by Tom Thorpe
Two years ago, my wife and I were sitting in a hotel room in Nashville during IBMA in the California Bluegrass Association’s hospitality suite waiting for the showcase of a new group to be called “Dailey & Vincent.” Of course we recognized the names from Jaime’s work with Doyle Lawson’s Quicksilver and Darren’s contributions to Ricky Skaggs’ Kentucky Thunder. So, what were these two guys doing leaving such successful gigs to venture out together with a new, unknown project? Karen and I were in the front row of this small hotel suite, so we were soon to find out. Within a minute into their first song, we heard harmonies coming from this unique blend of talented performers unlike anything we ever heard before! Only one year later, Dailey & Vincent were to take home no fewer than seven trophies at IBMA’s 2008 Award Show for their debut album.
“Brothers from Two Different Mothers” is their second release and this one, too, is a winner. Though the title of this project raises some questions, it refers to the seminal brother performing acts of the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s like the Delmore Brothers, the Louvin Brothers, the Monroe Brothers, the Dixon Brothers, the Lilly Brothers and others. Brother duets have a special chemistry perhaps due to growing up together, biology or matching vocal tones attributed as much to DNA as talent. Throughout this album, it is obvious that Jaime and Darren honor the work done by these earlier brother acts and that they learned valuable lessons by listening closely to those performers. Though their DNA isn’t the same (at least we don’t think so), their voices blend together with the smoothness of a fine meritage wine. Jaime’s high tenor, Darren’s tenor and Jeff Parker’s baritone voices soar to new heights in each of the twelve cuts on this CD.
It seems that everyone I’ve spoken to about “Brothers from Two Different Mothers” has different favorite songs on the album. My choice for top song honors, though, goes to a Ron Spears song called “Please Don’t Let Our Sweet Love Die” which Jaime’s liner notes says was a last minute addition to the CD. This song is so well written and sung, using harmony techniques such as modulation which can only be carried out well by singers as gifted as Jamie Dailey and Darren Vincent. Wow! When I listened to this tune for the first time, it gave me goose bumps. Both the singing and instrumentation raise the bluegrass bar to new heights, which the rest of us mere mortal musicians can only hope to achieve in our wildest dreams. I’d pick this song for IBMA’s bluegrass Song of the Year right now.
“Please Don’t Let Our Sweet Love Die”
Other standout cuts for me include: “Years Ago,” a Statler Brothers song that demonstrates Dailey and Vincent’s respect for the harmonies and performing prowess of the Statlers; “Head Hung Down” is a straightforward, driving bluegrass breakdown song which showcases the instrumental talent of Jamie on guitar, Darren on bass, Joe Dean on banjo, Jeff Parker on mandolin and Adam Haynes on fiddle; “You Oughta Be Here with Me” is a Roger Miller country song that features wonderful three-part harmony; “On the Other Side” kicked off by Jaime will reach into your heart and soul, bringing you to your feet with tears in your eyes.
It’s so hard to just choose a few of the twelve cuts on this project as my favorites, but I encourage you all to get this CD and make your own choices. This album has already debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Top Bluegrass Albums chart. It is polished, classy, moving and another tribute not only to bluegrass brother duets, but also to this fine band. The liner notes included are simple but informative, especially the section that speaks about the various approaches to harmony singing. I can’t wait for October to again sit in the Ryman and watch these guys walk back and forth to the stage to receive their accolades. They’ve earned them!