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Songs Sung Bluegrass

By Glenn Weiser

Dailey and Vincent

Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Nov. 19

A bluegrass band that has been hauling off top honors in the high-and-lonesome world wowed a small audience at the Troy Music Hall last Friday night. Formed in 2007, Dailey and Vincent, a sextet fronted by stellar tenor vocalist and guitarist Jamie Dailey and self-described harmony singer and multi-instrumentalist Darrin Vincent, has won the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Best Vocal Group and Best Entertainers for the last three years. Tennessee native Dailey used to play with Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver, and Ricky Skaggs alumnus Vincent is from the famous Missouri musical family that includes his sister Rhonda, who came through town last October with her band, the Rage.

Dailey and Vincent’s show was a vocal tour-de-force. Dailey is a superb tenor—he has power, clarity, and spot-on pitch. Although Vincent’s voice is not as strong as his partner’s, he is still no slouch. Mandolinist Jeff Parker also has some potent pipes, and the band even sported a bass singer, guitarist and bassist Christian Davis, who can rumble down in the subwoofer range of the legendary Paul Robeson.

Throughout the evening the group shifted between duets by Dailey and Vincent, leads sung by either one, trios formed by the addition of Parker, and quartets with the three plus Davis. Their instrumentation frequently varied also, with Vincent emerging as the group’s most versatile picker on guitar, mandolin, and bass. Topping it all was that staple of country music, cornpone humor. One could have done with drier wit, but their tomfoolery was amusing nonetheless.

The band, which also included Joe Dean on banjo and Jesse Stockman on fiddle, opened with Doyle Lawson’s “Poor Boy Workin’ Blues,” a speedy ditty bemoaning the hardships of manual labor, to which Parker contributed a blazing mandolin solo. Far afield from the bluegrass repertory was the next song, British invader Manfred Mann’s “Fox on the Run,” which again featured a tasty mandolin break.

Later, Davis’ basso profundo was spotlighted on the Statler Brothers classic, “Flowers on the Wall,” and also on Carl Perkins’ “Daddy Sang Bass.” Stockman’s fiddle shined on three old-time chestnuts: “The Temperance Reel,” “Salt Creek,” and “Sally Goodin,” an old-time tune whose vague melody has so many variants that I usually can’t recognize it (when Joe Dean soloed with Earl Scruggs’ famous banjo version I caught on at last).

Faithful to country music custom, the band closed with a sacred song, the Statler Brothers “One Less Day to Go,” and encored with another Statlers tune, “Elizabeth,” and a modern a cappella version of “The Star Spangled Banner.”

Bluegrass fans who missed Dailey and Vincent on this tour will want to catch them next time they’re around.

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