Aaron Watson

Aaron Watson
Aaron Watson Video

Aaron Watson isn’t interested in what someone else thinks he should do. But instead of getting lonely as he sidesteps expectations, he’s gaining followers––hundreds of thousands of them. Delivered with a warm smile and fueled by a wild spirit, Watson’s rebellion echoes the land that helped make him.

Watson remains strikingly similar to the people that still dot his native West Texas. They’re a rugged people, proud of home but humble and hardworking, the first to help a neighbor but also fiercely independent. And Watson is unquestionably one of them.

“I’ve always considered myself an anti-rock star,” Watson says, his drawl cracking slightly as he grins. “People don’t like me because I’m a rock star. People like me because I’m just like them.”

Throughout his 17-year career that spans a dozen albums and more than 2,500 shows throughout the U.S. and Europe, 39-year-old Watson has stubbornly and sincerely identified with the everyman––even as he’s proven to be the exception to the rule.

The latest evidence of Watson’s homespun singularity is Vaquero, an ambitious 16-song set of character-driven storytelling, level-headed cultural commentary, and love songs for grown-ups that promise to further solidify his status as one of today’s finest torch-bearers of real country music.

Vaquero is the follow-up to 2015’s The Underdog, an acclaimed collection that also made history. Watson was sitting at his kitchen table as his wife Kim scrambled eggs when he got the call: The Underdog had debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Country Albums Chart. It was the first time an independent, male country artist had ever outsold majors to premiere at the top spot. “We started jumping around and squealing like kids,” he says. “It was a beautiful moment because I got to share it with the girl who believed in me when I was broke and playing some pawnshop guitar. It is something I’ll never forget.” That momentous instant also arrived with a built-in challenge. “Once we dried the tears of joy, it hit me,” Watson says. “I had my work cut out for me for my next album.”

Determined, Watson committed to waking up every morning before the sun rose to write songs on that same old pawnshop guitar he scored 20 years ago. “I bet you I couldn’t get $50 for that guitar,” he says. “But it means the world to me.” He penned songs in the back of a bus on the highway, too, as the band spent the last two years playing more than 35 states and six countries.

The result is Vaquero, a bold album that confidently draws from Texas’ storied musical melting pot: dancehall shuffles, dustbowl narratives, Tejano, and more fill the record.

In writing the new album, Watson felt especially drawn to the idea of the vaquero, the original Spanish horseman that set the foundation for the North American cowboy, a solitary figure with a legendary work ethic. Watson is a modern-day vaquero––he just gets up at 5 a.m. to wrangle songs instead of cattle. And while he won’t deny the pressure he felt following his last album’s success, outside barometers can’t compel him to change who he is or what he writes. Watson is Watson, chart-topping record or not.

“This is the first album I’ve ever made where if it’s the last album I ever make, I could be content with that,” Watson says of Vaquero.

One listen and it’s easy to understand why. Album opener “Texas Lullaby” pays lilting homage both to home and to the bravery of the young heroes fighting wars. Deep connections to place and family course throughout the record. Sing-along “These Old Boots Have Roots” celebrates new love by offering promises grounded in the honor and grace of past generations. A fiddle accents Watson’s lines playfully then escalates to a hopeful roar.

Romance is a central theme of the album, but Watson isn’t interested in adding to the steady stream of hook-up anthems coming out of Music Row. Watson’s love songs are celebrations of monogamy and the bonds that only time, mutual respect, and persistence can build. The swinging, fiddle-soaked “Take You Home Tonight” anticipates a steamy night in, while “Run Wild Horses” is a passionate ode to lovemaking featuring a standout vocal performance from Watson, whose laid-back croon lets loose and soars. Infectious first single “Outta Style” and shuffling “Be My Girl Tonight” both praise staying power and explore how to protect it.

Watson revels in another kind of love on the album closer, “Diamonds and Daughters.” Two years ago, his then four-year-old daughter asked him to write her a song for his next record. “I thought it sure would be special if I could write her a song right now that we could dance to at her wedding someday,” he says. That’s exactly what he did. A tender look at the past, present, and future, the song will undoubtedly touch every parent and daughter who hears it.

The title track is an accordion-fueled joy, buoyed by Watson’s delivery of life lessons courtesy of an old vaquero sitting alone at a bar. “Mariano’s Dream” and “Clear Isabel” are companion pieces, placed back-to-back to stunning cinematic effect. Plaintive instrumental “Mariano’s Dream” kicks off the experience, haunting and sad as an acoustic guitar carries listeners through a lush Tex-Mex soundscape. The song then segues into “Clear Isabel,” and listeners soon discover the Mariano named in the previous track is father to Isabel. A story of sacrifice and heartbreak, “Clear Isabel” imbues the souls who choose to cross a river in search of safety with the dignity and beauty they deserve. “It’s one of my favorite moments on the record,” Watson says. “I feel like if I could play Guy Clark that song, he’d smile.”

“They Don’t Make Em Like They Used To” begins as warm nostalgia, and other comforts before intensifying into no mere stroll down memory lane, but an increasingly indignant rant, capturing the hurt and anger of a country that’s currently reeling politically and socially. “I think it might be the best song I’ve ever written,” Watson says.

Refusing to worry about charts or current trends, Watson hopes the main thing Vaquero accomplishes is bringing his growing legion of fans joy. And no matter what happens next, he is anchored and ready. “It doesn’t really matter whether I’m playing a dancehall in Texas or a stadium tour around the world, I’m just me,” he says. “I won’t change. I’m just too rooted in what I believe in. When you’ve played for such a long time to nobody, now that there’s somebody, you really don’t take that for granted.”

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03/15/2011 - Aaron Watson saves the 'best for last' - Read More
01/25/2011 - Texas singing sensation Aaron Watson to perform at Sky Ranch Gala in Plano - Read More
10/28/2010 - Amarillo native celebrates fans - Read More
07/23/2010 - Aaron Watsonís grass-roots approach to music business works for him - Read More
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03/01/2008 - Aaron Watson Q&A - Read More
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Average Rating : 0              Total Reviews: 254

Aaron Watson  05/14/2003            
Keep up the amazing music, great fun live show, and friendly personality. This man has got the whole package! I guess there are a few good things to come outta Amarillo.
Aaron Watson  05/05/2003            
Although this CD ships May 13, they are selling advanced copies at their shows, and it's everything we've been waiting for. The new songs they have been performing live are great and so are the rest. They seem to have gone back to their roots a bit with more acoustic and that famous Braun brothers harmony after diverging somewhat with The Day, but they still open it up on a few cuts. A must have for any collection.
Aaron Watson  02/24/2003            
hey i saw this man and his band at gruene hall since he opened for kevin fowler and i have to say this, this man rocks. keep on
Aaron Watson  02/03/2003            
John, Houston, TX
This is an awesome CD!! I listened to it for three days straight. Now I listen to it about twice a week. Great voice, it justs makes you want to drink and dance! I love it.
Aaron Watson  01/28/2003            
megan/ san marcos, tx
i happened to stumble across Aaron Watson's CD in my friends car when i was driving it and i loved it! i'm a huge texas music fan so of corse i loved this one too! get the CD! it's a lot of fun and good to sing and dance to!
Aaron Watson  12/11/2002            
Aaron Watson is the best Texas Singer Songwriter/performer i have seen in a very long time! Not very often to i make a road trip to see a band, but the Orphans are VERY much worth it! I don't know anyone that i would rather dance to! Watson has a GREAT voice, and the band is awesome! I can't wait to hear them play again! If you don't have the Shut Up and Dance CD, you MUST go out and get it! It kicks MAJOR butt! Aaron, Love ya! Keep up the great work, hun!
Aaron Watson  12/03/2002            
Scuba Lynn
Aaron Watson is by far my favorite Texas Country singer (and songwriter). In my opinion he out does everyone in Texas Country Music, even the ones who are most know; such as Pat Green, Cory Morrow, and Rodger Creager. Don't get me wrong, I love all the Texas Country boys and I have seen them all perform, but only Aaron would make me want to take a road trip 8 hours away (cause I have done it) just to see him play; to me, the rest don't compare. Aaron has his own style and a voice that would (and will) take any and every woman's breath away. He is absolutely amazing in so many ways and has the personality and talent that will take him straight to the top. Keep your heart in it Aaron, and do your thing the way I know you can!
Aaron Watson  12/02/2002            
i've seen aaron watson play a couple of times and he puts on a great show. good entertainer and very cute!
Aaron Watson  10/15/2002            
I just got a copy of Aaron's CD "A Texas Cafe" and I think it kicks ass. I like the country/rock music but sometimes it's nice to get back to good ol' country music. Also, Aaron is an ACU graduate, so that makes him even better. GO WILDCATS!!!
Aaron Watson  10/13/2002            
Big D
There are a few really good songs on this CD and the rest are just good. So overall I'm glad I bought it.
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