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'Make me a memory': Hermiston musician pulling the right strings, even in a pandemic

24-year-old Army veteran Dayton McIntyre has been playing guitar for years. His newfound songwriting skills have already taken him to Nashville.

HERMISTON, Ore. — One of the many things we’ve learned in 2020 is that performers have had a tense relationship with the pandemic. 

“Absolutely, it’s very rough,” emphasized Hermiston’s Dayton McIntyre.

McIntyre is 24. He's been playing guitar pretty much his entire life. Like other artists, all his live gigs have dried up. But after three and a half years in the Army, music has a new meaning.

“I got out of the Army…I had an anxiety and panic disorder…when I got out, I was really searching for something,” he said.

Over the summer, McIntyre found a new way to clear his mind: songwriting. It’s something he’s been doing now for only about four months. 

“Country music's always written about red dirt roads and, you know, backwoods kind of stuff…I write my music, more around the emotion, make me a memory,” he said, referencing one of his own original songs, “Make Me A Memory.”

Like his writing skills, the opportunities are coming fast as well. Earlier this month, McIntyre had a chance to record some of his songs in Nashville. All he and his brother Braylin had to do was drive 36 hours over three days. McIntyre said they drove non-stop.

Once in Nashville, he worked with produced Zac Maloy, who is a Grammy award-winning songwriter and has worked with several top 40 artists.

Credit: Dayton McIntyre

McIntyre has one song out now, with two more to follow in late November. He plans on returning to Nashville in the next few months to record seven more of his own original songs.

“I've never been in a studio environment,” McIntyre said while smiling. “So, he really worked with me and we didn't struggle too bad. We didn't have to take 100,000 vocal takes.”

He said it’s been tough not being able to perform this year, but the pandemic has certainly helped him fine-tune his craft.

“I think that music throughout this has actually been a blessing,” he said. “And there actually probably couldn't have been a better time for me. As weird as that sounds, because of this pandemic, I've had nothing but time. I've had nothing but time to spend on pouring absolutely everything into this.”

Find more music from Dayton McIntyre on YouTube and Facebook.

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