Music News & Reviews

Bluegrass bows out of '09 in a big way

Dailey & Vincent

7 p.m. Dec. 5 at Old Barn Theatre at Renfro Valley Entertainment Center. $21.08, $23.20. 1-800-765-7464. www.renfrovalley.com.

Barry Scott and Second Wind

7 p.m. Dec. 5 at Meadowgreen Park Music Hall, 303 Bluegrass Lane, Clay City. $10. (606) 663-9008. www.kyfriends.com.

Bluegrass makes its final high-profile bow of the year this weekend. But fear not, string-music fans. Bluegrass won't be out of the Bluegrass for long.

Over at Renfro Valley on Saturday will be the return of Dailey & Vincent, the immensely acclaimed duo of guitarist/vocalist Jamie Dailey and bassist/ mandolinist/guitarist Darrin Vincent. The team won the entertainer of the year trophy for the second time at last month's International Bluegrass Music Association Awards.

Of course, the only problem with taking home the big prize at the IBMA show is that it tends to overshadow the fact that Dailey & Vincent also won for vocal group of the year (also for the second time) and gospel recorded performance of the year (for On the Other Side, the closing track to the duo's 2009 sophomore album, Brothers From Different Mothers).

The music of Dailey & Vincent is the product of serious schooling in traditional bluegrass. Dailey played for nearly a decade as a member of Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver (as a bassist first before switching to guitar), and Vincent clocked just as much time with Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder. Before that, the multiinstrumentalist worked with a family band that included then-unknown sibling Rhonda Vincent. Sister Rhonda's more established Rounder albums have frequently enlisted her brother as producer.

But at the heart of the group's harmony-rich sound is gospel. Dailey was well versed in gospel harmony singing with Lawson. Such expert phrasing is shown in the rich, rootsy vocal exchanges in the original duo tune When I Reach That Home Up There (also from Brothers From Different Mothers). It's curious in a way that On the Other Side won the IBMA gospel award, as it reflects a more progressive folk and country flavor than the deep mountain gospel of When I Reach That Home Up There.

The duo's gospel preferences are enhanced fully on a just-released third album, Singing From the Heart, a recording devoted completely to a cappella gospel quartets. Filling out the quartet roles is an esteemed guest list that includes Lawson, Tony King, Shawn Lane and Molly Skaggs, daughter of Ricky Skaggs and Sharon White.

The album is a benefit project for Tennessee Bible College.

Another Lawson alumnus raised on Southern Gospel is Barry Scott, whose Second Wind band will close out the year at Meadowgreen Park Music Hall in Clay City on Saturday. A Georgia native and another bassist-turned-guitarist (although there was a stint spent playing piano between the two), Scott toured in various bluegrass gospel ensembles before joining Lawson in 1996. He began Second Wind in early 2006.

The Hazel Holler Band will open Scott's show.

Although Meadowgreen Park will wrap up 2009 this weekend, its season is not even half over. The hall is simply taking a monthlong holiday break. Its winter schedule resumes Jan. 2 with Dave Evans and River Bend. Other artists scheduled to perform in early 2010 include Mountain Heart, IIIrd Tyme Out, Larry Sparks, and the bandleader who ignited the careers of Dailey, Vincent and Scott: Doyle Lawson, on Jan. 16.

The Last Waltz

8 p.m. Dec. 5 at Buster's Billiards and Backroom, 899 Manchester St. $10. (859) 368-8871. www.bustersbb.com.

For the fourth consecutive year, the local rockers of Tula will bring together a small army of regional artists to pay homage to The Last Waltz.

What's The Last Waltz, you ask?

It was an elegant, although premature, send-off for The Band, staged at San Francisco's Winterland Ballroom on Thanksgiving night in 1976. Planned as a farewell performance, The Band brought together heroes and friends: Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Van Morrison, Joni Mitchell, Muddy Waters, Dr. John and the like. The soiree was filmed for posterity by Martin Scorsese. As it turned out, The Band re-formed in 1983 without guitarist/songwriter Robbie Robertson and toured for 16 more years.

Tula, in essence, serves as both house band and The Band at its own Last Waltz concerts, replicating much of the set list from the 1976 show, with Kentucky artists helping out on songs performed by The Band's guest stars.

Among Tula's invitees at this year's Last Waltz: Robbie Cosenza (who has all but stolen the show in recent years by singing Neil Diamond's faux-stoic Dry Your Eyes), Otto Helmuth, Nick Stump, Mike Tevis, author Maurice Manning (the original Last Waltz featured spoken-word interludes by Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Michael McClure), Gabe Hensley of The Other Brothers, Corey Wilson of Coralee and the Townies, Karly Dawn Higgins, Brett Ratliff, Dave Clark, Jon Grossman, Ian Thomas and Scott Allen.

Doors for the concert open Saturday at 7 p.m., although Buster's will be open for pool at 5. Prepare for a full night. The Band's 1976 Last Waltz was more than five hours long. There's no telling how far Tula will take things.

More string things

They hail from two esteemed jam bands. Drew Emmitt played mandolin with Leftover Salmon, and Bill Nershi handled guitar duties for String Cheese Incident. On Monday, the newly formed Emmitt-Nershi Band will show off a new string sound at the weekly taping of WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour at The Kentucky Theatre, 214 East Main Street.

The band's debut album, New Country Blues, runs from the traditional bluegrass gusto of Road of Destruction and its tasty title tune to the progressive David Grisman/Tony Rice-inspired sound of Surfing the Red Sea and Flight of the Durban. (6:45 p.m. $10. (859) 252-8888 for reservations. www.woodsongs.com.)

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