I am Lake Minnetonka: Wayzata native Jeff Dayton

Musician Jeff Dayton discusses his career and why Lake Minnetonka is so important to him.
Musician Jeff Dayton may live in Nashville, but his roots are with the lake.

Long Lake native Jeff Dayton has been playing guitar and singing since he was nine years old, and began his professional music career after high school. Though he’s now migrated to warmer climates (he first left the lake area for college, and now lives in Nashville), he still plays at local venues about three times a year. We chatted with Dayton to hear more about his background and what he cherishes about Lake Minnetonka.

Lake Minnetonka Magazine: How did you get started in music?
Jeff Dayton: I played air guitar to our favorite records with an old ukulele with no strings until I begged my mom long enough, and she bought me my first guitar at Kullberg Music in Wayzata.

LMM: What do you love about Lake Minnetonka?
JD: I love everything about the lake. It feels like “our” lake, really.

LMM: If you could give any advice to aspiring local musicians, what would it be?
JD: I have a new album out, and the title track, “Twang On,” says, “Where I’ve been and what I’ve learned is to be yourself ’til it’s your turn.”

LMM: Where do you get your inspiration for songwriting?
JD: I keep my idea radar on all the time. Songwriters are challenged to say the same old thing in fresh, brilliant, clever new ways, so I tune in for that.

LMM: What keeps bringing you back to Lake Minnetonka?
JD: Coming back and playing shows in the area has been watering my roots. It’s that sunny summer day when it’s 80 degrees with a light breeze for the sailboats, and I’m sitting on a dock and telling one of my kids how important this place really is to us.


Check out Jeff Dayton at Lake-Area venues this summer and fall

July 23 Wayzata Summer Concert Series at Historic Great Northern Depot, 7 p.m.
August 30 Narrows Saloon in Wayzata, 8:30 p.m.
September 6 James J. Hill Days, 7-9 p.m.