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Jesse Dayton

One for the Dance Halls – 2010 (SGRQ)

Reviewed by Stuart Munro

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CDs by Jesse Dayton

The title of Jesse Dayton's latest release - "One for the Dance Halls" - tells you exactly what you're getting. This is dancehall honky tonk and swing, none of it more so than the ode to those venues that gives the album its name and closing number Texas Bound, a piece of classic, hard-charging Texas swing that's chock full of the sound of twin fiddles, swing-tuned steel and jazzy electric runs.

What comes in between is, at just over 28 minutes, a bit slim for what you expect to get these days from a full-length CD, never mind an evening of dancehall music. But while the quantity may be lacking, the quality is just fine.

Dayton applies his resonant baritone as he and a snap-tight backing band essay mid-tempo shuffles (Pretty Girls Make the World Go 'Round), a return foray to country duet territory with singing partner Brennan Leigh (Back to Back), some high-test honky tonk (Falling Apart, one of two songs from the pen of fine Texan singer-songwriter Damon Bramblett) and de riguer weepers (The Bad Ol' Days). The album's highlight, though, is Dayton's cool, countrified re-invention of the delicious, self-conscious wallow of Nick Lowe's Lately I've Let Things Slide.