The Outsider

Jesse Dayton

Blue Elan Records, 2018

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


Most of us have already heard Jesse Dayton, whether we realized it or not. A guitarist who has played on albums by luminaries like Johnny Cash, Glen Campbell, Willie Nelson, and Waylon Jennings, and who also contributed soundtrack work for flicks with Rob Zombie at the helm, he's also consistently released solo work since the mid '90s. Nevertheless, he has resided in relative obscurity all these years. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Dayton's new effort, The Outsiders, was recorded in several cities during a four year touring stint, but it sounds incredibly cohesive. Artists like Luke Winslow-King and Patrick Sweany are names that run parallel to Dayton, and much like those two luminaries, he's got stories to tell that you'll want to hear.

One of the album's strongest tunes is positioned first: the soulful and rugged “May Have To Do It (Don't Have To Like It)” finds Dayton getting bluesy and playful in a country rock sort of way. Most of the following tracks are variations of these ideas with varying tempos and moods. While “Jailhouse Religion” and “Hurtin' Behind The Pine Curtain” are fuller and louder, “Changin' My Ways” is a ballad by comparison, and “We Lost It” again brings the tempo down in an emotive duet with Brennen Leigh.

The second half of the album doesn't stray too far from the first, which isn't a bad thing. The piano rocker “Tried To Quit (But I Just Quit Tryin')” gets things off to a roaring start, before the swift acoustic guitar driven “Charlottesville,” which addresses the event from an eloquent angle and memorializes hero Heather Heyer. “Belly Of The Beast” is the most outlaw country tune present, and it moves directly into one of the most sparse offerings, “Burnin',” which could soundtrack a campfire. The album ends as strong as it starts with the freewheelin' banjo and pounding percussion of “Killer On The Lamb,” which has softer moments between bits alt-country frenzy.

An impressive release from a guy with varied talents, The Outsiders will appeal to fans of rockabilly, twang, and both restrained and reckless rock 'n' roll.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



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