the approach that former Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver vocalist/guitarist Dailey and ex-Kentucky Thunder and (sister) Rhonda Vincent and the Rage bassist Darrin Vincent have taken on Brothers From Different Mothers, whose title aptly reflects their unique musical relationship.

Their basic m.o. is laid out on the breakneck-paced opening cut "Head Hung Down," which features pluperfect high lonesome vocals, textbook banjo/mandolin/fiddle solos, patented Lester Flatt guitar runs and, for good measure, a cameo by Statler Brother Harold Reid in full Lester "Roadhog" Moran mode. That's a mighty high bar to start with, but Dailey and Vincent consistently keep it there throughout the 12-song set as they nimbly balance both fast/slow and secular/gospel numbers. Moreover, they make it sound so darned easy, as on "There Is You," which sports not only Blue Sky Boys-worthy two-part vocal harmonies but wondrously interlocking instrumental passages as well.

Speaking of classic harmonies, you're not likely to hear any two non-sibling vocalists sing together as exquisitely as Dailey and Vincent do on Tunes like "When I've Traveled My Last Mile" and "Winter's Come And Gone," the latter of which was written and first recorded by the terrific folk-country duo of Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, whose "By The Mark" Dailey and Vincent recorded last time out (that one earned them the IBMA's Gospel Performance of the Year). That's pretty hip territory to explore for source material for a straight-ahead bluegrass team, but that's part of the beauty of this wonderful collaboration. It's all about the music—and with their talents far outdistancing their egos, the sky's the limit for Dailey and Vincent. 

Founder/Publisher/Editor: David McGee
Contributing Editors: Billy Altman, Derk Richardson
Logo Design: John Mendelsohn (www.johnmendelsohn.com)
Website Design: Kieran McGee (www.kieranmcgee.com)
Staff Photographers: Audrey Harrod (Louisville, KY; www.flickr.com/audreyharrod), Alicia Zappier (New York)
E-mail: thebluegrassspecial@gmail.com
Mailing Address: David McGee, 201 W. 85 St.—5B, New York, NY 10024