by Kara Martinez Bachman
the deep and down to earth
Walking the Walk
Aaron McCune is as down-to-earth as his voice is deep. He seems as real as real can be, and his incredible bass range makes everything he says sound meaningful and warm. This unpretentious, comfortable feeling helps the unique vocalist add low-down vocal oomph to the music of Dailey & Vincent.
When he’s not touring in the band of the well-known duo, he’s doing things like bringing his kids to softball tournaments. Or, he’s sitting outside among the banana peppers he grows in his container garden, listening to the clattering sounds of combines working in the corn fields surrounding his property in southern Illinois, in a little township just across the state line from Paducah, Kentucky.
McCune not only talks the talk of a cohesive family life that’s lived as if it matters, but it sounds as if he also walks the walk.
Once, he even took time off for years because he’d missed too many events with his children. He’d been touring heavily with the gospel group Gold City Quartet. They’d been on the road, and a break was in order. It took a request to sing with some heavy hitters to bring him back into the biz.
“The fifth year after being off the road,” he reminisced, “The Oak Ridge Boys asked if I could fill in,” That lit the fire yet again. “If it’s in your blood,” McCune said, “and you’re not doing what you love to do, you’re just miserable.”
He first connected with Dailey & Vincent about 20 years ago. It was a chance meeting in a recording studio.
“Doyle Lawson was down the hall cutting their tracks,” he recalled. “That’s when I first met Jamie Dailey.”
It was some time before the stars aligned, and McCune ended up in Dailey’s band. He laughs that he can’t remember the year he joined Dailey & Vincent. Six, seven years ago. Something like that.
Since then, he’s lent his deep vocals to two records, the 2017 release “Patriots & Poets” and a holiday record Dailey & Vincent released in 2018, “The Sounds of Christmas.” It’s been a little while since something new has come out, and McCune was pleased to say the wait will soon be over.
“We’ve got a brand new country album that’s gonna be coming out,” he said. You read that right … country. It’s gonna be a bit of a departure, but McCune said it will still be very traditional.
McCune said he will provide vocals for four cuts and hinted that it will contain “a couple of original songs,” something by The Oak Ridge Boys, and a re-do of “I’ll Leave My Heart in Tennessee,” which should be a familiar number for Dailey & Vincent fans.
“We’ve been working on it for about a year,” he said, adding that it’s somewhere in production now and “must be about done.” He said there’s no projected release date, but he hopes it might be sometime this fall.
Admittedly, McCune sounds glad to be busy again. As it was for most performers, things slowed during the Covid-19 shutdowns. He made good use, though, of the downtime.
“I did three albums with William Golden,” he said. “We were going insane because we could not travel or work. He wanted to do an album with him and his sons.”
McCune said it was “supposed to have been just one album,” but they ended up recording a gospel record followed by not one but two country albums.
“That kept me sane,” he admitted. “At least I was working on something.”
A Multipurpose Voice
Reared in the mountains of West Virginia, McCune has been connected to bluegrass his whole life. His grandfather, who worked in the coal mines, knew Dr. Ralph Stanley “way back when.” It seems bass vocals were in McCune’s genes.
“He sure was a great singer,” McCune said of his grandfather. “He was a bass singer…but he had more of a Johnny Cash range.”
McCune said it was clear from a young age he’d grow up to have that unique, booming voice.
“I was 14 and talking like this,” he laughed. “It never was really high.”
This family man – who mentions his wife and kids often – told a story of how his voice is useful when parenting teenagers.
“My teenage daughter … all her friends and the boys and stuff, they’re afraid of me,” McCune chuckled. “If I’m not singing, it scares them.”
“He’s not mean,” his daughter often has to reassure her friends.
“And I say… that’s okay…let them be afraid of me,” he joked.