Every once in a while a CD comes along that just stuns me. Just before Thanksgiving the new CD by Jamie Dailey and Darrin Vincent landed in my mailbox. I had been anticipating this CD ever since Jamie told me they were recording. I’ll admit that Jamie has been one of my favorite singers since I first heard him with Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver.
The Dailey & Vincent CD lived up to every expectation I had, and then some. I knew I was going to like Jamie’s singing, and I expected he would choose good songs. I had no idea the band would sound this good. The band members are all great players, but the ensemble is so much stronger than any individual, these guys really understand what it means to be a band.
Jamie handles the rhythm guitar work and lead vocals on seven of the twelve tunes. The other five songs are led by Darrin Vincent who is also playing bass, and at times some guitar. As the name implies, these two guys form the core of the group, when not singing lead, each adds flawless harmony vocals. In addition, they’ve surrounded themselves with some other great players.
Jeff Parker, formerly of Lonesome River Band, is the mandolin player and also contributes harmony vocals. Those familiar with Parker will know that he is one of the best harmony singers in the business, and his ability to blend perfectly with Darrin and Jamie contributes to the outstanding quality of the vocals on this record.
Joe Dean is a young man with a bright future ahead of him. He played banjo with Bull Harman & Bull’s Eye before joining Dailey & Vincent. Though he is the youngest and least experienced member of the band, his banjo playing is mature, tasteful, and flawlessly timed. I was very impressed with this young man’s playing on this record. And as a surprise to me, he adds the bass vocal to a gospel quartet song.
Since the recording was finished, Adam Haynes has been added to the band as the fiddle player. Adam has played with such noted bluegrass acts as David Parmley and Continental Divide, and most recently, The James King Band.
Adam wasn’t a part of the band while the CD was being recorded, and so they called on the talents of Andy Leftwich and Stuart Duncan to lay down the fiddle tracks. In addition to these two outstanding fiddlers, Bryan Sutton contributes guitar parts to three of the tracks, and Cody Kilby joins the band for one number on guitar.
This CD is absolutely the best bluegrass record I’ve heard in quite some time. The band dynamics and details of arrangement are a tribute to the lessons learned by Dailey and Vincent in their former jobs working for Doyle Lawson and Ricky Skaggs respectively. These two young men learned their lessons well and together they’ve created some great music.
The CD opens with a romping tune called Sweet Carrie. While this is a new song, it’s reminiscent of many classic bluegrass songs, speaking of spike driving and southern railroad lines. Moving along at a brake neck pace, propelled relentlessly by Joe Dean’s banjo and Jamie’s rhythm guitar, this song will get your blood pumping.
The second tune of the CD is the classic Jimmy Fortune song, More Than A Name On A Wall. You can read the story of their involvement with Fortune and this song here.
River of Time is a song Jamie says he was holding for 6 years waiting for the right time to record. I’m glad he chose now to cut this track, it’s one of my favorites on the CD. It’s a beautiful song, and the ending…wow!
By The Mark is a gospel song from the pens of David Rawlings and Gillian Welch. It is performed here as a duet with just Jamie and Darrin on guitar and mandolin. Sung in two part harmony for it’s entirety, the tune takes you back to the duo performances so common during the early years of bluegrass music.
Take Me Back (And Leave Me There) is another favorite of mine. This is a great song about the good old days and wanting to go back to them. How can you ask for more out a song that mentions “Grandma’s blue ribbon pickles?”
Another duet song worth mentioning is a Ronnie Bowman, Bob Minner, David Dunkley penned tune titled Music of the Mountains. Darrin sings lead on this one with Jamie laying a tenor part in on the choruses. The sparseness of the guitar/mandolin accompaniment is perfect for this song.
Here’s a complete list of the songs on the disc.
- Sweet Carrie
- More Than A Name On A Wall
- Cumberland River
- River Of Time
- By The Mark
- Poor Boy Workin’ Blues
- Take Me Back (And Leave Me There)
- My Savior Walks With Me Today
- Don’t You Call My Name
- I Believe
- Music Of The Mountains
- Place On Calvary
As is obvious from the song list, there are a good number of gospel songs on this CD, reflecting the strong Christian faith of both Jamie and Darrin. The CD presents a good mixture of secular and gospel tunes, that makes you feel as if you are listening to life with a bluegrass soundtrack.
While there are a lot of great CDs out there these days, Dailey & Vincent is as close to a perfect bluegrass CD as I think I’ve ever heard. With bands like this around, the future of bluegrass music is in good hands.