Dale Watson, at least to me, is known as someone who can take me back in time with music. Forsaking the modern trappings of even the Red Dirt scene he puts out music with the Lonestars that is pure honky tonk and completely timeless. It is perfect music in that it would sound at home at a dance hall in Gruene or a biker bar in Baytown. I would easily call him the king of honky tonk and never bat an eye. So what does he have in store for us on his latest release? A completely different sound of course. You see he took a little trip to Memphis to get a little of that Sun sound and I’ll be damned if he didn’t pull it off!
Don’t expect any crying fiddles or haunting pedal steel on this one kids, this thing is stripped down to Dale’s picking, doghouse bass provided by Chris Crepps and snare by Mike Bernal. What stays the same is Dale’s voice, a voice which any man could envy, and his storytelling. This is fourteen tracks of goodness without a bad one in the bunch. Whether he’s ripping out your heart, belting out a road tune or crooning some gospel Dale’s words and voice will make you forget that it’s 2011 and transport you back to 1963. You can close your eyes and easily see Johnny Cash and Dale penning some of these songs. It’s just that timeless. In fact the whole album feels like a hat tip to the man in black. Even the band name “The Texas Two” is nod to Johnny’s band “The Tennessee Two”. The real jewel is that as much as it feels like a Johnny Cash album, which I have to think was intentional, is that in spite of all of the obvious Johnny Cash influence it is still a completely original album. You can’t escape the similar picking style or Dale’s baritone and that might turn some people off but those people are hipsters or snobs and I choose to ignore them. This is nothing less than Essential Listening.