Dailey & Vincent

DVNewpromoDailey & Vincent
Celebrate Tenth Anniversary With Opry Induction And New Album
By Bill Conger

If Jamie Dailey and Darrin Vincent aren’t best buddies, they deserve an Oscar for acting. Over the last ten years, they’ve shared the same tour bus, traveling to 120 or more tour dates during most years. Add that to the numerous hours of taping their RFD-TV variety show, the business of the music business, and myriad of other duties. That much togetherness is enough to put pressure on the best of marriages, so it’s a good thing that they genuinely like each other.

“Oddly enough, we get along like brothers,” says Vincent. “We just don’t fight as much,” Dailey laughs. “We really don’t,” Vincent said. “We grew up 600 miles apart. I’m in Missouri, him in Gainesboro, Tenn. We’ve got so much in common. We could order at a restaurant separately and order the same food. When we first met at Cracker Barrel, after we met at IBMA, we became friends. The first time we ever sang together, it was like we were family.” Perhaps a DNA test? “My dad has traveled a lot,” Dailey jokes.

Their humor is one part of the equation that has made this brother-type duo work, but their faith is the solid foundation that cements the union. “It  just fit together so perfectly,” said Vincent. “The Lord has really put it together. It’s His will, and we give Him the credit. When it goes wrong, we take the blame for that. It’s our fault. We messed up. Being around each other, we enjoy that. We’ve got a bunch of great guys to travel the road with. To have made it ten years, it feels like yesterday to me. It’s gone by so quickly.”

In that decade, Dailey & Vincent have raked in plenty of pats on the back from fans and peers in the industry. They’ve won 35 IBMA Awards including three-time IBMA Entertainer Of The Year, three-time Vocal Group Of The Year, four DOVE awards, and have been nominated collectively three times for a Grammy. Their CD Alive! In Concert debuted at #1 on the Billboard bluegrass chart where it remained at the top for over 15 weeks.

“We’ve been very blessed,” says Vincent. “Still, there’s a lot of challenges you have to face to keep the business moving forward. We’ve been able to do that through the Lord’s grace and help and the love of our families and friends.”

“One of the things we’ve learned through the years is to rely heavily on our faith in the Lord and our families, and a lot on each other,” adds Dailey. “Because what even our band doesn’t know and a lot of fans don’t know is we’re out here fighting battles together. We have to lean on one another pretty hard at times, even when it’s great.”

One of the great moments came at the end of 2016 when Dailey & Vincent were asked to join the elite fraternity at the Grand Ole Opry during their 100th performance. “We come in backstage at The Ryman, and we’re walking down the hallway to the dressing room, and I see this big cake box that says ‘D.V.’ on it,” recalls Dailey. “I looked at Darrin and said, ‘Bless their hearts! I bet you they’re going to interrupt our show and bring a cake out to celebrate ten years, have the audience to clap, and we’ll end the show and go on the road to Indiana.”

After their performance ended, though, the guys discovered another surprise was in store, as more than thirty family members were waiting to hear the most significant invitation of their career.” Marty Stuart said, ‘You’ve got family here tonight,’” Vincent recalls. “I was thinking the fans. They lifted the lights. I had seen my son, who was supposed to be headed to Indianapolis about three hours prior, and my wife was there. It was so quick, that’s all I could see. Then, he said, ‘Country music needs you. Bluegrass needs you, and the Grand Ole Opry family would like to invite you to be the next members of the Grand Ole Opry.’ When he said that, we both started squalling like little babies. It was so overwhelming. All I could think about was, man, I wish my daddy was here. My father had passed away two years ago. I thought what an awesome moment that would have been for him because his mom and dad, my mom and dad, as children, they grew up listening to WSM Grand Ole Opry. That was it. That was the big one! It’s changed my life completely. My whole outlook on life has changed after that.”

“That really hit us hard,” Dailey adds. “We grew up listening to it as kids and watching it on television. That’s where we started our career. That was our first paid tour date—the Grand Ole Opry. I was stunned, bawling, and I looked down, and he’s on all fours, praying and kissing the floor.”

“I was crying, thanking the Lord for his favor on us,” explains Vincent. “I feel so unworthy. There are so many great artists, singers and players, and for Him to have favor on us and the Grand Ole Opry, it’s just overwhelming. That puts you in a whole league that’s separated from everybody with the likes of Alison Krauss, Ricky Skaggs, Del McCoury, Bill Monroe, Carrie Underwood, Garth Brooks, etc. We’re in that fraternity with them. I still cannot get over it.”

No doubt the new Opry membership is the highlight of their career so far. But Dailey & Vincent are also basking in the success of their television variety show on RFD-TV. It’s a dream that Dailey has had since he was introduced to the Statler Brothers’ music as a nine-year-old. “I was in the front yard playing, up above the Cumberland River, and my dad bought me a boombox with a cassette player in it,” Dailey recalls. “He plugged it in outside and set it on the retainer wall. This song came on that says Oh, Elizabeth, and I just stopped in my tracks. I thought, ‘My God! What is that?!’ I said, ‘Man, that’s what I want to do. I love that!’ Years later, they had their own television show for seven years on TNN, and I would lay in the floor like that again and watch the whole show and just be enthralled with it. I always thought I’d love to have my own TV variety show like that someday and sing all kinds of different songs like they did.”

Eventually, Dailey would put his ideas for a show on paper, but nothing happened for five years until Springer Mountain Farms  signed on as a sponsor for the band. The Dailey & Vincent Show returned for a second season by popular demand. It airs Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. (ET).

Patriots & Poets

   This year, Dailey & Vincent released another successful CD, the critically-acclaimed Patriots & Poets, that went to #2 on the Billboard bluegrass albums chart. Featuring a variety of special musical collaborations, it’s their first CD to have all original songs on it. Many of the ideas started percolating for Dailey while he was chilling out on the bus.

“He’ll be up here in his bunk,” Dailey said during the conversation on their bus. “I sleep in the back. He sleeps toward the front of the bunk area. It might be one o’clock, two o’clock in the morning. I’ll be lying there reading a book and something will hit me. Oh, that’s a good melody, and it’s rolling around in my little old head that doesn’t have much of a brain in it. I’ll pull my phone out and hit the recorder and hum it, or sometimes it’s words that hit. One time, I was knocking on his door. ‘Wake up! Wake up! Listen to this song right here.’ He’s like, ‘Can it not wait until sound check tomorrow morning?’”

On other occasions, Dailey likes to co-write. On the latest CD, he penned “Beautiful Scars” with gospel star Joseph Habedank. “When we were writing it, we wanted to talk about how all of us have battle scars from life,” explains Dailey. “We’ve all been through something, and we’ve got the scars to prove it, and that’s what this song talks about it. All of us have beautiful scars, but God loves broken things because He fixes them.”

Another cut, “California,” that features legendary comedian Steve Martin, Dailey began writing on the bus. “I had the window open and I was looking out and thinking, ‘We’ve sung about Mississippi, Tennessee, West Virginia, Georgia, and Alabama and all these states. We never sing about California. What all is in California? Maybe we should write about it? And all of a sudden this melody hit me.”

He turned to the band’s guitar ace Shaun Richardson and the band’s former fiddler B.J. Cherryholmes to help him jazz up the melody and then asked for some assistance from hit songwriter Karen Staley. “I said, ‘Karen I want this song to have a whimsical feel to it. I want it to be light and a little funny and maybe poking at California just a little bit without being offensive.’ Within a day, she had this thing written. Brilliant! Brilliant!”

When they went to the studio to record the song, one section had a talking part that Dailey tried to do, but he wasn’t pleased with the results. “It was a disaster,” Dailey admits. “I could not make it what it needed to be, and I knew I couldn’t. Darrin was trying to be encouraging. I said, ‘Darrin this is not it. Let’s call in a comedian.” Steve Martin agreed to record the part.

“He e-mailed me back three different performances of that talking point,” said Vincent. “I edited them together. It’s really funny stuff.”

“He just took it to another level,” adds Dailey. “True artists understand their fields. He understands banjo. He’s great at that. He understands singing and bands. He’s great at that. But he also understands something I don’t quite understand, and that’s how to act in a song. If you give me a script to act on camera, I can probably squeeze through it fairly decently, but it’s a different thing when your headphones are on in front of a microphone with no audience or no direction. He just felt that. It’s amazing because it sounds like he’s acting in a movie. You’re living in the song and seeing it as it plays out.”

Another musical guest, Christian artist TaRanda Greene, joined the guys on “Until We’re Gone.” Jamie’s former employer, bluegrass icon Doyle Lawson adds his vocal talents on “God’s Love” while David Rawlings lends his pipes to “Here Comes The Flood.” Dailey turned to Country Music Hall of Fame singer/songwriter Bill Anderson along with Jeffrey East to write “That Feel Good Music.” Anderson is also featured in the fun upbeat video for the song. Banjo powerhouse Bela Fleck brought his five-string wizardry to “No Place Love Won’t Go.”

The Next Ten Years and Beyond

   Over the last decade, Dailey & Vincent have garnered a plentiful list of accomplishments and memories, but they aren’t slacking off on their hard-driving work ethic. They want to be the best they can be for their fans while looking to their future. “At the end of the day, it comes down to the dollars and how you manage them to where you’ll be able to do this or that when you get older, especially for people like us who don’t have company retirement plans,” says Dailey. “We have to focus hard on economics, revenue, expenses, and make sure it’s managed correctly. It’s a roller-coaster. You’re having to constantly pull and tug to try to get there. That’s one of the long-term goals that we are in the middle of working on now, so that ten years down the road, we can look at taking chances of producing more, acting, or doing whatever we want to do.”

They are also learning that it makes more sense to work wiser than harder. “Last year, we took one week and one full weekend off every month. First time we’ve ever done that. We pulled the dates down from 140 to 100, plus the Grand Ole Opry to try to spend more time with our families and to rest and heal. This is the difference between us at first, but I think I finally got him on my side,” Dailey says as Vincent laughs in recognition. “When we first started, our first year, I booked 86 of the dates, and [manager] Don Light booked the rest. We had 140 dates that year, but I said in the middle of that 140 dates, we need to schedule a ten-day summer vacation. Darrin went, ‘What?’”

“I never had a vacation,” said Vincent. “Never!”

“Darrin said, ‘That’s crazy,’” recalls Jamie. “I said, ‘No, it’s not. We have to have some down time in the middle of the year to kick our heels here and breathe.’ I went on to Mexico. I had a big time, kicked backed and relaxed, came back fresh. I was ready to hit the road. We got out on the bus, and I said, ‘What did you do?’ He said, ‘I was working the whole time. I think next year, I’ll take a vacation somewhere.’ From there on out, we plan those vacations. That makes all the difference in the world because we get to recharge our batteries. It gives me a clearer head to think and create.”

Along with their band members—Jeff Parker (mandolin, vocals), Aaron McCune (guitar, vocals), Patrick McAvinue (fiddle), Jessie Banker (banjo), Buddy Hyatt (piano), and Shaun Richardson (lead guitar)—Dailey & Vincent continue to give it their all at performances across the country in a variety of musical genres.

“We love bluegrass,” says Dailey. “We appreciate the music, and we want to see it grow and do what we can to help it. At the same time, as artists, we don’t like being put in a box. The crowds across America and International crowds have hung with us. Some of the traditionalists have left us, and we understand that. It doesn’t hurt our feelings. You go as a fan and you see the kind of music you want to see. You don’t go see what you don’t want to see. So, we’ve tried to grow our business in a way that we can sing and play whatever it is we feel like we want to. The most important part to us is not genre based. The most important part for us is as we tell the band every night that we play across anywhere in the world at any given moment, at any given concert, there are people in that audience who may be going through health issues, they may be going through divorces, they may be going through financial problems, family problems, whatever it is. It is our job, when they pay good money to come and see you, to take them on a ninety-minute ride that will help put smiles on their faces when they leave and maybe make their night a little bit better and take those troubles away from them the best we can. To us, that’s what it’s about.”