When it comes to contemporary bluegrass Gospel, the standards against which all others get measured are Paul Williams and the Victory Trio, the Isaacs and Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver. With The Gospel Side of Dailey &Vincent, Jamie Dailey and Darrin Vincent now join that upper echelon.
The 12-song collection, available through Cracker Barrel stores, should really be named The Gospel Sides of Dailey & Vincent. There’s bluegrass, for sure. But the project also features some traditional Gospel and, for good measure, a bit of Southern Gospel. All are built around the exquisite harmonies that Jamie and Darrin seem to bring to everything they sing, with Jamie’s soaring tenor offset on many songs in this collection by Christian Davis’ rumble-in-your-gut bass vocal.
The bluegrass tunes drive this collection, especially the Jamie-penned Living in the Kingdom of God, which opens the CD, and Cast Aside, written by Mike Collins. Those songs provide everything we’ve come to expect from Dailey & Vincent. Not just the harmonies, but strong picking and first-rate arrangements. And Until At Last I’m Home, co-written by Darrin, adds a nice three-four time song to the mix. Music fans who were put off by the duo’s Statler Brothers covers will welcome the straight-ahead banjo-driven efforts here.
Living in the Kingdom of God: [http://traffic.libsyn.com/thegrasscast/kingdom.mp3]
Until At Last I’m Home: [http://traffic.libsyn.com/thegrasscast/until_at_last.mp3]
Anyone who has seen Dailey & Vincent in concert is familiar with the part of the show when the rest of the musicians leave the stage so the duo can perform a song or two in stripped down elegance. That happens on this CD, too, with Family Bible and Come Back to Me. Just guitars and beautiful voices. The first song, written by Willie Nelson, features Darrin’s parents, Johnny and Carolyn Vincent, singing a line from Rock of Ages at the end.
It’s the simple beauty of those two songs and the drive of the bluegrass tunes that makes some of the rest of the CD difficult for me to come to grips with. Don’t get me wrong, there’s not a clunker in the bunch, and there’s top-notch musicianship throughout. But compared with everything else, Noah Found Grace in the Eyes of the Lord, The Fourth Man in the Fire and Daddy Sang Bass come across as over-the-top.
Darrin and Jamie are so good – and so are their band mates – that orchestra strings, horns, piano and drums get in the way rather than add to the music. Sometimes, after a great dinner, you want something tasty but simple for dessert. Here, though, the whipped cream, syrup and all the other extras overwhelm.
Overall, though, this CD is a winner, sure to put Dailey & Vincent back in the IBMA spotlight come awards time. And sure to move anyone who listens, physically as well as spiritually.
Crank it up and try to sit still. I’m not sure it’s possible.