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My.musiccitynetworks.comJamie Dailey, left, and Darrin Vincent bring their bluegrass duet act Saturday to GarnerUnited Methodist Church.
Bluegrass sidemen chase dream in duet
Jamie Dailey and Darrin Vincent have stepped off the ledge and are falling through the darkuncertain void. They're hoping that if and when their parachutes open, they will feel thecomforting tug of glittering gold.
Each musician served as an essential sideman in two of bluegrass music's most successfulbands -- Dailey for nine years as guitarist/vocalist with Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver,Vincent, a decade as bassist/guitarist with Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder.
Now, they have combined their considerable talents and are setting out on their own as a duetact. For both, it's the realization of a dream.
"We both love Doyle and Ricky very much and still have great relationships with them," saysDailey, who will appear with Vincent Saturday at Garner United Methodist Church. "But itgot to the point where we wanted to do our own music and sing what we wanted to sing andhow we wanted to sing. I just cannot believe how much happier I am doing this. It just makessuch a difference in my life to be able to lead." Dailey and Vincent's self-titled debut CD will be released Jan. 29 on Rounder Records. Abrilliant 12-song tour de force, the CD heralds the two talented artists making high lonesomemagic with flawless picking and seamless harmonies on a thoughtful collection of secular andsacred songs.
The CD has already won praise from critics and peers alike, with no less an authority than thegreat Dolly Parton commenting, "What a great sound. Not since the Louvin Brothers hasmusic touched me this deep." Parton's Louvin Brothers reference is more than coincidental, since Dailey and Vincent aimto bring the duet act back into bluegrass. Beginning in the 1930s, duet acts were a popularstaple of Southern music, featuring such pioneers as the Monroe Brothers, Karl and Harty,Johnny and Jack, the Louvins and the Delmore Brothers. More recently, the OsborneBrothers, Stanley Brothers, and Jim and Jesse McReynolds helped to define duet singing inbluegrass. But with the deaths of Carter Stanley and Jim McReynolds, and Sonny Osborne'sretirement from performing, duet acts have gone the way of 78 rpm records. Dailey andVincent hope to fill the void.
Dailey and Vincent met at the International Bluegrass Music Association's annual conventionin 2001. Dailey had just come off stage after performing with Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver.
Skaggs and Vincent slipped backstage to compliment him on his singing.
"They were talking about how they liked my high notes," Dailey recalls. "After Ricky left,Darrin kept standing around and he said, 'I really want to get to know you.'" Afterward, Vincent invited Dailey to sing on a record he was producing for his sister,bluegrass diva Rhonda Vincent. Next, they recorded a Christmas song with Dolly Parton, andthey recorded "Beautiful Star of Bethlehem" as a duet for the compilation CD, "ChristmasGrass Vol. 2 2004." The response from fans was encouraging.
"When that song came out . people were telling us at shows that they wanted to hear more,"Dailey says. "I looked at Darrin and said, 'You know, we may be on to something.' We haddone a duet version of that song and it went over that big. We started talking about having aband and doing duets. We felt it was a lost art . So we prayed about it for about four years,then decided to save money and get ready to make the launch. We did, and it's been ablessing." Once they decided to take the plunge, Dailey, 32, and Vincent, 36, drew up a business plan.
They would be walking away from steady salaries with good benefits, and didn't want to relyon their reputations alone to launch their career. With pluck and drive, they were able to bookmore than 100 dates for 2008 without a CD and without ever performing together.
"It was very scary," Dailey says. "You have a lot of concerns. Luckily, we had been planning.
We put together an 'activation plan' three years before we quit our jobs. We had an activationlist and said that once we turn in our notices, we will activate the list of goals.
"When we turned our notices in, we went down the list in the order of how we wanted to doit. And it paid off, because we were able to get 120 dates booked for the kind of money weneed to survive and operate.
"We felt that if we pulled together the best team possible with the musicians and the businessofficials -- what we call the Dailey-Vincent Administration -- it would help us get where wewere going quicker and we'd be in a lot better shape." One of the most important items on their list was assembling an excellent band, the one theywill bring with them to Garner. Jeff Parker, a bluegrass veteran whose credits include fiveyears with the Lonesome River Band, plays mandolin. Adam Haynes, who fiddled for theJames King Band, holds forth on "the devil's box." Joe Dean, an 18-year-old multi-instrumentalist, plays five-string banjo. Dailey plays guitar, and Vincent holds the bottomwith the upright bass.
Dailey and Vincent made their debut Dec. 29 on the Grand Ole Opry and kicked off their firsttour on Jan. 5. On Tuesday, they'll celebrate release of their CD with a concert at Nashville'sCountry Music Hall of Fame. With such a promising beginning, it seems that Dailey andVincent will enjoy a soft landing with a parachute of gold. Most of all, they'll enjoy the ride.
"It's the best feeling in the world to know that it's music that we're creating together, that it'sours, and we get to sing it the way we want to sing it," Dailey says. "It's the best feeling in theworld to know that we get to play it the way we think is best." All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be published, broadcast orredistributed in any manner.
Copyright 2008, The News & Observer Publishing Company
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