Jamie Dailey and Darrin Vincent -- who conveniently bill themselves as Dailey & Vincent -- cinched their position as the rock stars of bluegrass Wednesday (Feb. 3) with a performance and release party that packed the Ford Theater at Nashville's Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.
The occasion was the rollout of the duo's new album, Dailey & Vincent Sing the Statler Brothers, a project presented by and through the Cracker Barrel Old Country Store chain of restaurants.
Demonstrating that this was indeed a big deal, all four members of the Statler Brothers came down from their lairs in Staunton, Va., to sit side by side in the front row and cheer their acolytes on. From time to time, Harold Reid, the Statlers' bass singer and designated comedy zinger, shouted out words of encouragement or befuddlement.
Also lending their hands to the applause were Ricky Skaggs, Steve Wariner, Duane Allen and Joe Bonsall of the Oak Ridge Boys, gospel giant Bill Gaither and Country Music Hall of Famer Ralph Emery.
Since they began singing as a team, Dailey and Vincent have been consistently loud in their praise of the Statler Brothers as musical role models, usually managing to squeeze a Statler song or two into each show. The new album, with its 12 Statler standards, brings all that affection to a boil.
Dailey told the audience that when he was still a kid, his dad bought him a cassette of a Statler album and that he vividly remembers the first song he heard on it was the wistful "Elizabeth." Penned by the Statlers' newest member, Jimmy Fortune, the quartet turned it into a No. 1 hit in 1984.
Backed by the four members of their own group and six guest musicians, Dailey & Vincent wowed the crowd with boldly distinctive covers of "Do You Know You Are My Sunshine," "Flowers on Wall," "Elizabeth," "Hello, Mary Lou," "The Class of '57" and ending with "I'll Go to My Grave Loving You."
But the crowd stood and roared for more. So after a decent interval offstage, the duo and its band returned to encore with an a cappella version of "Moses Smote the Waters."
When the tousled-haired Dailey, who was clearly having the time of his life, mentioned that he wanted to thank some of the act's supporters, the ever-practical Skaggs shouted "Plug your [upcoming] dates!"
Dailey did that, but he also had a final story to tell. He recalled the time he and the band stopped for a meal together at a Cracker Barrel restaurant.
"I had to go to the restroom," he said. Then, with a tone of wonder, he added, "I heard myself singing while I used the restroom."
What headier symbol of success could there be?