Award-winning bluegrass duo Dailey & Vincent explained onstage at the Hylton Performing Arts Center Saturday night that they usually model themselves after The Statler Brothers (a member of whom, Don Reid, was there to introduce them). That band’s M.O. was to hit the stage, play a concert that felt five minutes long, and be pulling out of the parking lot before anyone realized they were gone.
But this Dailey & Vincent concert, which was being filmed for a PBS special and DVD, stretched to a whopping three hours. As so often happens with tapings, breaks were often necessary and mishaps abounded, from a broken string for fiddler Molly Cherryholmes to Darrin Vincent’s valiant struggle to narrate from a TelePrompTer. “This is hard work,” confessed Jamie Dailey at one point. “This is not like a regular show.”
But the band’s good humor, relaxed stage presence, and easy rapport with their fans kept the audience laughing and rooting for them—especially since, in between the mishaps, they were playing some of the best bluegrass in the business.
Jamie Dailey and Darrin Vincent have built a loyal fanbase over the past seven years with their strong vocals and instrumentals and beautiful harmonies, along with a generous willingness to share the spotlight with up-and-coming talent. Their band offered a mix of younger and older performers on banjo, guitar, and mandolin, many of whom were showcased and some of whom even got a chance to sing lead.
Guitarist Christian Davis really wowed the crowd when allowed to show off his deep bass voice, especially in some of the gospel numbers. Guitarist Jessie Baker brought true showmanship to his banjo playing, and mandolinist Jeff Parker brought the house down with a tongue-in-cheek ditty called “Thyroid Condition.” (Guitarist Seth Taylor, the “baby” at age 21, was even asked to twerk for the audience before getting to play a trio with the lead singers. Mercifully, he didn’t go quite as far with it as Miley Cyrus.)
The concert kicked off with “We’re All Here to Learn,” a fast-paced and upbeat song despite its minor key, that set the tone for much of what was to come. Now and then the band slowed down to play something sweet and sentimental, but it’s really at its best in the faster, brighter bluegrass songs (this band doesn’t go much for the darker, murder-and-mayhem themed side of bluegrass) and the old-timey gospel numbers, like “When the Roll Is Called Up Yonder” and “By the Mark.” It also came off strong in a set of Statler Brothers numbers, especially “Elizabeth,” the opening of which brought cheers from the crowd.
Now and then there was a hint of ‘70s variety show flavor (“Let Me Be”), easy listening (“Someday Love Will Come”), and even modern jazz (an instrumental number written by Jessie Baker). But it was clear the fans were really there for the tried and true, and they especially appreciated the big finale, in which local groups including the Manassas Chorale and the Mason Symphony Orchestra provided support for a rousing tribute to military veterans and their families. This is a band that isn’t afraid to wear its heart on its sleeve, and their audience was with them for the long haul.
Running Time: Three hours, including several taping breaks.
‘Dailey & Vincent LIVE: A Live Recording Event plays another show tonight, Sunday, September 14, 2014 at 6 PM at Hylton Performing Arts Center – 10960 George Mason Circle, in Manassas, VA. Tickets are available online. For future events at The Hylton Performance Arts Center, go to their performance calendar.
Dailey & Vincent website.