News And Notes
May 15

GAC Album Review: Dailey & Vincent’s Brothers of the Highway

Dailey & Vincent

Dailey & Vincent’s 2013 album, Brothers of the Highway. Photo courtesy of APEX Entertainment Management.

Three-time IBMA Entertainer of the Year Dailey & Vincent stay the hardcore bluegrass course on their newest project, Brothers of the Highway, with a record full of immaculate harmonies, expert musicianship and more than a touch of nostalgia. Producing the album themselves, Jamie Dailey (vocals, guitar) and Darrin Vincent (vocals, bass) chose songs that have long inspired the duo after a meaningful conversation with bluegrass legend Ricky Skaggs left them wanting to revisit some of their all-time favorites. The result is a blistering 12-song set that covers the likes of The Louvin Brothers, Kathy Mattea and Vince Gill as banjo and twin fiddles fly.

In addition to songs like Bill Monroe’s 1959 classic, “Tomorrow I’ll Be Gone,” and Porter Wagoner’s 1964 hit, “Howdy Neighbor Howdy,” Jamie penned two original tunes for the project that is available now in stores. The album opener, “Steel Drivin’ Man,” erupts off the block at probably 160bpm to offer a first look at the band as fiddle, mandolin and guitar all take turns on fiery solos. The feel is authentic and genuine as the music races forward, and on “Back To Jackson County,” Jamie’s other offering, mesmerizing harmonies and warm melodies settle in with time-honored tradition. The most amazing feat is that these two songs sound completely in step with the rest of the album, a compliment to Jamie’s songwriting and deep appreciation for the genre.

Classic Appalachian and bluegrass themes are front and center, whether it’s nostalgia for the way things used to be on “Back To Hancock County” or the more haunting sort, like on the Bill Monroe-written, “Close By.” With a classic country wail, Jamie sings out, They buried you in a lonely graveyard / and a spot they left beside / there we’ll sleep ‘til Jesus calls us / so that we can be close by. The album’s emotional center, and perhaps its finest song, is “Hills of Caroline,” a pensive ballad written by Vince Gill and included on his 1998 album The Key. Steel and nylon string guitars support Jamie’s fragile vocal performance regarding a lost love as Darrin provides touching harmonies at just the right, impactful moment.

The harmonic chemistry can be dazzling. “When I Stop Dreaming,” a ¾-time classic by The Louvin Brothers, opens with a dynamic passage that shifts from under your feet before Darrin takes his turn on lead vocals. Darrin also sings lead on “Big River,” a lonesome tearjerker with fluid vocal interplay and guest Molly Cherryholmes on fiddle. Though harmonies are fantastic throughout, nothing is quite as impressive as the full on, four-part majesty of the Southern Gospel, “Won’t It Be Wonderful There.” Overlapping, complex and engrossing, the orchestration is brilliant as Darrin, Jamie, Jeff Parker and Christian Davis give a magnificent vocal display.

Jamie and Darrin are joined by Jimmy Fortune on the big rig rollin’ title-track, “Brothers of the Highway,” made famous by George Strait. With mandolin and pure acoustic notes helping to pay tribute to lonesome road warriors, the friendly windswept description, Brothers of the highway / children of the wind, comes across with deep meanings. Because as Ricky Skaggs told them, “You can’t know where you’re going unless you know where you’ve been.” And on Brothers of the Highway, Dailey & Vincent offer a glimpse of the exciting road ahead by sharing what has brought them here.

Key Tracks – “Hills of Caroline,’ “Won’t It Be Wonderful There,” “Close By,” “When I Stop Dreaming”

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