If you look up the definition of sonic perfection, there just might be a picture of bluegrass super duo Dailey and Vincent. Simply put, there are no other acts in the format who do what they do with as much energy, zeal, and precision.
Thursday, the Rounder recording artists made a stop at Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium, and kept the focus on many of the songs and artists that had played the venue before — especially when the hall played host to the Grand Ole Opry from 1943-1974.
Kicking off with “Steel Drivin’ Man,” their latest single, it was apparent from the opening notes that the harmony between Jamie Dailey and Darrin Vincent was going to be nothing short of textbook. The duo continued to be in fine form with their cover of “Four Walls.” Though I have not heard many bluegrass covers of Jim Reeves songs, it proved to be a natural fit for the IBMA winners.
There also proved to be a healthy dose of Jimmy Fortune / Statler Brothers music through the night as well. Of course, their 2010 tribute album to the group was a career highlight, and they offered such classics as “Hello, Mary Lou,” “Atlanta Blue,” “Forever,” and “More Than A Name On A Wall,” which brought the crowd to their collective feet with the potent lyrics about a mothers’ love for her fallen son and soldier. They also performed the Fortune-written “I Believe,” and Jimmy turned up himself to help out on 1983’s “Elizabeth.”
But, there was another cover that got a bit of attention — Phillip Phillips’ “Home.” Though the decision might have taken some in the sold-out crowd by surprise, the song fit the bluegrass format like a comfortable pair of shoes – and it will be a surprise if they don’t cut the song at some point.
Though some might think of a band as a supporting role, the players for Dailey & Vincent definitely get their time in the spotlight, with guitarist Jeff Parker, bass singer Christian Davis, fiddlers BJ and Molly Cherryholmes, drummer Bob Mummert and banjo player Jessie Baker all handling their parts on stage with relative ease. Parker and Davis joined the guys for many Gospel numbers during the night, including “Excuses” and “Wonderful Grace Of Jesus.”
After taking a brief intermission, the group returned to the stage with an extended tribute to the Grand Ole Opry, with performances in honor of Marty Robbins, Lester Flatt, Charley Pride, the Everly Brothers, and Randy Travis, before closing with the Bill Monroe instrumental classic “Wheel Hoss.”
Dailey and Vincent have a problem. Whether it be their new recordings, instrumentals, Gospel music, or the classics, they could do an entire show of one — and leave something else out. But, that is a good problem to have. Thursday’s performance was proof of why they are regarded as one of the best bluegrass acts out on the market right now — and if they keep it up, they have a strong chance to join Monroe, Flatt, Scruggs, and the Osbornes among the best of all time.