honky-tonk country
San Marcos, Texas

Jesse Daniel has a story to tell, and there’s nothing quite like honky-tonk music for delivering tales about life, love, and hard times. At just 32 years old, he’s done lots of living and learning, imbuing his music with a striking honesty and authenticity. With a strong foundation in the Bakersfield sound of his native California, Jesse writes classic country songs with heart and grit, marked with a hard-driving sound all his own.

In the world of classic country, California has always been on the map. Dubbed “the Bakersfield sound,” the state’s signature style developed in the 1950s around the city of Bakersfield. Many southern and midwestern Dust Bowl migrants landed in this area and brought their country music with them. Partially a response to the more highly produced Nashville style of the ’50s, the Bakersfield sound combined early honky-tonk and western swing with elements of rock and roll. Popularized by artists like Merle Haggard, it became one of the most influential country sounds of the 1960s, forming the basis for 1970s country rock and outlaw country.

Raised in Ben Lomond, a rural town in Santa Cruz County just outside of San Jose, Jesse Daniel felt that the Bakersfield sound was all around. Jesse’s father, an accomplished guitarist, played in a local band whose barroom gigs Jesse attended as a child. He set his sights on becoming a performer, picking up the drums and occasionally sitting in with his dad’s band. By 14, he had found the punk rock scene, and became a respected drummer active in multiple bands. However, casual drug and alcohol use quickly turned into addiction. Eventually, Jesse was able to kick his habit after an encounter with someone playing country songs. When Jesse expressed that he’d like to play music like that, the musician replied, “Why don’t you?” This experience spurred him to finally get clean and devote himself to the music he’d always loved.

Jesse released his self-titled debut in 2018, earning him an Ameripolitan Award in the “Honky Tonk Male” category. In 2019, he followed up with the critically acclaimed Rollin’ On, and then spent the first year of the pandemic working on 2021’s Beyond These Walls. Jesse remains faithful to his California roots while embracing the full range of classic country found in Texas and beyond. “I'll always be from California, and a big part of why I make music is to try to carry on that tradition of country music from the Golden State.”

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