Dale Watson Call Me Lucky

By Brian Rock

Legendary Texas troubadour Dale Watson has been called many things from Honky-Tonk hero to Ameripolitan ambassador to just plain crazy. But now he wants you to call him by his new nickname on his latest release, Call Me Lucky.

Although Watson now splits his time between Austin, TX and Memphis, TN, it might be more accurate to say he splits his time between 2019 and 1957. A dyed in the wool disciple of Sun Records, Dale combines the Country and Rockabilly stylings of the Million Dollar Quartet and adds his own modern, electric embellishments to create a thoroughly original “Ameripolitan” sound. His dedication to that magical era is evidenced by the fact that he recorded the album at Sam Phillips Recording studios, and by the fact that he still manages to make a pompadour look cool.

Dale’s Country side comes through twangy and proud on the Hank Williams inspired, “Haul Off and Do It.” Giving a modern voice to Hank’s Country Blues, Dale sings, “I’ve had it up to here. It’s more than I can bear. I’m about to say, ‘Just screw it’. So, if it’s your plan to get another man, why don’t you haul off and do it?” Steel guitar and harmonica perfectly punctuate the classic downhearted sentiment.

“Mama’s Smile,” and “You Weren’t Supposed to Fee This Good,” also take you on a steel-pedaled time machine trip. But he saves his most poignant moment for “Johnny and June,” his tender tribute to Country’s royal couple featuring a duet with Celine Lee. Singing, “Like a song would miss music, like a singer’d miss songs, like Johnny missed June. That’s how I’d miss you,” Watson and Lee contemplate the devastation of living without the one you love.

Watson switches to Rockabilly mode on the toe-tapping title song as well as “Who Need’s This Man” and “Tupelo Mississippi & A ’57 Fairlane.” The latter of which features a horn section and a driving piano riff that make you want to put the top down and crank it up to eleven as you make your pilgrimage to the birthplace of the King. But in all honesty, it’s difficult to tell exactly when he switches from Country to Rockabilly as most of his songs have elements of both – Like his surf rock infused tribute to the farmin’ trucker (or maybe he’s a truckin’ farmer) “David Buxkemper.”

Dale Watson considers himself lucky to make a living doing what he loves. The rest of us can consider ourselves lucky that he does it so well.

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Brian Rock

Brian Rock

Brian was raised gypsy style, moving every other year until well after college. As friendships proved to be temporary, Brian found a constant companion in music, wearing the grooves off Beatles and Dylan albums before moving on to Lyle Lovett and Dwight Yokam. Living so often in flux, he has come to value music and lyrics of lasting quality. Not moved by trends or fashion, he is drawn to timeless lyrics and soulful rhythms. Although now settled down, Brian still expresses his gypsy spirit through his writing. He has co-written songs with musician friends he’s met along the way, including several contributions to the 2012 ICMA Album of the Year, Family Album. Brian also writes children’s books and poems, including the Children’s Book Council featured title, The Deductive Detective.
Brian Rock

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