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Hear Jesse Dayton Cover Neil Young, AC/DC on New Album ‘Mixtape Volume 1’

Eclectic East Texas songwriter interprets the diverse artists who inspired him

Jesse Dayton

Stream Jesse Dayton's new album 'Mixtape Volume 1,' a collection of covers by Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, and more.

Ray Redding

Jesse Dayton releases his new album Mixtape Volume 1 on August 9th. It’s a collection of cover songs that highlight the East Texas songwriter’s diverse influences — Dayton interprets everyone from Neil Young and Gordon Lightfoot to the Cars and AC/DC. Ahead of Friday’s release, the Americana multi-tasker is streaming the album on Rolling Stone Country, where he also explains in his own words how he chose the 10 tracks.

1. “Redneck Friend,” Jackson Browne
“When the Laurel Canyon Seventies songwriters hit national FM radio, my little redneck hometown in Texas loved those songs as well. Jackson’s lyrics about ‘Daddy’s in the den shooting up the evening news’ means even more today than it did when it came out.”

2. “Harvest,” Neil Young
“Approaching a Neil Young song with a country arrangement is no stretch. George Jones had a hit with James Taylor’s ‘Bartender’s Blues’ and Waylon had a hit with Neil’s rocker ‘Are You Ready for the Country.’ So, this felt like a no-brainer.”

3. “If You Could Read My Mind,” Gordon Lightfoot
“When I played lead guitar on a Waylon Jennings record as a kid in the late Nineties, Waylon told me he loved Gordon’s songs, and that Cash and Elvis did, too. Everyone thinks the Outlaws were listening to Hank Williams Sr. 24/7, but they were really looking for great songs to record by anyone, anywhere, anytime.”

4. “Bankrobber,” The Clash
“In the studio, I screamed on this one with my fist in the air just like my hero Joe Strummer! Joe’s widow Luce Tait Strummer brought Chrissie Hynde out to our show in London a few weeks back, and for our encore we did ‘Bankrobber’ in London…what a thrill!”

5. “She’s a Heartbreaker,” ZZ Top
“Billy Gibbons is God where I was raised in Texas. I really wanted to do one of ZZ Top’s older songs with a country/Cajun vibe. Plus, it name-drops my hometown of Beaumont, Texas.”

6. “Country Comfort,” Elton John
“I’ve been singing this song since I was a kid and always loved the Rod Stewart and the Faces version, too. Amazing that Elton had the guts to put a full-blown country eight-bar pedal steel guitar solo in this song in 1970 and his rock & roll fanbase still loved it.”

7. “She Does It Right,” Dr. Feelgood
“This band never really broke in the U.S., so I found out about them on a British Stiff Records export compilation, and the energy is like pure punk rock. I recently played some shows with them and guitarist Wilko Johnson in Spain. We lit those places on fire.”

8. “Whole Lotta Rosie,” AC/DC
“If you listen to AC/DC you can hear that Bon Scott and Angus Young loved the blues. So that’s how I approached this — like a Slim Harpo song. My older brother took me to see AC/DC on the ‘Highway to Hell Tour’ as a young kid and I still thank him for dragging me along.”

9. “Just What I Needed,” The Cars
“A great song is a great song no matter what genre, and the Cars had so many great songs. I used to play this one just kidding around onstage and I would say, ‘Here’s George Jones singing the Cars,’ and my audiences were like, ‘Uhh, that’s actually cool. Why don’t you record it?'”

10. “State Trooper,” Bruce Springsteen
“I love the wild, psychopathic danger that Springsteen uses to describe the desperate character in this song. I knew if we approached it like an all-out Cramps style song it would be a solid closer for the record and for some of my shows.”

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