For your money, you’d be hard-pressed to find a cooler dude in Austin than Dale Watson. The perennial honky-tonk hero continues his campaign of coolness this week with the release of a brand new record of called El Rancho Azul.
Watson was born in Alabama, but as the saying goes, he got to Texas as fast as he could. He grew up in Pasadena, just outside of Houston, and starting writing songs early. He started performing in high school, displaying a talent, and more importantly, a taste–classic country and honky-tonk–well beyond his years. In 1988, on the advice of Rosie Flores, Watson made his way to Los Angeles. In 1992, Watson headed to Nashville. Predictably, the rebellious country music classicist didn’t cotton to the popped-up Nashville scene (he lobbed a jab at the Music City on the tune “Nasvhille Rash.” And very recently Watson took Nasvhille pretty-boy Blake Shelton to task for disparaging the ol’ time country), and headed back to Texas. After settling in Austin, Watson formed his backing group the Lone Stars, and released his debut full-length Cheatin’ Heart Attack in 1995, which he followed up with 1996’s Blessed or Damned and 1997’s I Hate These Songs. In 1998 Watson took on truck-drivin’ country on the record The Truckin’ Sessions (he reprised the album in 2009 with The Truckin’ Sessions, Vol. 2).Watson nearly left the business for good in 2000 after an automobile accident took the life of his fiancee. A year later, Watson returned with a tribute Every Song I Write Is For You.
The new century has been a productive one so far for Watson, recording, touring heavily and playing hometown honky tonks like Ginny’s Little Longhorn, The Continental Club and The Broken Spoke. Watson, backed by his touring band His Lonestars, captures the feel of his live show on El Rancho Azul. The record features plenty of two-steppin’ tunes and boozy drinkin’ songs like the album’s opener (and our song of the day) “I Lie When I Drink.” It’s a swingin’ bit of classic country, something Watson sure knows a thing or two about.
You can also listen to Dale Watson’s My KUTX guest DJ session to check out some of his favorite tunes.