3:1 CD Review: The Gospel Side of Dailey & Vincent

3:1 reviews offer three highlights of an album, and one area that could have been improved.

1. Living in the Kingdom of God: This uptempo album opener instantly reminds Southern Gospel fans of Dailey & Vincent why they came to love the group in the first place. Sometimes infusing a bluegrass instrumental palette with Southern Gospel-inspired vocals seems awkward. But sometimes it is brilliant genius. This song is the latter. 

2. The Fourth Man: On three or four tracks, Dailey & Vincent took a straight-ahead Southern Gospel piano-led approach. (Tim Parton did some of the piano parts, though it’s not credited which piano tracks are his.) Sometimes it’s a little awkward (see below), but “The Fourth Man” seems so natural that one might think Dailey & Vincent could fit in comfortably on the Southern Gospel circuit if the Bluegrass gig ever falls through. The project is at least half covers; this is both the strongest of the covers and the strongest of the Southern Gospel tracks.

3. Until At Last I’m Home: Darrin Vincent was one of the song’s co-writers, making the two strongest songs on the project the two contributed by the group’s front men. This is certainly the hardest moment on the album to capture in words. So often, one can walk away from a song thinking that just a little more vocal enthusiasm, instrumental energy, or orchestration would have brought the song to its full potential. But this song has the enthusiasm and the drive. It has the driving banjo, the enthusiastic vocals, and even the big final verse and chorus. But somehow it feels like too much.

Picture the song with just a guitar and mandolin, or with an acoustic-driven setting like the recent Collingsworth Family track “That’s the Place I’m Longing to Go.” The picture it performed in a slower, mellow arrangement, with perhaps a slight hint of melancholy, by a trio with tight harmonies like Voices Won, Paid in Full, or Declaration. This could be that sort of show-stopping moment that leaves an audience silent for several moments after the passing note.

Or, picture Dailey & Vincent delivering it much like they delivered “By the Mark,” a song that helped launch their career. This could have been another “By the Mark” for them. Yet even as it is, it’s strong enough to be one of the standout tracks.

:1. Noah Found Grace in the Eyes of the Lord: Sometimes pairing Dailey & Vincent’s vocals with a piano-driven Southern Gospel track works so well that a casual listener might be surprised to learn that the group is one of Bluegrass’s hottest bands. This is the case on “The Fourth Man” (see above); it’s even more evident on “Daddy Sang Bass,” where a prominent string accompaniment joins the piano, bass, and percussion. “Noah Found Grace in the Eyes of the Lord” is another story; while it will likely delight bluegrass fans new to the song, Southern Gospel fans are more likely to walk away thinking that the song would have been better off left in the hands of the Statler Brothers and Southern Gospel groups. This rendition is far from terrible; it’s simply not as strong as the other covers.

Traditional or Progressive: Bluegrass on most tracks, traditional Southern Gospel on three or four.

Radio single picks: “Living in the Kingdom of God,” “Until at Last I’m Home”

Average song rating: 3.42 stars

Album Rating: 4 stars

Credits: Producers: Jamie Dailey, Darrin Vincent. Group members: Jamie Dailey (tenor vocals / guitar), Darrin Vincent (lead vocals / bass), Joe Dean (banjo), Jeff Parker (mandolin), Christian Davis (bass vocals / guitar), BJ Cherryholmes (fiddle). Review copy provided by Cracker Barrel.

Song List: Living in the Kingdom of God; Eternal Vacation; Peace that Covers all the Pain; Cast Aside; Noah Found Grace in the Eyes of the Lord; Family Bible; The Fourth Man in the Fire; Until at Last I’m Home; Cross Over to the Other Side of Jordan; Come Back to Me; Welcome Home; Daddy Sang Bass.

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