Classically trained on violin since the age of four, Florida native Dayna Bee is an in demand hired gun as a performer and string arranger here in Nashville. Since moving to town, she’s shifted her style to more of a classic country meets current Americana sound fronting her own band and releasing her songs. She’s also part of King Corduroy’s band, as he is hers and recently worked with The War and Treaty. She teaches violin, she’s a horse lover and makes the best peach cobbler I’ve tasted since my grandmother’s and it’s been many years since I’ve had one of those! Today in Liner Notes, we’ll find out more about some of Dayna’s recent collaborations and her new songs, “Things Ain’t The Same” and “Photo Booth”, a duet with Brandon Jesse.
AnaLee: I remember hearing you for the first time last year when you released, what I think was your first single as a solo artist, “The Leavin’”. You made a fun video for that one which I’ll link to below, but first I want to talk about your recent work with Nashville artists The War and Treaty, King Corduroy and Brandon Jesse. You’re a big part of King Corduroy’s sound, arranging strings and performing live as well as on recordings. You and King Corduroy were both recently on stage at the historic Ryman Auditorium with the War and Treaty for a special event. Would you tell us about those collaborations, and was that your first time to perform on stage at the Ryman?
Dayna: Yes, “The Leavin’” was my first release as a solo artist. It was so much fun to get musicians together for that session and hear that song come to life. I’ve written songs for a while now but as a sideman for most of my career I never imagined venturing to the front til a year or so ago. I was bouncing around playing for so many bands that when it came time to put my own band together, I had built up a roster of great musicians and it was really easy. I ended up recording three of my songs on that session at Darkhorse and have released them all as singles over the last year.
I love any chance I to write, record, and perform with King Corduroy, and not just because he’s my fiance! His music brings a unique yet old-soul sound that constantly inspires me when arranging strings, and it’s a pleasure getting to be a part of his musical endeavors. We come from really different musical backgrounds and I think that’s why we are able to complement each other’s sound so much. It’s a really special thing to be so in love with someone who wholly understands and supports the journey of being a musician and I cherish the fact that we get to be on this journey together! Speaking of special performances… we both got to perform with The War & Treaty at The Ryman when they opened up for Tedeschi Trucks Band back in February. This was my second time performing at the Ryman, first time was with Joshua Hedley for Opry at the Ryman last year, however, this was my first time getting to perform at the Ryman with Corduroy and that made it a memorable experience for both of us!
I started working with The War & Treaty last year to arrange and record strings at BlackBird for their sophomore album that was released on 9/25/20 - Heart’s Town. They were so much fun to work with and their sound is huge. I’m really proud of the work I did on that album and I’m so grateful for the opportunity. I met Brandon Jesse while playing at a writers round a few years ago. He has become a close friend and seems to always be involved in a really cool project. He had most of “Photo Booth” written when we got together to work on it, it was really sweet to add harmonies and violin.
AnaLee: “Things Ain’t The Same” is your newest solo single and I was drawn in from the very first notes of your violin, the pedal steel, drums all of it. A real classic country sound with a lilting melody. Talk a little bit about the inspiration and about the band you recorded with on this track.
Dayna: Thank you so much! This song was fun from the start, it was just a form I wanted to play around with, no real back story or personal experience! I wanted the focus to be on the solos and instrumentation. This was one of the three songs I tracked at DarkHorse, the band consisted of Jon Radford (Justin Townes Earle) on drums, Jared Manzo (Nathan Belt & The Buckles) on bass, King Corduroy on guitar and Junior Patterson (King Corduroy) on guitar. Pat Lyons (Colter Wall) overdubbed pedal steel at our home studio and Corduroy mixed and mastered the song.
AnaLee: I actually stumbled across the duet you recorded with Brandon Jesse, “Photo Booth” and it was a very pleasant surprise. I had never heard of him before and I love the song. Was it a co-write? It sounds like you also contributed violin to his new album, Second Wind.
Dayna: Since “Photo Booth”, I’ve gone down to Muscle Schoals to East Avalon Recorders to track more fiddle on another project of his and got to work with Craig Alvin (Kacey Musgraves, Golden Hour - engineer/mixing). We are currently working on more cowrites together for his next project.
AnaLee: On “The Leavin’” you play acoustic guitar instead of your signature violin, as well as on a couple of your other solo releases. I noticed one of my favorite Nashville musicians on drums, Jon Radford, along with several other familiar faces. It’s such a fun video! You seem to have managed to keep making music during this time whether collaborating with others or on your own songs. You’ve really established a sound and style that would make a nice collection, any chance you might be working towards an ep or album release?
Dayna: I am playing guitar in the video for “The Leavin’” but I also played fiddle on that track - c’mon, you know I couldn’t leave out my fiddle! Joey Wasilewski shot that video and seriously exceeded my expectations; it has such a great vibe. I have definitely kept busy during this time, lots of remote sessions, a few string arrangements, and even recording a few new tunes of my own Cord and I built a home studio during this time and it has kept us busy, creative and happy! I am working towards a full length album that I hope to release next summer!
Dayna Bee, “Things Ain’t The Same”
Dayna Bee, “Photo Booth”
Dayna Bee, “The Leavin”
Ana Lee is on middays at WMOT, and is also the host of The Local Brew Hour, which airs Sundays at 7am and Mondays at 7pm on 89.5 WMOT and wmot.org.