may 2012

dailey vincent
Dailey & Vincent: faith is not an on-off switch but a continuous process being tested in many contexts in our time on earth

And The Word Was Good

By David McGee

Rounder/Cracker Barrel

Considering the power and persuasiveness Jamie Dailey and Darrin Vincent brought to their 2010 gospel album, Singing From the Heart, it could fairly be said the duo had its work cut out for it in tackling a second gospel outing so soon after the first. Ha! A mere bag of shells, as The Honeymooners’ Ralph Kramden would say. The Gospel Side of Dailey & Vincent is even better than the first gospel album—more intense, more impassioned (a matter of degrees, to be sure, but nevertheless…), more adventurous, more spirited. It’s a flat-out great gospel album, especially if you like your gospel served hot. Cue up the fourth track, Mike Collins’s salvation hallelujah, “Cast Aside,” and try to catch your breath as it unfolds with piledriving force: the sizzling harmony singing, Dailey’s tenor soaring over it all, new D&V member Christian Davis’s full, rich bass underpinning it, Jeff Parker reeling off a fleet-fingered mandolin solo as Joe Dean’s furious banjo picking urges the whole enterprise inexorably forward, leading to a rousing fiddle solo (by either Stuart Duncan, Andy Leftwich or BJ Cherryholmes—really, is this an embarrassment of riches or what?). By the end of it all you half expect to see your CD player emitting smoke, self destructing like that Mission: Impossible tape recorder.

‘Cast Aside,’ from The Gospel Side of Dailey & Vincent

You can tell by the fiddle lineup the degree to which D&V have their ducks in a row here. On the vocal side, Sharon White Skaggs, Sonya Isaacs and Jimmy Fortune make guest appearances; instrumental special guests include guitarist Bryan Sutton and Pete Wade, Jim Britton and Scott Vestal (seconding Joe Dean on banjo), Dirk Johnson and Tim Parton sharing piano duties, a four-piece string ensemble, a three-piece horn section; and for good measure, Darrin’s parents, Johnny and Caroline Vincent, providing a guest vocal. D&V handle production chores and fashion a big, potent soundscape, very live, with the voices resonant and way out front but with a pleasing balance between instruments and singers, the better to showcase the sweet discourses between the two.

Dolly Parton’s ‘Welcome Home,’ from The Gospel Side of Dailey & Vincent

Contemporary and traditional alike, the song selection covers the waterfront of anticipating heavenly rewards (the moving m midtempo testimony co-written by Darrin Vincent, “”Until At Last I’m Home,” a stirring, close harmonized bluegrass gospel number featuring exemplary support by the fiddle and banjo along the way); lessons of faith drawn from Bible tales (notably two barnburners, Robert Schmertz’s “Noah Found Grace in the Eyes of the Lord” and Arthur Smith’s “The Fourth Man in the Fire,” both of which are fueled by tight, driving harmony singing and the aforementioned Christian Davis’s lively basso punctuations); families bound together here and beyond in faith (a moving, low-key rendition of Willie Nelson’s touching “Family Bible”; a sumptuous, celebratory, string-enriched, completely irresistible treatment of Carl Perkins’s “Daddy Sang Bass,” with tasty banjo and country piano solos joining the mix and the D&V collective sounding uncannily like their heroes, the Statler Brothers); and most profoundly, Dolly Parton’s wrenching “Welcome Home,” a deceptively brisk country meditation in which parents anticipate the scene when their fallen soldier sons are greeted by God in Heaven; and the serenity known to true believers (“Peace That Covers All the Pain,” a lush, string-rich mini-sermon emotionally rendered by Jamie Dailey in his most measured vocal on the album). Recognizing that these atmospheric, spiritual issues are the most important in life, and all others are logistics, Dailey & Vincent underscore the fact of faith being not an on-off switch but a continuous process being tested in many contexts in our time on earth. Thus the lesson here for the taking, and may the holy guardian angels watch over you.

The Gospel Side of Dailey & Vincent is available at the Cracker Barrel music store

Founder/Publisher/Editor: David McGee
Contributing Editors: Billy Altman, Laura Fissinger, Christopher Hill, Derk Richardson
Logo Design: John Mendelsohn (
Website Design: Kieran McGee (
Staff Photographers: Audrey Harrod (Louisville, KY;, Alicia Zappier (New York)
Mailing Address: David McGee, 201 W. 85 St.—5B, New York, NY 10024