By: Chuck Dauphin
In the music business, sometimes magic happens when two or more forces unite for a common cause. It happened back in 2007, when bluegrass pickers Jamie Dailey and Darrin Vincent formed the duo of Dailey and Vincent. Since then, the pair has leapt to the top of the genre—taking home just about every IBMA award you can imagine, including back-to-back trophies for Entertainer Of The Year. In keeping with unbeatable combinations, the duo has teamed with restaurant chain Cracker Barrel and their record company, Rounder Records, for DAILEY AND VINCENT SING THE STATLER BROTHERS. The album, available only at the popular eatery, is chock-full of classics from the most-awarded group in the history of country music. It is nothing short of stunning, and is getting rave reviews. MusicCityNews.com recently had a chance to talk with the duo about the album….
MCN: Jamie, tell us how the idea for this album came about.
Jamie Dailey: “One of the reasons it came about—-and I’m not ashamed of this at all—and I make a big point about it—-I’m a huge Statler Brothers fan—They are my childhood heroes, and I absolutely love them. We started doing a song of theirs, “More Than A Name On A Wall,” in concerts, and it went # 1 for us, and became one of our most requested songs. People started going up and asking us to learn songs like “I’ll Go To My Grave Loving You,” “Elizabeth,” and all these songs—so we started learning them. I told Darrin that it makes sense to do a tribute to the Statler Brothers on a record, and name it DAILEY AND VINCENT SING THE STATLER BROTHERS. He was all for it, and our management wanted us to wait for a while, and it finally came about. We signed with Cracker Barrel, and you can find the record there. We love Cracker Barrel. We eat there all the time on the road—Our bus pulls in there every week. We try to run our business like they do theirs—-very consistent. It’s a great match, and we really enjoy working with them.”
MCN: Darrin, with all the changes in the music business over the past decade or so, one wonders if the Statlers came out today, they might be just as successful in the Americana or Bluegrass formats than Country. What do you think?
Darrin Vincent: Well, I don’t know the answer to that completely, but all I can tell you is their music is timeless. It’s like Bill Monroe. His songs will are, and will always be, staples in bluegrass music, and I believe the Statler Brothers music will be here for generations to come. We’re not trying to be the Statler Brothers—we’re just trying to do their music as best we can. We are a duo, and we have a band and do quartet music. If you’ll listen to the originals, they had a lot of duets with Don and Lew, and then on the chorus, the whole quartet came in. We just felt that their music lended itself to what we do, and it was so easily transferred into Bluegrass instruments. In fact, on “Flowers On The Wall,” if you listen real close, it’s got a banjo in it already. We love the music, and think it’s timeless. If they came out today, I believe they would be just as successful as they had been.
MCN: To kick off the album, you guys threw a listening party at the Hall Of Fame that brought out some heavy hitters—-including Steve Wariner, Duane Allen and Joe Bonsall of the Oak Ridge Boys, and Ricky Skaggs. But the most special guests of the evening—on the front row—had to be the Statlers. That had be a little nerve-racking, wasn’t it?
DV: It was. We were so honored that the Statler Brothers would take time out of their lives to come to Nashville—we sent our bus after them—and celebrate the CD. To have Steve Wariner, Ricky Skaggs, Ralph Emery, Crook & Chase—even Bill Gaither came to the show. We just can’t stress enough how much we appreciate each one of those artists coming out and giving their stamp of approval and support for us, Cracker Barrel, and Rounder Records. It was such an honor and a blessing.
MCN: Jamie, how about for you?
JD: It was terrifying. Nobody can out-Statler the Statlers. There’s only one Statler Brothers. The best you can do is put your best foot forward, and sing the best you can possibly sing, and try to honor them. It was extremely terrifying. We never get nervous, but for some reason, having your heroes in front of you and singing their music to them. If you had said “Boo” to us the first song, we would have went through the ceiling.
MCN: In addition to being huge fans of the Statlers, I know that the two of you have become friends and collaborators with Jimmy Fortune. Tell us about that.
JD: Jimmy is a hero of mine, and I absolutely have loved his singing since I was a kid. He’s a dear friend of mine, and we go out to eat with him a lot. He comes to our house, or we’ll go to his. He’s just a fine fellow. He’s written a lot of songs that we’ve recorded—some that the Statlers never did—in recent years, like “On The Other Side” and “I Believe.” He means a lot to us. We love him a lot. He’s been quite a contributor to country music. If you listen to the lyrics of a lot of the songs he has written, and you’re not crying to a box of Kleenex—there’s something wrong with your heart, because he’ll rip it out. He’s really amazing.
MC: The name of the album is DAILEY AND VINCENT SING THE STATLER BROTHERS, but you’ve got some all-star help at every turn on it. I was really impressed by the bass singing. Who is that?
JD: Jeff Pearls—and I forget what group he’s with, but he’s a well-known Nashville session bass singer. His voice really blended well with us and Jeff Parker. If you come live, and see us at a show—we have hired a new bass singer. His name is Christian Davis. He’s got the paperwork on singing bass, as does Joe Dean on the banjo, and Jesse Stockman on fiddle. We feel like we’ve really got a wonderful setup of musicians around us.
MCN: That’s a hallmark of Bluegrass Music, in particular. I know that you both believe in surrounding yourself with only the best players.
DV: Amen. That’s exactly right. It’s really difficult to find really gifted and talented musicians that you can be on the road with for over 200 days a year, so we feel blessed that we have found the right gentlemen to be with us, and they are really gentlemen—true blue men of faith, and they love performing, and the fans. Most of all, they love the music, and love to play.
MCN: Because of the harmony that is involved with a project like this, you have to have your A-game going on, especially on a song like “Do You Know You Are My Sunshine,” which you guys pull off quite well. Tell us about your thoughts on this song.
JD: It’s a really special song to us for a lot of different reasons. One of those is that was the first song we ever sang for the Statlers. When they were inducted into the Country Music Hall Of Fame, we were in the Ford Theater, with them in the front row. We had to follow Reba McEntire, of all people, who sang
“Flowers On The Wall.” I looked at Darrin, and said ‘How are we gonna follow that?’ We just decided that we would go out and do what we do. We went out there, and received a standing ovation for it, which blew us away. It humbled us, and we were really thankful for that. So that song certainly means a lot to us because it was there with us on a very special night.”
MCN: I was familiar with all the songs on the disc, except for the Gospel track “The Brave Apostle Twelve.” That sounds like it was a vocal workout for you!
DV: That was one of the hardest songs that we cut because it has a lot of thirds and sevenths in it, and it’s not normal for a lot of Bluegrass singers to sing those, so we really had to hone in on exactly what they were singing. They were so precise with what they were singing with Phil and Lew. The way they put their voices together made the music kind of like a roller-coaster ride, and on that one they really outdid themselves writing and performing that song.
The duo will be on the road throughout the year promoting both the tribute disc, as well as their current release BROTHERS FROM DIFFERENT MOTHERS. Check out the duo’s website to see when they’re in your area. It’s http://daileyvincent.musiccitynetworks.com/index.htm. You won’t be sorry!