Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Dale Watson - Whiskey or God

Sorry for the delay. Two unexpected things about my new schedule. First, without a twenty minute drive to work, I have no built in time to just listen to CDs, and not listening to CDs means not being able to write about them. The other thing is that not working nights anymore, I can go to weeknight concerts (like I just did) which further eats up my time.

Dale Watson released this album several months ago, but I just picked it up last week. It's a strong outing from one of the reigning kings of the honky tonk. Featuring songs he's been playing live for years but that have never made it onto disc, this album has the polish of the studio with the intimacy and emotion of a live recording.

Dale Watson is often grouped with alt-country, but he isn't alternative in the same genre-bending way as, say, the Bloodshot Records stable of artists. He's not particularly interested in combining seemingly disparate genres and examining off the tensions created. Rather, he's interested in making good old country music. Unfortunately, these days that is an alternative to the mainstream. Not to say that he doesn't have a wide range of influences. This album has songs with influences from Cajun, Tex-Mex, and even disco, along with the more expected honky tonk, Bakersfield, and Nashville Sound.

For some of these songs, I can make an educated guess which album they were originally written for. This is particularly true for "My Heart is Yours" and "I Wish I Was Crazy Again," both of which delve into the same agony of love and loss that is featured on Every Song I Write is For You. (Thankfully, these songs don't feature that albums synth strings.) "I Wish I Was Crazy Again" is to me the strongest song on the album. Listen for the subtle trombone on this track.

Dale Watson - I Wish I Was Crazy Again

From Dale Watson
From Amazon

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