Album Review: Dailey & Vincent – Brothers From Different Mothers
In bluegrass music, 2008 was the Year of Dailey and Vincent. The duo burst onto the scene seemingly out of nowhere—though they had actually planned their partnership since first meeting at the 2001 IBMA awards show—and won just about every bluegrass award in existence for their self-titled first album, including Entertainer of the Year and Album of the Year.
Not content to rest on their laurels, Jamie Dailey and Darrin Vincent are back just a year later with sophomore effort Brothers From Different Mothers, an album whose title not only reflects the pair’s close harmonies (reminiscent of the Monroes, Stanleys, and Louvins), but also their similar outlooks on music, life, and faith.
Both Jamie and Darrin are well-versed in the country and bluegrass tradition, and it shows on the wide range of songs they’ve chosen to include on the album–everything from classic Southern gospel (“Oh Ye Must Be Born Again”) to Roger Miller (an excellent version of “You Oughta Be Here With Me”).
Dailey and Vincent have also cited the Statler Brothers as one of their main musical influences, so it comes as no surprise that nearly all the now-retired Statlers show up on Brothers From Different Mothers in one way or another (another Statler song, “More Than A Name On A Wall,” was covered on Dailey & Vincent). Two tracks are written by one half of the surviving Statlers—and the only two Brothers who actually come from the same mothers—Don and Harold Reid: “Years Ago” and “There is You” cover both ends of the Country Music Love Song Spectrum, the former addressing a past suitor watching his love marry another man, the latter finding the song’s protagonist gaining comfort in love when everything else doesn’t quite go the way it should.
Meanwhile, Jimmy Fortune, a former Statler turned Nashville songwriter, co-wrote the album’s simply beautiful closing track. “On the Other Side” raises all those painful questions asked by anyone who’s ever suffered the loss of a loved one, such as “On the other side/Do you ever see me cry?/Do you know how much I miss you?/Wish I could have said goodbye.” The song’s narrator is clearly a person of faith, but still struggles with these issues until he has a dream in which he sees his departed in heaven. In the course of writing this review, I’ve listened to this song approximately 15 times, and I still have to choke back the tears when Dailey and Vincent harmonize on the poignant chorus, sounding a little bit like an angel band of two as they sing “I’ve never been to heaven, I didn’t know what it was like/But God let me have a glimpse in my dream last night/And I could see you smilin’, you were looking right at me/And for the first time in a long time, on your face I saw some peace/And I knew everything was going to be all right/ On the other side.”
If some commercial pop-country duo, say Brooks & Dunn, were to record “On the Other Side,” it would zoom up to #1 on every chart in town and sell a bazillion copies and the maudlin, budget-busting music video would receive near-constant play on CMT. But until then, bluegrass fans will just have to keep the best gospel song of 2009 our little secret.
Brothers From Different Mothers also boasts another Gillian Welch and David Rawlings song, presumably due in part to the massive success achieved by their cover of “By the Mark,” which received awards for Best Gospel Recorded Performance (IBMA) and Song of the Year from the SPBGMA. “Winter’s Come And Gone” probably won’t garner a fraction of the accolades received by its predecessor, but it’s still a unique cover and a good way to spend two minutes and 17 seconds, if you’ve got ‘em.
At barely 35 minutes long, Brothers From Different Mothers is far too short; with bluegrass this good, we could listen to Jamie and Darrin sing forever. And with guest stars including banjoist Ron Block and fiddler Stuart Duncan, it’s hard to imagine how this record could get any better.
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