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Country traditionalist, Austin, Tx honky tonk ace Dale Watson and his Lonestars; Don Pawlak (pedal steel), Mike Bernal (drums) and Chris Crepps (upright bass) shoot straight from the hip. Honest old country —as in the music of Haggard, Cash, a little Bob Wills swing and Lefty Frizzell among others pump through the veins of Dale Watson and always will. Such is his commitment to the cause.  


All 14 songs are penned by Watson. Who writes songs at will. He not only wrote but recorded one on his recent visit. As for the material he opens with crowd-pleaser ‘Lie When I Drink’ (and I drink a lot…says the song) followed by the clever worded ‘I Drink To Remember’ (while she drinks to forget in two separate barrooms). Then with a fabulous piece of fiddle (from special guest Danny Levin; he also plays piano on the track) and steel guitar work Dale speaks of ‘We’re Gonna Get Married’. That leads us on nicely to the Haggard-ish ‘The Daughter’s Wedding Song’. Steeped in pedal steel and a small spoken segment it has the great man written all over it. No bad thing, either.


Watson loves to see people dance to his music hence he performs ‘Quick Quick Slow Slow’ with gusto and affection. As he likewise performs ‘Slow Quick Quick’ that immediately follows in the running order, more than likely for those who regularly frequent his gigs back home. On upping the tempo and bringing a dash of swing ‘Give Me More Kisses’ is very much a nod to Lefty Frizzell spruced up with additional rockabilly. ‘I Can’t Be Satisfied’ is another of those quickly thrown together barroom, beer drinking odes, while ‘I Hate To Drink Alone’ contains a little of ol’ Waylon (Jennings) backbeat, featuring some neat fiddle and steel guitar he speaks of being a walking contradiction. A great sound, country music was it was and still should be.


On the home straight Watson delivers more of the same (some could claim some of his songs do sound alike but that would be splitting hairs !), the lilting steel warmed ‘I Hate To Drink Alone’ is very much 1950s country. Good it is too. While to close he hits another home run via ‘Thanks To Tequila’. A great cue for someone to get Dale and the boys one when playing live; as I have already witnessed and it didn’t stop at one either! Now for the wait till his next album and knowing Dale and the boys like we do we won't have to wait too long.


                                                            Maurice Hope 

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