I’ve spent years trying to figure out what I like so much about listening to Dale Watson’s brand of traditional country music. I think I’ve finally figured it out with his new — and 20th — record, El Rancho Azul, which was released last week on Red House Records.
His songs are a great slice of traditional, time-honored country music with just the right mix of “go fuck yourself” mixed right in. A recent ode to “new country” star Blake Shelton (who referred to traditional country music performers and fans as “old farts and jackasses”) illustrates the point perfectly.
El Rancho Azul is the first of two new albums expected from Watson in the coming months. Later in February the Dalevis: Sun Sessions 2 will be released or if you can’t wait you can download it now at his website.
El Rancho, recorded with Watson’s longtime band The Lonestars, is a pure Honky Tonk record, maybe one of the best that Watson has done. Made of primarily drinking songs — four cuts actually have the word drink in the title — the album is a nice mix of songs that even includes two tunes suitable for play at your country wedding. And although he’s been performing the tune live for years, El Rancho is the first time that Watson recorded the song “Where Do You Want It?” which chronicles the night that country music legend Billy Joe Shaver allegedly shot a man outside a bar near Waco, Texas.
These songs are meant to be listened to, memorized and sung loudly with a shot and a beer close at hand.