Dale Watson In Concert

by Michael Rampa

dale-watson_feb2014Even Dale Watson’s empty stage emits a hyper-masculine traditional country vibe. His custom Tompkins guitar is flanked by a single monitor atop a milk crate and a pedal steel. But the seemingly modest arsenal turns into a wall of sound behind the marvelous Lonestars band. Emerging in his signature all black garb, Watson looked like a hybrid of Elvis and the Fonz laced with a huge dash of Cash.  Much of Watson’s creative fuel came from a very dark place after his fiancée was killed in a car crash in 2000. His struggles with PTSD and a suicide attempt followed.

Watson seemed to be in lighter spirits this evening thsprinand sprinkled in a gsignificant percentage of drinking and fun numbers into the 11-song setlist. was fuladen with feel good drinking songs, a feel good humorous retort to Blake Shelton’s disdain of older country artsits unsubtly titled “I’d Rather Be An Old Fart.” After a humorous toast promoting Lone Star beer, he ripped into Little Brown Bottle”and set the tone for an evening of traditional country that resonated with a demographic ranging from staunch classic fans to hipsters and Goth kids.

His amalgam of styles has been dubbed “Ameripolitan,” incorporating Texas swing, rockabilly honky tonk and outlaw country. He and his marvelous Lonestars band showcased them all in an 11 song set that was tight but frequently interrupted by his trademark riffing on random topics and downing tequilas shots sent by crowd members.  It was especially fitting as a prelude to his hit “I Lie When I Drink. ” He kept the youth engaged with fun numbers like “Don’t Let The Screen Door Hit Ya”. and his response to Blake Shelton’s accusations on musicians of his generation, “I’d Rather Be An Old Fart.”.

He tipped his cap to contemporary side with a cover of Blake Shelton’s “Kiss My Country Ass.” Where he called out Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood.

With his silver pompadour and  black duster he has been accused as being an over the top caricature of the genre and even “too country for country.” Wardrobe choices aside,   he proved that he is the real deal and when it comes to traditional country, you can’t get too much of a good thing. Opener Rosie Flores was allotted a mere 25 minutes which proved to be just enough time to showcase her impressive guitar skills. She later joined Watson in on a duet of “God May Forgive You.”

Reverend Horton Heat rounded out the evening with their amped up trademark  psychobilly that sent almost as manyfans  to the exit doors as t did in enciting the remainder of those in attendance.

For more, visit www.dalewatson.com

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