Concert Review: Jesse Dayton
By GORDON GUILD
Austin’s Jesse Dayton is a fresh face in the world of Americana and old-time honky-tonk.
Standing onstage at Knuckleheads dressed in black, with a dangling chain wallet hanging from his pocket, Dayton looked like a clean-cut kid with early Elvis sideburns. But with a strum of his guitar and his raspy voice, the youthful guise dissipated and a vintage vibe permeated the bar. With two-stepping shuffle beats, a slapping stand-up bass and whiny steel guitar, Dayton and his band rocketed the crowd back to a late-’50s venue of swinging rockabilly. While staying true to the old country themes of crying in your beer and being an outlaw, he also brings a new, fresh edge to his music.
Dayton reeled out boot-scooting songs about how home is where the hat is, running from the law and ending up in the county morgue. But with his rockabilly background (he was the former frontman of the Road Kings), Dayton brought a progressive twist to the country sound with lyrics in songs like “Honky Tonk Halloween” about trick or treating with trailer park trash.