Best described as a multi-instrumentalist singer-songwriter, Jimmy Dasher’s musical career spans a decade from coast to coast. Dasher brings an eclectic mix of genres, styles, and influences to the table: blues, funky soul, indie-pop, Americana honky tonk, and folk-country. His solo history and collaborative work have seen him involved in everything from an instrumental jam band (From Here On Out), a folk country Americana duo (The New Vagabonds), a live funk-classical-hip-hop-performative-youhadtobetheretounderstandit duo (Funkternity), an acoustic rock act (Window), a solo career as a rock/blues guitarist (Jimmy Dasher.) and more recently as asinger/songwriter as well as playing bass for the hit country songwriter, George Ducas.
Dasher’s instrumental influences reflect the wide variety of genres he incorporates into his work to create his own unique, high energy, and mesmerizing sound: From Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page, John Scofield to Eric Krasno (of Soulive fame), with an appreciation for metal and Motown. As a songwriter, Dasher draws his inspirations from country greats like Waylon Jennings and Hank Williams, but also pays homage to Rufus Wainwright’s neo-classicist stylings.
Born and raised in San Antonio, Texas, Dasher currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee: the music city. In the past he has called North Carolina home, and worked in California but no matter where Dasher goes, his favorite place to call home has always been in front of an audience. Every step of the way he’s been pushing himself to see what’s next for him in music, and every step of the way it has been an adventure. Which really is the only way to describe his music and his career.
At 16 most people aren’t lying about their age to get into bars; the same can’t be said for Jimmy Dasher. While still in high school, when most kids are worrying about prom and college, Dasher was driving an hour and a half to Austin Texas to perform at a 6th Street bar for a live audience—and getting paid to do it. He spent his junior and senior years of high school performing before any audience willing to listen, even if that meant passing for 21 to play in Austin.
He wouldn’t realize it for a few more years, but the music had already sealed Dasher’s fate. The San Antonio native will tell you that he accidentally fell into music in the fifth grade; his middle school electives gave him the option of writing, journalism, guitar, or “some other bullshit.” His first two picks, writing and journalism, were full. It was guitar or bullshit.
Dasher’s parents weren’t people who went to concerts and he himself had only a passing interest in what was on the radio. When he approached his parents about guitar, “Sure, we guess you can try it,” they told him.
With an entry level instrument Dasher took the class and stuck with it. Three years later he was participating in and advanced to the semi-finals of the National Jimi Hendrix Electric Guitar Competition (2000). “Huh, maybe I could be good at this,” he thought to himself. Dasher looked for every opportunity to play in front of an audience; from talent shows to open mics he was determined to perform live.
At this point Dasher began finding his sound on the guitar. His first project with his childhood best friend, From Here on Out, was an instrumental jam band trio heavy on rock and blues guitar riffs. The teens found traction with their sound, playing sets in Austin before they were old enough to vote. Dasher spent the remainder of his teenage years playing in nightclubs, bars, and entertainment venues in Austin and San Antonio.
The From Here on Out duo of Jimmy Dasher and Nick Mery evolved into something bigger once the pair graduated high school and ended up at Trinity University. From Here on Out became Window and the group took off. Dasher spent more time touring than he did on the Trinity University campus, which suited him just fine. After two years, two tours, two albums and an EP, Dasher realized there was nothing on this earth that he wanted to do more than to be a musician, to perform. It was an epiphany that fell out of the blue sky onto the college sophomore. Up to that point Dasher’s family had supported his music, but they all agreed it was important to have a plan B. Dasher transferred to the University of Texas, San Antonio,once there he got right back to touring anywhere but campus.
It took a second epiphany for Dasher to accept that he was going to be a musician for good, for the rest of his life.
“I don’t want to do anything else, I have to do this. Not want to do this. Have to,” he told his friends, family, and most importantly, himself.
Dasher left school altogether and headed to Lubbock, Texas for a recording opportunity with the Levi Smith band. Smith’s approach to music was a departure for Dasher, fresh off of his work with Window. The time spent recording and playing guitar in the band only confirmed that Dasher had made the right choice in pursuing the music.
The music next led to a farmhouse in Brownfield, right outside Lubbock, Texas. The music didn’t leave him, but for a time his luck sure as hell did. Dasher’s life was a country song for longer than he’d care to admit: there were times when Dasher didn’t eat, but he and his music made sure his dog did. The tough times, the solitude, and the struggle helped shape Dasher. Though he was born and raised in San Antonio, Dasher will tell you that Brownfield is where he grew up.
Luck and times changed for Dasher when he was signed by the Melodic Undertone record label. He and producer Buffalo Bill set up a studio in the Brownfield farmhouse where the two recorded Dasher’s first solo album, The Waiting Game (2011). It was during this time that Dasher began his first forays into the singer/songwriter field. A full third of The Waiting Game is instrumental and was recorded “backwards:” the music came first and until the words started happening on their own, Dasher wasn’t sure the album would actually have lyrics. Music from The Waiting Game rotated heavily on Americana and jam band playlists, eventually reaching the top 30 nationally for jam band radio. He has since released the guts of an unreleased second album from 2012 on his website. His solo work blends a high intensity mix of passion and performance into his preferred rock’n’roll’n’blues style.
Since then Dasher has continued working by himself and in collaborations, playing lead or rhythm guitar and bass, and taking on the role of country singer/songwriter as part of The New Vagabonds with Ashlee Rose. This duo focuses heavily on guitar and vocal harmonies, presenting a simple yet beautiful blending of the two talents’ talents. Dasher’s work with The New Vagabonds is what led him to Nashville, where he could further pursue his songwriting aspirations. As part of The New Vagabonds, Dasher found his footing as a singer/songwriter, something he credits to his partner's experience.
Dasher’s passion for performance has defined him as an artist since his beginnings. Funkternity, a side project with members of Window, is a perfect illustration of this. A mostly instrumental duo Funkternity found enough demand for live performances. The duo would pick a theme and commit to it, the performance as much a part of the art as the music itself. They would record and recreate their sounds live and loop them on stage according to that night’s theme. For chef night they dressed as cooks and featured Julia Childs samples, on NBA night they wore jerseys and mixed the old Chicago Bull’s intro music. Funkternity is the only act Dasher has been a part of that has been banned from a venue— for smashing guitars instead of firing cannons during their rendition of the 1812 overture.
Beyond his passion for the performance, for the music, Dasher can best be summed up in his own words. “I’m not a very self-nostalgic person. I love the oldies, but me? I want to know what’s next. I want to do the next thing, finish the next step. There’s always so much out there and I’m hungry for all of it.” Whether it is for fortune and fame in front of the world or a slice of pizza at his favorite hole in the wall bar, Dasher’s love for performance and music is why he does pushes himself so hard. After a decade, his love for the craft is at an all time high and he’s more than ready for the decades to come.