Aaron Watson - The Honky Tonk Kid
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The Honky Tonk Kid (Self-released, 2004)

Aaron Watson

Reviewed by Eli Messinger

Aaron Watson's third full-length is an impressively confident album of Texas country, honky-tonk and swing. The 13 originals offer up both bona-fide twang (spurred along by producer Ray Benson) and more polished radio-ready crossover-pop. Waton's praise of his roots can seem a might self-conscious, but his joy as a country singer creates the sort of infectious likeability upon which George Strait's built a career.

Watson's songs include weepers ("What She Don't Know"), upbeat two-steppers ("If You're Not in Love"), and Western Swing ("Honky Tonkin' Around Texas"). He edges into pop with rockers like "Reckless," and rekindles the country-pop balladry of early Garth Brooks and Clint Black with "Mackenzie Park." It's a delicate balance, crossing over to a broader palette without losing one's roots, and Watson does so successfully.

Willie Nelson trades verses on the title tale of fading glory, and Dale Watson adds fuel to the trucking canon with "Diesel Driving Daddy." Amidst this Texas star-power, Aaron Watson remains the focal point, singing his finely crafted songs with enthusiasm and spirited tradition. (aaronwatson.com)

CDs by Aaron Watson

American Soul, 2021 Red Bandana, 2019 An Aaron Watson Family Christmas, 2018 Live at the World's Largest Rodeo Show, 2018 Vaquero, 2017 The Underdog, 2015 Angles & Outlaws, 2008 San Angelo, 2006

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