STORY WRITTEN BY RICHARD GUZMAN
Southern California News Group
When Texas country-blues singer Jesse Dayton comes to the area, his fans will hear all about his tough daddy, the sweet lady who taught him to roll cigarettes and the drunk old possum who showed him what country music was all about.
“It’s really is a personal record about my family, about East Texas, about all the crazy characters I grew up with around Louisiana,” Dayton said, referring to his new album, “The Revealer,” which was released on Blue Elan Records in September. “Instead of looking outward, I kind of look inward on this record.”
The Austin resident is in the midst of a national tour alongside The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band and The Supersuckers.
The trio lands in the Philadelphia area for a Nov. 19 performance at MilkBoy.
If you don’t know about Dayto’s music, you can get to know the singer thanks to the 12-track record that’s made up of songs and lyrics taken directly from his life.
“A lot of times it’s observational writing, and this time it’s real stuff that happened with my family and friends,” he said.
On his new album, Dayton mixes country-blues rock with punk and rockabilly attitude and an Americana honky-tonk spirit with a surprising dose of country pop.
“I was trying to make a hybrid of punk, rockabilly, honky-tonk with rhythm and blues and put stories behind them,” Dayton explained.
The 50-year-old released his first record “Rasin’ Cain,” in 1995. It quickly earned him the attention of some of his musical heroes as he was hired to play on the albums and tour with such legends as Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash and Glen Campbell. He’s also got some punk creds since he’s toured with Mike Ness of Social Distortion and filled in for Billy Zoom of X during the punk band’s North American tour.
And he’s dabbled in Hollywood too, recording the soundtracks for Rob Zombie’s films “The Devil’s Rejects” and “Halloween 2.”
Dayton, however, calls his new album his best work yet, thanks to the Texas storytelling approach. And it all starts off with a riotous tale about his old man and some of his uncles in a tune called “Daddy Was a Badass.”
“He met mama on the dance floor in deep East Texas,” Dayton sings in his baritone voice on the first track.
“He had an oil baron’s son givin’ him a run for her hand, “he continues, “so he took the rich kid to the back of the bar, threatened him with his life.”
He explained: “It’s kind of a combination of my dad my uncles and some other characters that I met. Yeah there’s a lot of truth to that.”
Another standout that shows a more sensitive side of the singer is “Mrs. Victoria (Beautiful Thing),” a song about his Creole nanny who taught him about music and how to roll a cigarette.
Dayton also pays tribute to his musical hero in a song called “Possum Ran Over My Grave,” which is about country singer George Jones, whose nickname was The Possum.
Dayton recalls going with his father to see the singer perform — and trip over the monitor with a drink in his hand.
“I looked up at my old man and asked, ‘What’s wrong with him, Daddy?’ and he said, ‘Son, that’s country music,’ “ Dayton recalled.