Tuesday, November 27, 2018
– Country traditionalist Dale Watson will release "Call Me Lucky" on Feb. 15 on Red House/Ameripolitan Records.
The Austin resident recorded all but one song at Sam Phillips Recording studio in Memphis. Watson bought a house there earlier this year and now divides his downtime equally between Texas and Tennessee. He also sold the bars he owned in Texas and purchased Memphis nightclub Hernando's Hideaway.
"Memphis is an amazing city," he said. "It reminds me of Austin back in the '80s, but it's got more roots than any town I've ever been to, especially the musical roots. And the people that were there then, a lot of them are still there now."
Watson wrote the song "Call Me Lucky" while thinking about two dedicated fans in Milwaukee - one blonde, one brunette - who have a tradition of taking a picture while kissing him on each side of his face.
Carl Perkins' original drummer and Johnny Cash's only drummer, W.S. Holland, shouts out a "Yes!!" at the end of "The Dumb Song," which he played on. Watson paid homage to Cash on "Johnny and June," a romantic number written and sung with rockabilly artist Celine Lee.
Many of the songs clock in at three minutes. "I've always been a fan of keeping songs short," Watson said. "Long ago, I went to a library and checked out Tom T. Hall's 'How I Write Songs.' And in there, he said it's not about keeping the songs short, it's keeping the point. Make your point and get out. That's always been my way of writing. There are some songs I've written that go on a bit more like a story, but I guess it's probably my ADD that I don't drag it out too much."
Watson wrote "Restless" in 2000, not long after his girlfriend at the time was killed in a car accident. Although he's played it live, Watson waited until now to release it. "You move on, and that's the same thing I tell people. You gotta go through the grieving period. You do heal, and then you just don't forget. It's a scar, and you learn to live with it. But time does definitely make it livable."
One day, Watson opened an email from a fan named David Buxkemper who said he especially enjoyed Watson's albums about truck-driving. Watson asked for more details about the farmer's day-to-day life, with the reply distilled into the song, "David Buxkemper." In the studio, longtime band member Don Pawlak ran his steel guitar through a Leslie keyboard, giving a space-age musical twist.
"I write a lot. It doesn't mean I write good songs, but I do write a lot of songs. So I think as with anything, you keep at it, and you get better at it. But as for writing just a simple country song, I can accept that I'm good at that. I'm just really, really grateful to be able to do what I do for a living, for as long as I've been doing it."
The track list is:
1. Call Me Lucky
2. The Dumb Son
3. Johnny and June
4. Tupelo Mississippi & a '57 Fairlane
5. Haul Off and Do It
7. David Buxkemper
8. Inside View
9. You Weren't Supposed to Feel This Good
10. Mama's Smile
11. Who Needs This Man
12. Run Away
Look for spring 2019 U.S. tour dates and a UK tour in May,