Jeanie Seely and Old Crow Medicine Show induct Dailey & Vincent on to the Grand Ole Opry – photo by Chris Hollo
Tears of joy overflowed the stage as three-time IBMA Entertainers of the Year Dailey & Vincent became the newest members of the Grand Ole Opry on March 12. Marty Stuart extended the formal invitation for them to join country music’s prestigious club on the bluegrass stars’ 100th Opry performance in December.
“We have done a whole lot of crying and have been very emotional since December 30,” said Jamie Dailey during a pre-show press conference. “This is something that has touched our hearts forever,” he added, choking up.
“I feel so unworthy to be here tonight because there’s so many other great players,” Darrin Vincent said. “Why the Lord and Opry chose us—it’s a miracle. It’s a huge honor, and we’re so thankful.”
Jeannie Seely, who will celebrate her 50th year as an Opry member later this year and Old Crowe Medicine Show formally inducted Dailey & Vincent.
“I had the honor of introducing Dailey & Vincent for their first Opry appearance,” Seely began. “I thought to myself that night, ‘I hope one day I get to see them become members of the Opry one day because they epitomize everything the Opry is on stage and off.’”
“They honor the traditions and respect their elders, but most of all they entertain,” Old Crow lead singer Ketch Secor said. “Tonight they join the ranks of country music’s greatest entertainers… Welcome Dailey & Vincent to the first family of country music.”
“One of the things that makes the Grand Ole Opry so special is the diversity within the music, the artists, and the audience,” said Dailey. “I’ve been here to see rock stars come out and make special appearances with Vince Gill. You’ve got everybody from bluegrass to great classical country to great mainstream country to some Gospel and even folk. It’s a very diverse family musically, and we are so honored and thankful to be a part of it.”
“Tradition is our bedrock, and the Grand Ole Opry is one huge family that we love to be a part of,” adds Vincent. “Even before we were invited, we went around the world telling everybody to come to Nashville and the Grand Ole Opry and the Ryman Auditorium because we love it. It’s part of our DNA growing up.”
“This is a hallowed place for the two of us,” says Dailey. “It is our job to be the best ambassadors that we can for the Grand Ole Opry and what it stands for. It’s our job to go out and promote this wonderful, beautiful place and get people to come here and see this show. That’s one of our biggest goals that we want to reach as we continue to travel.”
As a teenager with his family’s band, Sally Mountain Show, Vincent first performed on the Opry, thanks to an invite from Opry star Charlie Louvin.
“Charlie not only said come to Nashville I’m giving you my position on the Grand Ole Opry, but it was the TV portion when they were filming it,” Vincent remembers. “Our very first performance was on TV at the Grand Ole Opry. We liked to die! That’s a huge heart that he has, and I think that shows you the family here. They’re giving, loving, and embracing.”
Later, Vincent played the Opry stage with Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder for 11 years while his partner shared the G.O.O. stage with Doyle Lawson & Quick Silver for nine years. Then, in December 2007, Dailey & Vincent made their debut on the Opry as a new act.
“When Jeanie Seely brought us out for the very first time, and it was just he and I with the mandolin and guitar. We were doing By the Mark, our very first song that got us our record deal. We were shaking, and just bawled like two little girls after it was over. We were so scared but we were so thankful.”
That special night also provided some humor at the expense of Dailey.
“The Opry was kind enough to bring in our own video crew to show the night and have it for history purposes,” Dailey recalls. “I told the band, ‘I want you to wear blue shirts, blue ties, and black suits.’ I have a little bit of a problem. I’m a little color blind, so everybody shows up the way they’re supposed to be dressed, and I show up. Darrin says, ‘Jamie you’re wearing a pink shirt!’ (Darrin cracks up laughing by his side.)
For the formal induction, Dailey & Vincent plotted out the songs they would perform for their featured thirty minutes on the show.
“I said we need to be prepared and let the band know what songs we’re going to sing way before we get there,” says Dailey. “Most of the time when we get here, we’re just, ‘Hey, what do ya’ll want to sing? But we needed to think this out.”
They kicked off with an instrumental to showcase their band’s ability to play followed by a four part a cappella Gospel song, and then closing out with I’ll Go To My Grave Loving You, as a tribute to their heroes, the Statler Brothers.
“When we get here, we want to make sure that we play the very best music that we can play,” said Dailey. “Tonight it’s going to be about 4,000 plus people out there. For us, we have to look at it as there are people in that audience tonight that might be sick, might be going through divorces, might be having financial trouble, etc. It’s our job, as entertainers, to go on that stage tonight and take them on a two or three song ride and make them laugh a little bit and hopefully by the time they leave here, after watching all of us artists on the Grand Ole Opry, and feeling what the Grand Ole Opry has to offer, feeling better than when they came. That’s our job, and that’s what is most important to us here and everywhere we go.”
Both men were overcome with emotion as they received one of the most prestigious honors of their music career. They celebrated with their families, but for Vincent one important person was missing.
“I wish my daddy could be here,” Vincent said. “He went to be in heaven a couple of years ago. My daddy taught me everything about music,” he added, his voice breaking up with emotion. “My family spent many, many nights listening to the Grand Ole Opry on WSM, and I know how important it was for my daddy. He would be so proud and honored for this moment. I wish that he could be here. I know he’s watching down in heaven.”