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Album Spotlight: Dailey & Vincent Sing The Statler Brothers
By David McGee
Once scorned by hoity-toity pop critics for their patriotic and sentimental fare, the Statler Brothers have long had the last laugh—and a hearty one at that. Now, with bluegrass superstars Jamie Dailey and Darrin Vincent accompanied by a stellar supporting band in a tour de force exhibition of stunning interpretive singing and emotionally riveting musicianship, the Statlers have found a most formidable ally in song. Dailey & Vincent don’t sing the Statler Brothers, though—the title is misleading. They fully inhabit this material, building on touchstones familiar to Statlers fans then bringing their own passion for this material to bear on what are, arguably, the most intense performances the duo has yet put on record.
BILL EMERSON and SWEET DIXIE, Southern—If you don’t know it’s Bill Emerson on banjo you will about a minute into the first song, Tompall Glaser’s effusive kissoff, “Don’t Care Anymore,” when he steps out from behind Tom Adams’s spiteful vocal with a rolling, tumbling solo that can’t help but cause jaws to drop. Wayne Lanham on mandolin and Frank Solivan on fiddle get their turns to ante up the hostilities, too, and they don’t disappoint. This new long player from Emerson and Sweet Dixie begins on that high note and never lets up.
JOHN COWAN, 8,745 Feet: Live at Telluride—When John Cowan first played Telluride, he and his mates were the little-known progressive bluegrass pioneers calling themselves New Grass Revival. After New Grass broke some barriers, made some enduring music and its members moved on to new triumphs, Cowan returned to Telluride, singing and playing bass with a who’s who of roots music. This live album, which came out last year shortly before Cowan’s superb Christmas album (Comfort & Joy), is a typically genre-busting effort by Cowan and an amazing group of musicians whose numbers include WPA’s Luke Bulla, Bela Fleck, Kenny Greenberg, Barbara Lamb, Darrell Scott, Scott Vestal, Wendy Waldman, Reese Wynans and others.