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.”

Date Venue City State Note
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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 Watson’s 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  03/01/2008            
Matt From Waco
Are you kidding me? From just hearing 20 seconds or how ever long it was of that song, I can tell that its going to be one of the hits from it. How about you keep you craptastic opinions to yourself and go listen to some more John Mayer.
Aaron Watson  02/28/2008            
Amanda Kellar
Aaron Watson is the best I have seen in concert yet. I love all of his music and if my car hadnt been broken into I would still have all CDs. So Aaron Watson is the best in my book!!
Aaron Watson  02/27/2008            
You are the one listening to John Mayer you queer. I am willing to bet that he put this song on his album because his wife liked it and told him to cover it...This CD is going to kick ass! However I hope they pick the best singles from it for the radio b/c I don't think they did so with San Angelo.
Aaron Watson  02/26/2008            
In response to TexasAggie04. First off; did you write the song? You have no idea of what intentions John Mayer had when he wrote the song. As a true fan of music and a musician, I appreciate and enjoy both versions. And to give the entire album a rating of one star over one song is pretty unfair. Aaron Watson is a “TRUE” country artist, One of the few keeping traditional country music alive. I think this is a damn good album and can’t wait until he comes back around my neck of the woods to hear all the new songs live.
Aaron Watson  02/26/2008            
Why do people have to take great blues/rock song like Heart of Life (written and performed my John Mayer) and ruin it by turning it into a country tune. I am huge texas music fan and a big supporter of it, but please some covers just dont need to be put on an album. That song was not written with the intention of being a country song, so it isn't going to sound good if you make it into one. So please tell Aaron Watson to please stick to his own stuff and stop ruining other people's stuff to fill up his album.
Aaron Watson  02/24/2008            
Dylan From Andrews Tx
This has to be The best album Aaron Watson has ever made. I can NOT wait for it to come out. There ain't a song on here I dont love.
Aaron Watson  02/21/2008            
Matt From Waco
I can not wait for this cd!!!
Aaron Watson  02/10/2008            
Aaron Watson is my hero, he is up there with george and ledoux in my eyes, this is country, and what texas country needs to be about. 8 years ago it was pats turf now i think aaron will change the way texas music sounds and make people realize that THIS is country. and his music is tv-g. I like the gospel too, being a religious kid myself. Gig em aaron WHOOP
Aaron Watson  02/10/2008            
Aaron Watson is my hero, he is up there with george and ledoux in my eyes, this is country, and what texas country needs to be about. 8 years ago it was pats turf now i think aaron will change the way texas music sounds and make people realize that THIS is country. and his music is tv-g. I like the gospel too, being a religious kid myself. Gig em aaron WHOOP
Aaron Watson  12/24/2007            
Travis R
Hi, I have just now got introduce to Aaron's music, just recived my frist 2 cd from lonestar music,( shut up and dance, and honkytonk kid)I have to say a job well done on both albums. this is the frist i have heard of his music. i have to say that the album shut up and dance is my fav, becuase the majorty of the songs in that album i can relate to. i let my family listen to this album and they loved it, wich wasa suprize casue they dont like texas country, they say he sounds like glen watson, we were wondering if he's any relation if someone knows any info on that can u plese respond
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