Music veteran Jesse Dayton to play McMenamins


Photo Credit: Ray Redding

Known as one of the music industry’s best-kept secrets, Jesse Dayton will performs with The Blasters on Aug. 24 at the Spanish Ballroom at McMenamins in Tacoma, before headlining his own show back in Seattle at Slim’s Last Chance on Aug. 25. Dayton has worked with a who’s who of country and punk legends and is touring in support of the Aug. 9 release of “Mixtape Volume 1,” a collection of deeper cuts by iconic artists infused with Dayton’s Texas-Louisiana style. 

“Mixtape Volume 1” highlights the songs and artists that have shaped and influenced Dayton’s incredible career. Rolling Stone Country recently featured his rendition of The Clash’s “Bankrobber” in their list of “10 New Songs You Should Know,” and last week Ultimate Classic Rock previewed his take on AC/DC’s “Whole Lotta Rosie” in an interview story that gives more insight about the record (

Dayton has played guitar with Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Ryan Bingham and Duff McKagan; toured with the Supersuckers, Social Distortion and X; written soundtracks for three Rob Zombie horror films; and currently has more than 50 songs licensed out to movies and film, with plans to write a memoir. He’s a gifted, intelligent and socially conscious artist, who continuously tours more than 250 dates a year. 

“If you open your arms to the world, it’s amazing what will come back atcha,” drawls East Texas native Dayton, who has a bunch more homespun wisdoms where that came from. A veteran of more than 30 years as a musician, Dayton was discovered as a young teenager playing “a toilet dive” in his hometown of Beaumont by legendary club owner Clifford Antone, who booked him into his famed Austin venue, then immediately shifted him over to the honky-tonk Broken Spoke, where the likes of Willie Nelson, George Strait and Ernest Tubb have had residencies.

“Mixtape Volume 1” is a series of 10 cover songs he thoroughly makes his own, reinterpreting and revisiting them in a brand-new way. On the first track and single, Jackson Browne’s “Redneck Friend,” Dayton takes the song to a place where it would be equally at home on the first two Eagles albums or as a Rolling Stones collaboration with Gram Parsons. He transforms Neil Young’s “Harvest” into a country plaint complete with pedal steel guitar and hurdy-gurdy piano, while offering a majestic take on Gordon Lightfoot’s “If You Could Read My Mind.”

Dayton has managed to create a genuine hybrid that takes alt-country and Americana in new, exciting directions. “The world doesn’t need another outlaw country singer covering Waylon Jennings,” he says of his stylistic mix. “Everyone where I was growing up had no idea Neil Young wrote Waylon’s ‘Are You Ready for the Country?’ or that George Jones’ ‘Bartender’s Blues’ was written by James Taylor, a stoned junkie at the time.”

Need your fix of rockabilly cowpunk? The Blasters have the cure. From early days growing up in the southeast Los Angeles suburb of Downey under the tutelage of T-Bone Walker and Big Joe Turner, to their emergence as central figures in the eclectic LA punk/rock scene of the early ‘80s to their current status as internationally-renowned influences in their own right, the Blasters have spent their lives exploring and expressing the deep and diverse musical legacy that is best described by the title of their first album: “American Music.”

A performance by today’s Blasters – vocalist-guitarist Phil Alvin, drummer Bill Bateman, bassist John Bazz, and guitarist Keith Wyatt – reflects influences that range from George Jones and Carl Perkins to Howlin’ Wolf, James Brown and Bo Diddley.

Blasters shows have been described as “a cross between Creedence and the Clash, with a display of passion and energy only deepened by decades of experience. For all of the ways in which the world has changed in the past few decades, one thing is still guaranteed: the Blasters play American music. Tickets to Dayton’s Aug. 25 show with The Blasters at McMenamins are $25 advance, $30 day of. Doors open at 7 p.m., show is at 8 p.m. All ages welcome. Get tickets at

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