Record Review 

Finding just the right blend of sweet country twang and sultry blues seems to come naturally to a lot of Texas musicians -- and Jesse Dayton is no exception. His latest release, Hey Nashvegas!, is a mini-musical travelogue that not only glorifies his Lone Star roots, but includes nods to Music City and acknowledges the influence of his recent stint in California. Dayton has successfully integrated the various musical styles he was exposed to in his youth into an entertaining and coherent sound. And with a little help from some well-known friends, he delivers the goods with passion.

On Hey Nashvegas!, Dayton alternately rocks out without trepidation, sings the blues like he means it and lays down pure honky-tonk laments (like the standout "Don't Take Yesterday," featuring Mandy Barnett) that would make his predecessors proud. Joined by the Dixie Chicks on the swinging "Panhandle Jane," Dayton half-shouts his way through the homage to Bob Wills.

Other guests include pianist Floyd Domino, fiddler Johnny Gimble and accordionist Flaco Jimenez. And Dayton's band is more than able to hold its own in such good company, especially dobro/pedal steel player Brian Thomas. It all comes together on the final track, the hot shuffle "Roses Ain't Enough." Hey Nashvegas! is the sound of a fine writer, singer and musician coming into his own.

Jesse Dayton plays the Echo Lounge Wed., May 22.


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