Heralded bluegrass duo Dailey & Vincent can recall getting a literal case of the shakes the first time they played the Grand Ole Opry in 2007. On March 11 at the Opry, the nerves were still kicking in, but for an entirely different, and even more celebratory, reason.
The three-time IBMA Entertainer of the Year act, comprised of Jamie Dailey and Darrin Vincent, was about to become the newest member of the prestigious Grand Ole Opry family. The duo had been officially invited this past Dec. 30 on their 100th performance at the Opry. That was a moment unto itself, as Dailey remembered backstage prior to their performance.
“We were totally surprised when Marty Stuart stopped the show that night and invited Darrin and I to become members,” Dailey smiled. “If you watch the footage, you can see Darrin actually falling to the floor. We were both so emotional.”
Both were avid listeners to the Opry radio show as youngsters. Dailey loved the comedy routines by Minnie Pearl and his ears particularly perked up when the harmony-based groups would take the stage. Vincent, a quite skillful bass player, paid special attention to the instrumentalists.
During their early professional careers, they made several appearances on the Opry, Dailey as a member of Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver and Vincent as part of Ricky Skaggs’ Kentucky Thunder band. Vincent also performed with his family act The Sally Mountain Show, which included his now-famous sister Rhonda, on the Opry.
Not long after they formed their duo, Dailey and Vincent were invited to play the Opry. By all rights, they should have been old hands at the Opry experience. But instead, those hands were trembling just a mite. “I was scared to death,” Vincent recalled with a slight laugh. “When Jeannie Seely brought us out for our very first time, we were shaking. I think we’re still shaking a little bit tonight.”
Dailey noted that the Opry marks a “hallowed place” for himself and Vincent. “It is our job to be the best ambassadors of the Grand Ole Opry and what it stands for,” Dailey said earnestly.
Fittingly, Jeannie Seely was on hand this night to help officially induct Dailey & Vincent to the Opry. The Grammy-winning singer, who celebrates her 50th anniversary on the Opry this year, presented the Opry Member Award to Dailey, while Ketch Secor of Old Crow Medicine Show did the honors for Vincent.
“I had the honor of introducing Dailey & Vincent for their first Opry appearance,” Seely told the Grand Ole Opry House audience. “I thought to myself, ‘I hope one day I get to see them become members of the Opry.’” Upon accepting his member award, Dailey said, “It is such an honor to be here. We love the Grand Ole Opry.”
For their performance, the duo began with an instrumental, showcasing members of their incredibly talented band, then brought the fans to their feet with a rousing a cappella number, featuring their roof-rattling harmonies. They closed with a tribute to their musical heroes The Statler Brothers, with their cover of “I’ll Go to My Grave Loving You.”
Later in March, Dailey & Vincent will release their latest album “Patriots & Poets,” featuring guest appearances by Steve Martin, Doyle Lawson and many others.