And he has Dolly Parton to help thank for it.
The two bluegrass musicians had been collaborating on a few projects when their record company asked them to produce a Christmas CD, later named “Christmas Grass Too.”
“Darrin said ‘Well, If I bring a certain amount of artists to the table, will you let Jamie and I have a song on it?’” Dailey recalls.
Vincent brought Dolly Parton to the table, and the pair sang with her on the album’s first track, “Christmas Time’s a Comin’.”
“Then we sang ‘Beautiful Star of Bethlehem,’ and out of all the artists on the record, our (song) went No. 1 for six months,” said Dailey. “That’s when we decided we should probably start our own group.”
With their six-year anniversary approaching in December, the group now known as Dailey & Vincent has gone on to record six albums and earn three Grammy nominations, as well as numerous awards from the International Bluegrass Music Association and the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of America. They’ve toured around the world and worked with a plethora artists — but have a soft spot for their Alabama fans, says Dailey.
“They’re loyal, they’re good people and they’re always just wonderful to be around,” he said. “We love to sing to them and talk with them after the concerts.”
Before taking the stage at the Buckner Events Plaza Friday, Dailey shared more about controlling their career, finding success as a bluegrass band in a country world, and how one handshake led to music history.
Q: Both of you had music careers before coming together as a group. How do you feel the two of you complement each other?
A: We can always learn — there’s always room for improvement. We’ve worked for some of the biggest producers in Nashville, so if they tell you to do something, you do it because they have the experience and they know what they’re talking about, and they know what they want. Darrin and I support each other in our roles. We know what our role is and we do it and we don’t step on each other. And that’s really important.
Q: How did this union come about?
A: Well, Darrin was with Ricky Skaggs and I was with Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver, and we were at the Bluegrass Music Awards in 2001. I was onstage singing on the awards show and I hit a high note that Ricky Skaggs and Darrin Vincent loved … when I came offstage they were both standing there with their hands out. Darrin said, “I’m Darrin Vincent.” Ricky said, “I’m Ricky Skaggs,” and they both said “and we want to be your friend.” So I said “OK, great.”
Q: You’ve since produced six albums in six years — that’s a lot of studio time.
A: We’ve been in the studio a lot (as) Dailey & Vincent, for sure. We’ve had two Grammy nominations. Our first Grammy nomination, we were nominated for Best Country Performance by a Vocal Group or Duo. We went to Hollywood to the Grammys and we lost — Lady Antebellum won everything that year.
We were on the red carpet ... and they asked, “You guys are the bluegrass group. What can you do better than Lady Antebellum?” I thought well, that’s not a fair question. I’m just gonna give a funny answer. I looked back at him, I said “We can sing faster.”
We don’t sell millions of records like Lady Antebellum, and where we pull (around) 1,500 a night they pull close to 20,000 a night. There is a big difference, but talent-wise we bring something different to the table than they do.
Q: Being a bluegrass group allows you to have more control over your fanbase. People are aware of your genre, but you aren’t nearly as mainstream as other country groups. You get to chart your own course, so to speak.
A: One thing that we’re very thankful for is Nashville can’t really run our career. The Lord has blessed us so much in being able to build up our own fanbase, and build our own fanbase throughout America, Europe and Canada, so that when we do 115 days a year, 75 of those are by ourselves as “An Evening With Dailey & Vincent.”
When we sell out 50 of those 75 dates we’re kind of self-contained, and we can kind of do what we want to do and not be pushed in a direction that we don’t want to be pushed in or told what we have to do … we have to make our own way. And that’s what we’ve done and I’m so thankful for it.
IF YOU GO …
WHAT: An Evening with Dailey & Vincent, barbecue dinner and bluegrass concert
WHEN: Friday, barbecue dinner at 5:30 p.m., doors open at 6:30, show at 7:30
WHERE: Foothills Theatre at Buckner Events Plaza, McClellan
COST: $45 dinner and show, $30 show only
INFO: 256-403-6211, online at bucknerplaza.com