Dailey & Vincent’s hallmark is their powerful, exquisite, and almost transcendent harmonies. They may not be brothers by blood, but they are certainly brothers in bluegrass harmony. Six years into their partnership, the duo has, according to the accompanying press material, used their new album, Brothers Of The Highway, to look back at where they’ve been and forward to where they hope to go.
Songs such as “Hills Of Caroline” (written by Vince Gill), “Back To Hancock County” (Pete Goble and Leroy Drumm), “Howdy Neighbor Howdy” (James C. Morris), and “Back To Jackson County” (a Jamie Dailey original) are all infused with nostalgia and a longing for simpler and, perhaps, better times. On other tracks, such as the title tune (previously a hit for George Strait) and the urgent, frenetic “Steel Drivin’ Man” (also penned by Dailey), the boys convey all the urgency and turmoil of the here-and-now with some supercharged picking (courtesy of an assortment of A-team session players) and solo and harmony vocals that are almost staggering in their intensity.
There are also some tasteful and requisite tips of the hat to tradition here as well. D&V do a fine job of brushing the dust off oldies such as the scornful “Tomorrow I’ll Be Gone” (written by Wilma Lee Cooper and recorded by Bill Monroe many moons ago) and the old Bill Monroe original “Close By.” The real stylistic stretch and the real treasure here is a magnificent reprise of “Where’ve You Been,” a contemporary country classic penned by Don Henry and Jon Vezner and originally popularized by Kathy Mattea. The song, with its heartwarming story and irresistible pop melody, is a deeply moving testimony of love, loss, longing, and devotion, and Dailey & Vincent’s rendition is bound to leave few dry eyes in the house. (Rounder Records, One Rounder Way, Burlington, MA 01803, www.rounder.com.)BA