Jamie Dailey just finished nine years working with Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver. Darrin Vincent spent the better part of a decade with Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder. Both Skaggs and Lawson are known for putting together powerful traditional bluegrass ensembles, but Dailey and Vincent have chosen to explore an even more traditional acoustic sound: the brother-style duet.
The history of bluegrass music is dotted with brother duets: Bill and Charlie Monroe, the Blue Sky Boys, the Stanley Brothers, the Lilly Brothers. Skaggs and Tony Rice recorded a classic brother-style album in the early 1980s. Don Rigsby and Dudley Connell did the same in the late ’90s. But until now, you’d have been hard-pressed to name a high-profile duo touring the bluegrass circuit today.
Workingman’s anthems, gospel songs, and bittersweet nostalgia are the stuff of Dailey and Vincent. Their characters find work in Detroit factories; they drive railroad spikes; they float cedar logs down the Cumberland River. They are committed to God and country; they’re confidently heaven bound. Their vision of “the good old days” revolves around family and a cool front porch in Elrod, Alabama, 1949.
Dailey and Vincent are both masters of harmony singing, and they are supported here by a cast of top-shelf pickers. The most moving music, however, comes from the pared-down sound of two voices, a guitar, and a mandolin. In fact, their sparse, reverent rendering of Gillian Welch & David Rawlings’ “By The Mark” could plant a seed of faith in the hardest of skeptic hearts.