Dale-Watson-M-Review-No25DALE WATSON

El Rancho Azul

[Red House]

Texas troubadour Dale Watson is a master storyteller who navigates his own plot twists with offhanded ease. He’s equally capable of wise-guy attitude and wistful nostalgia, and his generous spirit shines through on this, a set of hardcore honky-tonk spiked with traditional Western swing and Bakersfield country. This is Watson’s first recording with regular touring band the Lone Stars, whose rowdy twang is an obvious match for his pliable baritone. Six of the 14 tracks reference alcohol or barrooms in their titles, and the sad-sack likes of “I Lie When I Drink” and “Thanks to Tequila” uphold his reputation for remaining nonchalant even in the harshest of circumstances. Watson sings of barflies and pretty lies without exposing much of his private affairs, but on highlights “We’re Gonna Get Married” and “Daughter’s Wedding Song,” he lays bare his vulnerable soul. –Blake Boldt


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