WHO IS HE? The Austin Americana singer-guitarist who has lent his tremendous six-string skills to everyone from Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash to X and Supersuckers — when he isn’t scoring (and sometimes appearing in) Rob Zombie movies or releasing his own killer solo albums.
WHAT IS THIS? Cool revamps of songs he didn’t write. And in keeping with both the title and his catholic tastes, the roster runs the gamut from singer-songwriters like Gordon Lightfoot, Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen and Jackson Browne to The Cars, The Clash, AC/DC and Dr. Feelgood.
WHAT DOES IT SOUND LIKE? A guy who clearly believes that the point of covering a song is not to Xerox it slavishly, but to bring something new and interesting to the proceedings — and if possible, make it your own. Which is exactly what Dayton does to most of these songs.
WHAT WOULD BE A BETTER TITLE FOR THIS ALBUM? I Didn’t Write ’Em — I Just Rewrote ’Em.
HOW SHOULD I LISTEN TO IT? On the jukebox at your favourite joint. Or on a playlist with other inspired recent covers sets like Weezer’s Teal Album and The Bird & The Bee’s Interpreting The Masters Volume 2: A Tribute to Van Halen. Either way, a beer in hand wouldn’t hurt either.
WHAT 10 WORDS DESCRIBE IT? Audacious, eclectic, energetic, fun-loving, earthy, rollicking, exuberant, twangy, southern, clever.
WHAT ARE THE BEST SONGS? The ones that get the most interesting makeovers — like The Clash’s Bankrobber, retooled from lazy dub into twangy Tex-Mex rockabilly. Or AC/DC’s Whole Lotta Rosie, which gets crossed with the hoodoo blues of John Lee Hooker and La Grange. Or The Cars’ Just What I Needed, which gets downshifted into shuffling dancehall honky-tonk.
WHAT WILL MY FRIENDS AND FAMILY SAY? ‘It says Volume 1 — that means there’s got to be a Volume 2, right?’
HOW OFTEN WILL I LISTEN TO THIS? His versions are good enough on their own to bring you back after the novelty value has worn off.
IF THIS ALBUM WERE A RECENT MOVIE, WHAT MOVIE WOULD IT BE? A Star is Born — another example of a remake that can hold its own against past incarnations.
SHOULD I BUY, STREAM OR STEAL IT? It’s worth the money, but if you’ve got cover-tune overload, streaming it is understandable.