Jesse Dayton's Album of Covers is One of the Greats 

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Ray Redding

You may never have heard Jesse Dayton on the radio, but you've probably heard his music.

The outlaw country singer has 11 studio albums, a broad selection of licensed songs, and has written music for three Rob Zombie movie soundtracks. He has toured with punk bands like the Supersuckers and Social Distortion, and has played for Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson. Dayton has just released a cover album of his favorite songs called Mixtape Volume 1. He's currently on tour promoting the new album, and will perform a Thursday, Sept. 5, show at Neurolux.

Dayton has consistently marched to the beat of his own drum, and the cover album packs in a slew of choice styles like old country, and the Texas/Louisiana blues, zydeco and punk rock. For Dayton, it's not the draw of so many zeroes on a paycheck that allures.

"I never was into this for the money; I would have played for free," Dayton said.

The result is the freedom to write and perform music the way he sees fit. It's a recipe that brings it in line with classic cover albums, like David Bowie's Pin Ups, Johnny Cash's album produced by Rick Rubin or Weezer's The Teal Album. These collections are great because of the time and care put into the way the songs are reimagined.

That's exactly what Dayton does on his album. Instead of just re-singing a classic, he arranged the songs in his own style. The motley collection of artists ranging from The Cars to AC/DC reflects the music he enjoyed the most growing up. The thread that binds it all together is Dayton's passion for the music.

His baritone voice, arrangement style and eclectic background make all of these songs both a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll.

Dayton's next move is writing a memoir that will come out next year. He shows no signs of selling out in order to pack the crowds in, but that's something you'll have to see for yourself.


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