Coming off their third-straight International Bluegrass Music Association Entertainer of the year award in September, Dailey & Vincent will headline the 41st annual S.C. State Bluegrass Festival with performances Friday and Saturday.
The duo, which consists of veteran musicians Jamie Daily (vocalist, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver) and Darrin Vincent (Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder, Rhonda Vincent), has been playing together since 2008.
ListenUp spoke with the men recently about their success. Here’s what they had to say:
How did you first decide to give up playing in the bands you were in and come together as Dailey & Vincent?
Darrin: Well, we had known each other, but the first time we thought to do this was after we were asked to do a song for this Christmas album. When put out “Little Star of Bethelemhem,” we had so many requests from the record label that we ought to record together again. So we tried it and they just absolutely loved it, so we decided to go on from there.
Jamie: I think it’s been a lot more rewarding doing Dailey & Vincent cause now we get to play the way we want to play and create the way that we want to create.
How did you past experience playing with folks like Doyle Lawson and Ricky Skaggs set you up for the success you’re having now?
Jamie: I was with Doyle for nine years and I learned so much. I learned discipline and how to play as a unit and how to be a road professional. A lot of those techniques I still use, and it really paid off for me to be part of something like that.
Darrin: For me, I just learned that the way you play the songs and adding entertainment value is a big factor in your success. Having great musicians around you is important.
Being blessed like I have to have been on TV and radio performing with my family since I was 2, it’s been a growing experience my whole life.
And I’m lucky because what we do changes every day and you just do your best to keep it fresh and brand new all the time.
You guys just finished doing an album full of Statler Brothers covers. How did that come about?
Jaime: The Statlers were childhood heroes of mine since I was probably 8 or 9 and it’s something I’ve wanted to do.
It started when we cut a song of thiers called “Name on the Wall” and not long after that I got an e-mail out of blue from the lead singer saying that he loved what we did with his song and he wanted to meet us.
The we had a show in Virginia with a bunch of folks sitting around in lawn chairs and there were the Statlers just sitting out in lawn chairs to watch the show. We got to know them a little better and we’d have lunch with them when we came through and eventually the Country Music Hall of Fame asked us to sing for their induction in 2008.
Around that time Cracker Barrel hopped on board and we started recording the album. It was actually No. 1 nine weeks in a row on bluegrass billboard and went to No. 19 on the country charts and stayed there five or six weeks. It even went to No. 1 on the Heatseekers Billboard chart and that was the first time a bluegrass band ever did that.
You’ve also been working on an album full of originals, how’s that coming along?
Darrin: It’s a slow process trying to find a bunch of great songs that you want to sing and put your name on.
We’ve had an interesting time finding new material, but we’ve been working with Garth Fundis who has worked with everyone from Doc Watson up to Trisha Yearwood and he has a great ear.
It’s both frantically and methodically that we’re putting it all together. It’s something where we’ve got a release date in mind, but we’re also not gonna age the wine too quickly.
How have other forms of music such as country and gospel influenced your music and the genre as a whole?
Darrin: I really believe bluegrass has influenced back into that music more than the other way around. I think there’s a reason Earl Monroe is the only person in the Bluegrass Hall of Fame, the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
Jaime: Still, having popular country artists doing bluegrass I think helps get more folks involved, and it’s good for them to help popularize what we’re doing.
But it’s like everywhere we go, we’ve got a whole bunch of fans that have never seen it before, and we’re turning them on to Skaggs and those folks — and the Grand Ole Opry, I couldn’t believe how many had never heard the Opry.
But it’s a win-win, because the bigger the pie for bluegrass, the more we all benefit.
You music seems to reach beyond just traditional bluegrass fans, what have you all done to make sure your music is unique and has that cross-over appeal?
Darrin: We put a lot of different twists and arrangements on what we do and we’re always, looking different stuff that is not your average songs.
Now were really trying to make sure the next record is 70-75 percent originals and not a lot of covers.
Also, we’re using our sponsor, Cracker Barrel, to get our music out in all it’s 596 stores in 41 states to help broaden the bluegrass base and we want to help other acts to do the same. Actually, The Grascals will be putting something out in January with them as well.
Do you feel at all like bluegrass doesn’t get the respect it deserves in the grand scheme of today’s musical landscape?
Jaime: Yeah, I think it doesn’t get as respected as it deserves, but at same time its an education.
People think it’s one thing and it’s really not alot of times. I think they need to see all asepcts of it before they make a decision. It’s like they may not like our band, but they may love three or four of the other bands like The Grascals or Mountain Holler or maybe Rhonda Vincent or Quicksilver.
The just need to study the whole thing before they write it off.
What can folks expect from Dailey & Vincent when they come out to see y’all live?
Darrin: They better come ready. It’s good to be with the other artists and we like to sing the songs everyone knows and loves, but we’re going to do songs from first record and the second record, we’ll do some comedy duets and we’re going to have some fun.
Just come out and support bluegrass music. It’s a great family event. They won’t be ashamed to have come, that’s for sure.