dailey & vincent’s second helping

dailey & vincent: jimmy dailey and darrin vincent. the duo perform tonight at woodsongs.

dailey & vincent: jamie dailey and darrin vincent. the duo performs tonight for the woodsongs old-time radio hour.

It’s the hurdle that faces all great acts, in or out of the bluegrass world. But for Dailey & Vincent, the string music ensemble with a name that could belong to a law firm, such a challenge is poised to crack its already fervent popularity wide open.

We’re speaking, of course, of the often-dreaded second album – dreaded, that is, by many artists when their initial recordings register strongly with a new fanbase.

That is exactly what happened for the team of Jamie Dailey and Darrin Vincent. Their strongly traditional Rounder Records debut album was released in January 2008. Together with a year’s worth of consistent touring, the duo went from being relative unknowns – at least, in terms of group visibility – to an act that clobbered all takers at last fall’s International Bluegrass Music Association Awards.

At the October ceremony, Dailey & Vincent proved to be both a rookie and headlining sensation, winning trophies for Emerging Artist, Entertainer and Album of the Year. And those were just three of the record-breaking seven awards the duo took home that night.

Then on Feb. 15, Dailey & Vincent won big at the 35th Annual SPBGMA (Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music in America) Awards. Among their six wins were honors for Bluegrass Band, Vocal Group, Gospel Group and Song of the the Year.

Finally, there was a write-up on the duo last week in that most unlikely of bluegrass publications, The New York Times.

While Dailey & Vincent may still be newcomers as team leaders, they have long been proven team players in the bluegrass world. Dailey has performed in Lexington many times at the Festival of the Bluegrass as a member of Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver. Vincent is best known for collaborations with his celebrated sister, Rhonda Vincent. He has also clocked road and studio time with such Americana greats as John Hartford and Ricky Skaggs.

Now we come to the inevitable question. What can Dailey & Vincent do for a followup? The answer will hopefully begin to reveal itself at tonight’s taping of the WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour. It will one be of the first opportunities for the duo to present new music from its upcoming Brothers from Different Mothers – an album faced with the daunting task of living up to its immensely popular predecessor. The new album is due for release on March 31.

Dailey & Vincent performed live for Garrison Keillor’s Prairie Home Companion earlier this month, but stuck to tunes from its self-titled debut album (By the Mark, Cumberland River and Poor Boy Workin’ Blues). Let’s hope the duo introduces Different Mothers for WoodSongs.

The album sticks confidently to the duo’s roots in heavily traditional bluegrass and country music. An update of Roger Miller’s You Oughta Be Here With Me is a showcase for sibling-style harmonies while the Statler Brothers’ There Is You makes a very natural transition to a string music setting without losing its sunny country disposition.

The album later opens up for the more wistful, old time folk atmosphere of Winter’s Come and Gone, another gem dropped on Dailey & Vincent’s front porch by Gillian Welch and David Rawlings. That’s the famed team that also penned By the Mark, a tune from Dailey & Vincent’s debut album that went on to win an IBMA award for Gospel Performance of the Year.

Best of all, Dailey & Vincent will make up only half the fun at tonight’s WoodSongs taping. New York born, Texas bred and transplanted Tennessee singer Hal Ketchum, who ruled country radio during the early ‘90s with the hits Small Town Saturday Night, Hearts Are Gonna Roll and Past the Point of Rescue will be the program’s other featured performance guest.

Dailey & Vincent and Hal Ketchum perform at 7 tonight for the WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour at the Kentucky Theatre, 214 E. Main St. Tickets are $10. Call (859) 252-8888.      

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