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January 20, 2007

Not Just a Pretty Face

I feel like I've been spending way too much time at the Cinema Bar lately. In the past week and a half, I've been there three times. But how could I not go when last Saturday Ramsay Midwood was playing, and then Randy Weeks and Jesse Dayton were playing on Thursday?

Despite the crazy loyal LA following Randy Weeks has acquired, I had yet to see him play live, and this seemed like as good a time as any. The former one-half of the duo Lonesome Strangers, and the author of "Can't Let Go," recorded by Lucinda Williams on her legendary Car Wheels on a Gravel Road CD, Randy's long been hailed as a favorite singer/songwriter in the LA alt-country scene, and his nasally vocals draw appropriate comparisons to Willie Nelson. Clearly, the audience favorite was his "Transistor Radio," also the title track from his latest CD.

By the time Jesse Dayton started, the tiny Cinema Bar was CRAMMED full o' people taking advantage of the great music for no cover charge. Getting anywhere - to the bar, the restroom, the dance floor - was a chore, but Jesse's performance made up for that. A set that never slowed down included his signature "Kissin' Abllene Goodbye," "I'm at Home Gettin' Hammered (While She's Out Gettin' Nailed)", a cover of Steve Earle's "Hometown Blues," and a killer medley finale that ran the gamut from Johnny Cash to Willie Nelson to Robert Earl Keen. His playing just gets better and better, and his good looks don't hurt either. I was a little surprised that the composition of the audience wasn't decidedly more female, but then again, the last thing the Cinema Bar needed that night was more people.

Then again, maybe more Jesse Dayton fans in this world wouldn't be such a bad thing after all.

Posted by darlin at January 20, 2007 5:42 PM