Ameripolitan star Dale Watson exploring his rock roots
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"I Lie When I Drink," Dale Watson
By Chip Chandler — Digital Content Producer
Don't ever doubt that Dale Watson loves country music. But that doesn't mean he can't flirt with someone else.
The Ameripolitan singer loudly, proudly stands up for the traditions of old-fashioned, honky-tonkin' country music (as he did last May when I interviewed him), but a recent, part-time move to Memphis, Tenn., has him exploring some roots rock 'n' roll, as well.
"Memphis has got some electricity going on creative-wise, and it certainly rejuvenates me and my creative spirit," Watson said.
Watson spoke while driving back to Memphis to begin recording a new album at Sam Phillips Recording, founded by the late music icon after his stint at Sun Records where, working with the likes of Elvis Presley and Carl Perkins, he brought rock 'n' roll to the masses.
"This record is probably going to have that Sun Records vibe with my honky-tonk style to it," Watson said. "I'd like to think it's going to sound like what would happen if ... Lefty Frizzell went to Sun Records.
"I could never get rid of my honky-tonk influence, but I'm going to take it to Memphis."
But first, the hard-working Watson will return to Amarillo for a 10 p.m. Friday show at Golden Light Cantina, 2906 S.W. Sixth Ave. Cover is $15.
The show is one of more than 300 gigs a year Watson continues to perform around the country and across Europe.
"I'm just a lucky guy," Watson said. "I feel like what I'm doing ain't work. You just get to play every day.
"It's more work when I go to Europe because you have to get on a plane. ... That's the worst. That takes a lot of the fun out of getting to a gig," he continued. "As long as I'm in a bus, I'm a happy camper.
"My bus is my home away from home. When I was a kid, I grew up in a trailer pretty much the size of this bus ... so this feels like the home I had as a kid, and it moves around with me," he said. "And this one's got satellite TV, which I didn't have as a kid."
At all of those gigs, Watson continues to preach the gospel of "Ameripolitan" music, which he says encompasses Western swing, rockabilly and outlaw country — "some core musical categories that are not where country music is, that are still being ignored." It differs from Americana, which Watson says covers more of the folk and rock side.
It's a genre that's open enough to easily accommodate Watson's last several projects — his laceratingly truthful 2015 album Call Me Insane, his 2016 covers album Under the Influence (which included Ronnie Milsap's "Pure Love" and Bob Wills' "That’s What I Like About the South") and his most recent release, January's Dale and Ray, a long-awaited duet album with Asleep at the Wheel's Ray Benson.
"We've been talking about this for 20 years," Watson said. "We've always been on the same page as far as the music we like to do and what we do. I think it was probably one of the easiest records I've ever had to make because we're so much on the same page.
"His son Sam said let's make it happen now, and I'm glad he did," Watson continued. "There's nothing worse than a 'woulda, coulda, shoulda,' and I've got a lot of them."
"Feeling Haggard," Dale Watson and Ray Benson