An extended interview with Jesse Dayton.
TM: You seem to have a love-hate relationship with Nashville.
JD: The thing I really love about Nashville is the songwriters’ community. What I don’t like about Nashville is the corporate people who run it.
TM: You took a pretty extreme step and formed your own label. You’re doing it your own way.
JD: I went to the major label that I was on at the time, without my manager, and said please let me off the label. The guy couldn’t believe it. I went back to Austin and made a record for $5,000, and never looked back. I just realized that in order to make cool music, or make cool art, you have to do it yourself.
TM: Let’s talk about your kind of music. What was the soundtrack of your youth?
JD: Beaumont was always full of Cajun music, and rhythm and blues and country music, and we got our first rock and roll station when I was 15 years old.
TM: How did the duets album come about?
JD: I met Brennen, of all places, a music festival in France. I was backstage singing a George Jones tune, and she came in and started singing it with me. I was like, “Hey, you wanna come onstage tonight? The song “Holdin’ Our Own” is the only one I wrote without Brennen. I had it on the burner, just thinking, “Hey, if I can find a girl who knows country music, then I can write a whole [album].” Well, we ended up writing all the songs in a week.
TM: The album from your Banjo and Sullivan project was a bit of a windfall for you.
JD: It’s been great. It’s kept me from having to be anything that I’m not. I’m never gonna be the guy next door for the Texas frat boy music scene. I’m never gonna be the Nashville guy. So it feels good to be able to be exctly who I wanna be.