The Outsider (Blue Élan)
Reviewed by Tim Stegall, Fri., June 22, 2018
Had Jesse Dayton's heyday been the Sixties and Seventies, Merle Haggard and Waylon 'n' Willie would have constituted his peer group. A Renaissance country rocker native to Beaumont, the longtime Austinite boasts a résumé spanning horror movie director to lead axe grinder for artists ranging from Ray Price to the Supersuckers. As such, he's made a few killer outlaw country albums of his own, this being his 10th. The Outsider spins the sum total of his 38 years rockin' beer halls, opening with the power chord honky-tonk-a-billy of "May Have to Do It (Don't Have to Like It)," and stopping along the way for desperado gospel ("Jailhouse Religion"), 12-step waltzes ("Changin' My Ways"), and pure Appalachian drone ("Burnin'"). Especially cool, coming from an artist unafraid to alienate red state fans with no-nonsense political social media posts, is the anti-alt-right bluegrass of "Charlottesville."