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Exclusive Q&A with Darrin Vincent of Bluegrass Duo, Dailey & Vincent

The multi-award winning bluegrass duo Dailey & Vincent plays this month with the Nashville Symphony.

Written By:  Luke Levenson

Photographers:  Supplied

The multi-award winning bluegrass duo Dailey & Vincent first debuted their lively old country sound at a sold-out Ryman show in 2007. As individual prodigies of the genre, Jamie Dailey and Darrin Vincent’s first performance together brought their musicianship to new levels.

Since then, the CMT-dubbed “Rockstars of Bluegrass” have been touring with an all-star band of Tennessee pickers, and creating a variety show that's more than just music. With the 2015 premiere of “The Dailey & Vincent Show,” the two have shown their knack to entertain on every level, from comedy to cooking features. Stack on three Grammy nominations, fourteen International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) awards, and four Dove awards—the act seems unstoppable. This month—for the first time—Dailey & Vincent perform original music with the Nashville Symphony. We caught up with Darrin Vincent about their upcoming performance with the Nashville Symphony, tour schedule and new music. 

Nashville Lifestyles (NL): For a bluegrass group, you put on pretty extravagant shows using confetti, stage sets, and flashy lighting—how did the act end up this way?
Darrin Vincent (DV): Well, our “Alive in Concert” show, for example, was all designed by 44 Design in Nashville. We really wanted to do something onstage that we’d never done before, and they put our vision on paper and said “we can do it for you,” designing the lights and flags and all that stuff. That kind of show is fun for us! And for our fans. When we sit down to design the show you’re seeing, we just go as far as we can go with the finances we have. We come up with all the different hooks and things, and we try to make it work.

NL: On April 12, you all are combining forces with the Nashville Symphony — is it something you’ve wanted to do or something they approached you about doing?
DV: It was something we had talked about in a planning meeting a few years ago. We wanted to do some music with different artists and different people, and we had mentioned the Boston Pops Orchestra and the Nashville Symphony. To us, those are two of the greatest musician groups assembled in the United States that do that type of music, and so we started putting plans together to do it in Nashville.

NL: How do you go about choosing the set list so that it works with such a large group of instrumentalists? What are rehearsals like?
DV: You know, we’ve got some songs that when we sing them we think “man, this would be great with a viola section or a horn section.” In our imaginations, we hear it. Our set list will include some newer songs that we’ve never done live. For this show, we talked to Chris Wilkinson over in Nashville, who’s a great string arranger, and she would say, “yeah, we can do this.” We can’t talk symphony talk, so she translates what we say over from hillbilly to symphony! We’ve been working on this show for a few months, telling her our thoughts and ideas, and she puts in on paper and talks to the performers.

NL: Your current tour is already scheduled all the way through mid-2017. How do you find time in between shows to write?
DV: Jaime plans out in advance a certain day that we’re off, and he puts together these writing appointments. Then we just advance the show and the rehearsals when we need to. Like last Monday, we were rehearsing for the show in Nashville!

NL: What other music are you listening to right now?
DV: The other day, I got new Mountain Hearts CD in the mail, so I’ve been listening to that a good bit. I also got another one from Josh Williams, who plays with my sister [Rhonda Vincent]. He’s got a new record out that I’m excited about. I actually sang three or four harmonies on it! So those are the two groups I’ve been listening to lately, and we’re going to promote them on our radio show on WSM, which is on the last Friday of every month from 6-7 a.m. We feature new artists and try to help those just-starting groups and groups that we like.

NL: If you could say one thing or give advice to musicians in Nashville — what would it be?
DV: Never give up on your dream. A lot of folks will give it a year or two then give up and go back home, but if you really have the love of music and you feel like the Lord has given you the gift and the desire to do that, then you need to stick it through, even if you’re delivering pizzas on the side or something.

It seems like longevity is the key to anything — to marriage; to raising children; to a career; if you give it 100 percent and love it, I think it’ll embrace you.

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