Dailey & Vincent are easily some of the very best entertainers in bluegrass music. In recent years, they’ve added varying styles to their repertoire, incorporating heavy doses of Southern Gospel-style vocal quartets, classic country, and even pop influences. While it may not be bluegrass in its strictest sense, their music is always skillfully executed, with some of the best vocal work in any genre. Their newest album, Patriots & Poets, both builds and expands upon their previous releases, offering good hard-driving bluegrass alongside polished acoustic country tracks. Most listeners will have heard the opening track, Gimme All the Love You Got, which has been burning up the bluegrass airwaves for several months. It both allows the band to show off its finely-honed quartet harmonies and the musicians’ ability to pick at upwards of 180 bpm. Jamie Dailey’s soaring high lead is impressive as ever, and fiery instrumentation from the likes of Andy Leftwich (mandolin), Stuart Duncan (fiddle), Jessie Baker (banjo), and Seth Taylor (guitar) will set heads spinning. Also on the grassy side of things, though with a grittier sound guided by Baker’s banjo, is Bill and Ole Elijah, a well-written prison song with a bit of a twist at the end. Dailey collaborated with Jeffrey East on this tale of two cellmates, one young and one old, debating an escape.
Until We’re Gone has a smooth nineties country feel, sharing the story of a couple whose marriage has survived for many years despite doubts from others. It’s a sweet love song, written by Dailey, Summer McMahan, and Cory Piatt, and performed as duet with Southern Gospel singer TaRanda Greene. No Place Love Won’t Go has a similar vibe, with an uplifting, cheerful melody and the reassuring message that everyone deserves love. Guest banjo from Bela Fleck gives the song a clear, modern sound.
California is reminiscent of early Brad Paisley (bouncy, humorous, country swing), and tells of a man who reluctantly accompanies his wife, an aspiring actress, to the titular state. Steve Martin makes a brief appearance, tossing out a spoken word verse in his trademark tongue-in-cheek style. Stuart Duncan offers some fun Cajun-style fiddle on Baton Rouge, a toe-tapping number about a man trying to make it home to the one he loves. It’s very catchy, with the repeated phrase “I’d walk from Baton Rouge to Birmingham,” and could certainly be very radio friendly.
Additional highlights include the extremely impressive a capella Gospel quartet He’s Been So Good To Me, which offers praises to the Lord, and God’s Love, a traditional number that features Doyle Lawson on mandolin. Another strong track – perhaps the album’s best – is Here Comes the Flood, featuring a sparse arrangement (two guitars, from Bryan Sutton and Dave Rawlings) and haunting vocals. Co-written by Dailey and Karen Staley, it features evocative, vivid lyrics (“Here comes the flood, carrying away years of toil, sweat, and blood. Here comes the flood, all it left were broken hearts and three feet of mud.”) as it shares the far-reaching effects of a devastating natural disaster.
There’s no doubt from anyone that Dailey & Vincent offer top-shelf music, no matter whether they’re honoring the Statler Brothers, singing worshipful Southern Gospel, or diving into rip-roaring bluegrass. They continue to expand their horizons on Patriots & Poets, keeping one foot planted in their bluegrass roots but reaching out to embrace other forms of acoustic-based music. Fans of the group should enjoy it, and the band will likely draw new listeners as well.
For more information on Dailey & Vincent, visit them online at www.daileyandvincent.com. Their new album is available from a number of music retailers.