At The Theater: Dailey and Vincent
Dailey and Vincent, three-time International Bluegrass Music Association Entertainers of the Year and Vocal Group of the Year, Dove award winners and two-time Grammy nominees, flew into Franklin on a fast track Friday night.
An excited sold-out crowd of 1,500 raised the roof at the state-of-the-art Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts when Jamie Dailey and Darrin Vincent and their eight-piece band bounded onstage.
I knew before the show started that their playlist included new material they were trying out in preparation for their live CD/DVD/public television concert Sept. 13 and 14 at the Hylton Performing Arts Center at George Mason University, because a last-minute media pass included a brief one-on-one chat with co-founder Darrin Vincent.
I was almost late for the scheduled 6:45 p.m. interview. SMCPA general manager Paul Garner quickly escorted me backstage to the 'green' room. Pleasant and efficient, he's good at his job.
"Just sit there while I try to find Darrin,"he said as he pointed me to table in front of a counter full of casseroles and cakes.
The Taylors came into the room right behind me. "We're from Cleveland, Georgia. I'm Mark. I work for Springer Farms Chicken. They sponsor Dailey and Vincent. That's my wife Glenda," he said. "She owns Glenda's Restaurant in Cleveland, near Helen, and the newspaper just did a poll and she won in five categories — best biscuits, bread, sweet tea, dessert and family restaurant." He beamed and said it all in one breath.
A man carrying snare drum sticks came straight toward me. I introduced myself and he said, "I'm just looking for water. Have you seen any?" He was the band's drummer.
By now it was 7 p.m. The show started at 7:30 p.m. About that time a nice looking man in a spiffy tailored suit came through the back door. He looked as if he could be the husband of a public school principal. Darrin Vincent is.
We shook hands and he sat down at the round table, relaxed, seemingly oblivious to the fact that he had a sold-out show to play in less than 25 minutes. I broke the ice by mentioning their 2014 IBMA nominations and I told him I'm a voting member. "So I'll see you in Raleigh in October at the awards show?" I asked.
Vincent talks with his hands. "I don't know, I just don't know," he said, hands in the air. "We were just invited last night and we've had another show booked for months. We want to go, but it's a 20-hour trip. I just don't know if we'll have time to get there."
When he told me about playing with Ricky Skaggs, I mentioned Marc Pruett who earned his Grammy award playing with Skaggs. "Then you know Marc?" I asked. "He's one of us in Haywood County."
Again the hands went up. "Well, you'll have to vote for Balsam Range. You can't vote for us," he said, shaking his head.
I mentioned other successful Haywood County musicians, concluding with IBMA winning banjo wizard Steve Sutton's name: "Steve lives right down the street from me."
Vincent's eyes widened. "You live in a hotbed of bluegrass," he said definitively. We spoke of small towns. "My grandparents lived in Lick Skillet, Missouri," he said. "It doesn't get any smaller than that."
Vincent began singing with his family when he was three years old. His sister Rhonda of Rhonda Vincent and the Rage is considered the Queen of Bluegrass.
As easy to talk to as Darrin Vincent was, he had a show to do and I was more conscious of his time than he seemed to be. I thanked him and reluctantly made my way to the lobby.
My good seat was just in front of Shirley and Don Ezell of Waynesville and Martha and Michael Davis of the Barber's Orchard neighborhood. The Davis's son Christian sings bass with Dailey and Vincent and was an audience favorite. His full bass tones reminded me of the Statler Brothers' Harold Reid. A couple of year ago Dailey and Vincent covered the Statler Brothers' biggest hits in a chart-topping, award-winning album. They sang three of those songs Friday night, to the delight of a revved-up audience.
Dailey and Vincent are highly respected in gospel circles. The biggest crowd pleasers in a night of them were their gospel numbers. "I'll Live Again," a hit for the Kingsmen Quartet in 1999 and one of the Singing News Fan Award's Top 10 of that year, was written by Ila Chandler Knight of Balsam. A graduate of Waynesville Township High School, Knight became a prolific and successful writer of gospel songs and has traveled the world as a performer.
"I wrote that in 1976," she said, "And I wasn't too crazy about it. Now it's considered a classic. Dailey and Vincent do a great job on it. I heard them do it at Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. I'm hoping they will record it."
Dailey and Vincent are a class act. If you're still on the fence about bluegrass/country music, you need to hear this top-notch band. There's something for everybody when Dailey and Vincent take the stage, and it's all good. These folks know how to do it.