Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Dale Watson at Hill Country Barbecue Market

Dale Watson was born in Birmingham, Alabama, and grew up in poverty outside of Pasadena, Texas. Watson began writing his own songs at age 12, making his first recording two years later. Soon after, Watson became an emancipated minor; by day he went to school and by night he played local Houston clubs and honky-tonks with his brother Jim in an aggregation called the Classic Country Band. In 1988, he moved to Los Angeles, California, and joined the house band at an alt-country venue. In 1992, he moved to Nashville, Tennessee, writing songs for a publishing company. His career as a solo artist began when Watson relocated to Austin, Texas, where he formed a backing band called the Lone Stars and recorded his first album in 1995. Watson went on hiatus after his girlfriend died in 2004, relocating again to be near his daughters in Baltimore, Maryland. Watson returned to Austin in 2006 and resumed playing regular gigs. His 25th and most recent album, Under the Influence, was released on September 30, 2016.

Dale Watson brands his music Ameripolitan, and tonight at Hill Country Barbecue Market, this music spoke for itself. Perhaps Ameripolitan is more of a statement than a genre, as the music sounded very much like outlaw country music, stripping away the Nashville glitz and honing onto roots country blues. With integrity uncompromised, Watson played authentic country music, even throwing subtle jabs at contemporary country stars who are not so country. While his baritone resonated well and the Lone Stars (Don Pawlak on pedal steel, Chris Crepps  on upright bass, and Mike Bernal on drums) backed him finely, his repertoire consisted of typical country fare: humorous plays on words; name drops on the outlaw pioneers; songs about drinking alcohol. For much of the show, Watson fielded requests from the fans and had the audience singing along to "I Lie When I Drink" and other signature songs. It was an enjoyable performance, but not a country music shape shifter.

Visit Dale Watson at