Dale Watson: Throwback Country That Still Sounds Plenty Vital

Hank Williams III (Hank 3 to those in the know) says Dale Watson is one of his favorite artists -- a tried-and-true country artist -- and goes so far to shout him out to audiences at virtually every concert.

This appeal is easy to understand: Watson is a throwback to the early country days of Hank 3's granddaddy, Hank Williams Sr.

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Watson's brand of country music is simple and heartfelt, full of pedal steel twang, good ol' timey vibes, high-pitch whine, and occasional yodels that transport the listener back to another place and time.

After trying to make it in Nashville like every other country artist, he decided playing that game would keep him from being a real artist. So he went back to West Texas for some pure inspiration. Watson's gravelly voice and sing-songy yodeling is as authentic as it gets. It grasps your soul like the open grasslands of West Texas, and it burns truth like the American flag tattooed on his forearm.

True to his roots, there's a powerful simplicity Watson's blend of Texas swing, rockabilly, honky-tonk, outlaw country, and blues that has audiences high-steeping across the floor. And to be sure, this is not line dancing music, but rather that of petticoats, big skirts and tight sweaters, plaid shirts, large belt buckles, cowboy boots and Stetsons.

In concert is the only real way to experience Watson -- going full speed in slow motion in this journey to a bygone musical era that is even better right here, right now. That's Watson's gift, conjuring up a time of musical purity.

Dale Watson is scheduled to perform Sunday, March 31, at the Rhythm Room.

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