april 2008

Jamie Dailey and Darrin Vincent

Bluegrass veterans Jamie Dailey and Darrin Vincent well know they could have drawn from a deep well of treasured songs for their much anticipated debut album. Instead, they decided to dig a new well and fill it with contemporary songs worthy of comparison to the ancient tones. Dailey, who has done yeoman work as the lead tenor in Doyle Lawson's Quicksilver, and Vincent (yes, Rhonda's brother and co-producer), a stalwart of Ricky Skaggs's Kentucky Thunder, couldn't have come out of the chute with a stronger debut. The lone chestnut they cover, "Don't You Call My Name," from the Johnson Mountain Boys, gets a spirited treatment that allows for a rowdy fiddle solo from Stuart Duncan, some breathtaking speed-picked banjo work courtesy Joe Dean, and scintillating, high lonesome vocal tradeoffs between Dailey and Vincent. Duncan, Dean, Andy Leftwich (fiddle), Jeff Parker (harmony vocal, mandolin), Byron Sutton and Cody Kilby (guitars) give Dailey and Vincent exemplary instrumental support throughout (the twin fiddles pining away on the Jimmy Fortunate-penned spiritual "I Believe" are as heart tugging as their moaning is artfully executed), but some of the most effective moments here find the duo stripping it down to their voices accompanied by guitar (Dailey) and mandolin (Vincent). Gillian Welch and David Rawlings' mountain gospel gem, "By the Mark," benefits most from this spare approach, as the two stringed instruments play a steady rhythm and pointed solos behind the two artists' fervent, layered vocal attack; less solemn and foreboding, "Music of the Mountains" is a buoyant reminiscence of the old homestead made doubly resonant by the duo's casual front porch picking and genial vocalizing. Closing with a jubilant, full band, southern gospel four-part harmony workout on "Place On Calvary," Dailey & Vincent punch their ticket for a long ride. People get ready.—David McGee


Founder/Publisher/Editor: David McGee
Contributing Editors: Billy Altman, Derk Richardson
Logo Design: John Mendelsohn (www.johnmendelsohn.com)
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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