Dale Watson has always made it clear where he stands when it comes to Country Music. Had he been born a couple of decades earlier, he would have most likely held court with Waylon, Johnny, and the like. But through dedication and consistency, he’s carved out a path all his own, independently igniting a fan base worldwide. Over the years, Watson’s changed labels more times than I can count, but he’s always stayed true to himself, making the kind of music he wants to make. Hard Core County (sometimes sprinkled with a bit of Dean Martin). But for anyone who has seen him perform live, it’s hard for the records he’s made to compare to his live performances. Until Now.
The Sun Sessions, made with Texas Two (drummer Mike Bernal and bassist Chris Crepps) is crackling with energy, vibrant with potency. No doubt creating in the studio that once housed Cash, Elvis, etc. agreed with him. Watson is strong in full force here. He’s not holding back on his vocals, rather letting the strength of them loose, freely allowing his voice soar high, and rumble low, low, low.
And though the sound is reminiscent of Cash and even sometimes Elvis (as in “Her Love,”), it’s still all Dale Watson. The originals all sound like classics.
From the first track, “Down Down Down Down Down”, he rolls along, preaching the country gospel. Story songs, like “Jonny at The Door” written about a gent who used to man the door at Ego’s in Austin, (a club Watson used to hold court on Monday nights), to the humorous “My Baby Makes Me Gravy”, or the gospel, “Hand of Jesus,” to the drivin’ & thumpin’ “Big Daddy”, he flawlessly transitions from one to the next.
This is hands down his best record to date. Start to finish, it’s a true blue classic-upon-impact Country record, electrifying and completely gratifying.
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Andrea Fennel is native Texan who was raised outside of San Antone, and now resides in the outskirts of Phoenix. She’s a freelance writer for several music publications. She plays the piano, saxophone, guitar and cello and enjoys hiking, hang gliding, and certain hippie activities.
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