I may have to do it, but I don’t have to like it – Jesse Dayton


(photo by Chris Davis)

“What’s up Stardust Theater? We gonna do this or not?” – that was the first thing Jesse Dayton hit the crowd with on the recent Outlaw Country Cruise after his opening number. And, do it, we all did.

If you don’t know about Jesse Dayton by now, shame on you. He is bringing and swing East Texas honkytonk rock-n-roll that makes you want to dance and get on your feet, while at the same time get in a fight at the bar with the loudmouth guy in the corner. His songwriting keeps getting stronger and stronger, and he is also a world-class, Jerry Reed-level guitar picker (if you know guitar playing, you know that’s a high compliment).

Highlights of this show included “Daddy Was a Badass”, “May Have to Do it (But I don’t Have to Like it)”, “Bankrobber”, “Hurtin’ Behind the Pine Curtain”, “Tried to Quit”, “I’m at Home Gettin’ Hammered” and the list goes on and on. We were able catch Jesse’s solo shows and also saw him play on the Kris Kristofferson tribute, playing with Lee “Scratch” Perry, and sitting in on guitar with the world’s greatest rock-n-roll band the Supersuckers.

Jesse has a heart not only for this music but for being on the right side of history. His songs, “Charlottesville” and “Mrs. Victoria (Beautiful Thing)” strike strong chords against racism, anti-semitism, and all-in-all assholery. Jessespeaks an honest truth in his music. You don’t often hear this perspective coming out of what is known as “Outlaw Country,” but Jesse doesn’t care. He’ll pull on his boots and stand tall.

I know I use this column to promote the music that I love, but I mean it again…if Jesse Dayton comes close to you, make sure you go and see him. Buy a t-shirt or something else from the merchandise table, as all touring artists can use the support. I hope Jessemakes tons of music moving forward, and I look forward to seeing him again soon and hearing his future projects.