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Jesse Dayton

Country Soul Brother – 2004 (Stag)

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

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CDs by Jesse Dayton

Jesse Dayton's credentials as a modern day honky-tonk troubadour are well established, but his new release reveals how this cowboy also has plenty of soul. The opening title track may not give soul icon Al Green a run for his money, but its juiced-up organ accompaniment sure adds extra R&B flavoring to the mix.

But that's not all, as a TV pitchman might exclaim. "It Won't Always Be Like This" also sounds like old soul-rock with its added brass section, and these same horns make return visits to "Just To Get You Off My Mind" and "Talkin' Bobby Dale's Hard Luck Blues." Dayton explores a few other colors with this release, as well, including accordion-driven Tex-Mex on "Moravia" and Elvis-y Southern gospel for "Jesus Pick Me Up." More surprising than his infusion of soul, however, is his cover of The Cars' "Just What I Needed." Don't worry, though, because this recording is so pedal-steel-to-the-metal, you'd almost believe that that band had originated in Austin, not Boston, if you didn't know any better. And since Dayton writes such fine songs, exemplified by the hopeful "Ain't Grace Amazing," it almost doesn't matter what particular style he chooses to couch them in.

Simply put: Dayton fits right in with the country soul brotherhood.