Author: Leon Blair
So before we actually dig into the review we have for today, I have to tell you guys something. You see, this isn't going to be a normal "album review", nor will any of the other ones I do this year. I needed a change from my traditional style. Therefore, I'm now coining the phrase, "interreview" (a cross between an interview and a regular review). I'm pretty much going to do all of these in a question and answer style format from now on. I'll still dig into the heart of every album like I've always done, I'll just do it in a way that's easier and quite frankly more fun for me. If you have any questions, let me know in the comments, because this will admittedly get somewhat weird.
Steadfast traditionalist Dale Watson is a very solid artist who is capable of creating some excellent music. However, his intense prolificness - he's released an album almost every year since his 1995 debut - has resulted in a discography that, while never bad, can be a bit scattershot in quality. My favorite release of his is the 2000 live album Live in London... England. Serving as something of a de facto greatest hits set, it contains most of his best songs up to that point as well as several highly worthwhile tracks that can't be found everywhere else, including some expertly-chosen covers. Dale and his band (The Lone Stars) are in top form and put on a show easily worth the price of admission.
One of the most interesting things about Watson's vocals and overall sound is that he draws inspiration equally from pure honky-tonk singers like Faron Young, rockabilly singers like Sun-era Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins, outlaws like Waylon Jennings, and tender balladeers such as Ray Price, creating a sound that's hard to pigeonhole, which is not something that can be said for all traditionalists. None of these influences are ever far from the surface on any of his recordings, but the end result always feels natural and not like an awkward hodgepodge. Dale is a true original that doesn't sound like he is trying to recreate anyone, which is of course a fool's errand.