Dailey & Vincent touch on a variety of religious music styles, including brother duet, traditional and contemporary bluegrass, country, and southern gospel, though curiously, not a cappella. Most basic in approach is their cover of Willie Nelson’s masterpiece of nostalgia and longed-for values, “Family Bible.” Pared instrumentally to just two guitars played in modified Carter-style and harmonized in a way that, at times, isolates their two voices, the track gives the purest showcasing of their vocals and is among the album’s mesmerizing best. That the song is oft-recorded does not matter in the least. Some songs are impervious to repetition, and while you won’t completely forget other versions, their spare approach makes it all the more achingly humble and emotional.
Vincent’s original “Until At Last I’m Home” also starts in spare fashion, but adds layers quickly. Encapsulated in its all-too-brief two-and-a-half minutes is a whirlwind history of the brother-duet style. Think of the way the Louvins moved from mandolin/guitar duets to a more complex band sound by the early ’60s, and you’ll have a feel for this wonderful track. From there, it’s an easy step to the up-tempo traditional bluegrass of “Living In The Kingdom Of God,” “Cast Aside,” and “Cross The River To The Other Side Of Jordan,” any one of which can be considered a standout track.
There, however, for the most part ends the bluegrass. Drums and piano and string and horn arrangements dominate most of the rest, and the sound shifts decidedly towards big production. While followers of bluegrass may have mixed thoughts about that, the music (including the “The Fourth Man In The Fire,” the rousing, lighthearted “Noah Found Grace In The Eyes Of The Lord,” and Buck Owens’ “Eternal Vacation”) lacks nothing in the way of excellent performance and good spirit. (Cracker Barrel, P.O. Box 787, Lebanon, TN 37088, www.crackerbarrel.com.) BW