Dailey & Vincent have been called "The Rock Stars of Bluegrass" -- and for good reason. Their larger-than-life personalities and talent have helped to make the duo one of the most respected in the format today.
That fire comes across in vivid detail on their first-ever live set, Dailey & Vincent - Alive! In Concert, available exclusively at Cracker Barrel Old Country Stores now. The duo's Jamie Dailey told Billboard that making the album was something he and Darrin Vincent have been wanting to do for some time.
"We were working at George Mason University [in Manassas, Virginia] about five years ago, and when we walked in the building and onto the stage, I turned to him and said, 'We need to do a live album here.' He immediately agreed. We mentioned it from the stage during our show, and the director of the facility heard me say it. He came backstage and asked if we were serious. We told him, 'Sure, if we can find the money to do it.' So fast-forward three or four years, and I called Rick again, and he said, 'Well, have your manager call me.' So they started talking about it, and we talked to good friends and partners at Springer Mountain Farms chicken about helping us underwrite and fund this project that we had this dream of doing. Then Cracker Barrel Old Country Store became involved and picked it up and catered the food for the show during the process."
The disc is the third project the duo have released through the Lebanon, Tennessee-based chain, and Dailey said it's a partnership that works. "Our history goes back together. One of the first meetings we ever had, we ate there and talked about music. They have a place in our hearts for sure. They have always been great to us, and we love their food and believe in their product."
Longtime fans of the award-winning duo might notice a few surprises in the sound of the album, with the band being joined onstage by a choir as well as the George Mason University Orchestra. "We realize that we're not getting any younger, and we wanted to push things a little more with this," Dailey said. "We realize that this project isn't straight-ahead hard-core bluegrass, nor was it what it was meant to be. We wanted to branch off and try some songs that were a little more progressive, use some instrumentation that was more progressive. We love traditional bluegrass and adore it. It's where our hearts are. But at the same time, we both have this feeling of not wanting to be boxed in. We like to sing all kinds of different songs and music. This gave us an opportunity to do that."
One of the highlights of the album is the opener, "We're All Here to Learn," which Dailey co-wrote with respected tunesmith Karen Staley. "I had told her that I wanted a progressive song for us to open up the set. She said, 'What kind of style are you looking for?' And I explained it to her. She said, 'I'll think on it and I'll come up to your house and we'll write it.' When she got there, she had the majority of it written. I wrote a few lines and changed the melody in a few places. The song is so true, if you think about it. As we get older, we learn more things and start looking at things differently. I think it has a great message." It's also a great testament to the harmonies between the duo.
Also included on the album are three songs made famous by the Statler Brothers: "Oh, Baby Mine," "Elizabeth" and "Atlanta Blue" -- which features some stunning bass notes from Christian Davis. The Country Music Hall of Fame quartet is very important to Dailey & Vincent, with the duo's 2010 tribute disc to the Statlers rated a classic by many in the business. The Statler connection also includes "Beyond Romance," from their 1987 disc Maple Street Memories. Though not included on the CD, Don Reid, longtime lead singer of the group, introduced Dailey & Vincent the night of the concert.
"We got up to the last minute before starting the shoot. I told Darrin, 'We haven't gotten anybody to come and introduce us.' I decided to call Don at his home in Staunton and see if he would come up. He said, 'Jamie, I would be honored to do that for you and Darrin.' He got in the car and drove on up and brought us on."
In addition, the Dailey & Vincent: Alive! In Concert DVD is available exclusively at all Cracker Barrel Old Country Store locations and on Cracker Barrel's website for a limited time, before being made available at other retail outlets. Along with the live performance, the DVD also features four documentaries about the duo, offering almost two hours of bonus content.