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Dale Watson

A staunch adherent of old-style honky tonk and Bakersfield country, Dale Watson has positioned himself as a tattooed, stubbornly independent outsider only interested in recording authentic country music. As a result, he has never sold many records, but his music has been championed by numerous critics and alternative country fans.

Watson was born in Alabama in 1962 but spent his teenage years near Houston, and he grew to think of Texas as his true home state. His father and brother were both musically inclined, and he began writing his own songs at age 12, making his first recording two years later. After graduating from high school, he spent seven years playing local clubs and honky tonks. He moved to Los Angeles in 1988 on the advice of Rosie Flores and soon joined the house band at North Hollywood's now-legendary alt-country venue the Palomino Club. He recorded two singles for Curb in 1990, "One Tear at a Time" and "You Pour It On," and appeared on the third volume of the compilation series A Town South of Bakersfield in 1992. Not long after, he moved to Nashville and spent some time writing songs for the Gary Morris publishing company.

Watson didn't find commercial country much to his taste, and he relocated to the more progressive-minded scene in Austin, TX, where he formed a backing band called the Lone Stars. He scored a deal with Hightone and released his debut album, Cheatin' Heart Attack, in 1995. It was greeted with enormous acclaim for the vitality Watson brought to his vintage-style material and performances and also featured a witty dig at mainstream country in "Nashville Rash." Follow-up Blessed or Damned appeared in 1996 and continued in a similar vein, as did 1997's I Hate These Songs. His next release, The Truckin' Sessions, appeared on Koch in 1998 and was devoted entirely to that distinct country subgenre of truck-driving songs.

Unfortunately, it was almost his last. In 2000, Watson's fiancée was killed in an automobile accident; devastated, he attempted to drown his sorrows in booze and drugs and nearly died of an overdose shortly after Christmas. He wound up checking himself into a mental institution to recover and re-emerged later in 2001 with the deeply sorrowful tribute Every Song I Write Is for You, which appeared on Koch's new country imprint Audium. A couple of lower-key releases followed, the holiday album Christmas in Texas (2001) and Live in London, England (2002). In 2004, with his heart still on his sleeve, but a thicker skin, Watson released Dreamland. He also prepared himself for the lead role in Zalman King's forthcoming cowboy drama, Austin Angel.

Watson was inducted into the Austin Music Hall of Fame one year later. He took a break from music for the majority of that year, moving to Maryland in order to spend more time with his daughters. He was back playing gigs in Austin by 2006, and a documentary on Watson, Crazy Again, premiered at SXSW that year. Directed by Zalman King, the film charted Watson's mental breakdown following the death of his fiancée. A new full-length, From the Cradle to the Grave, came out in 2007, along with a second album, The Little Darlin' Sessions. The Truckin' Sessions, Vol. 2 appeared in 2009 from Hyena Records. The following year saw the release of Carryin' On, which featured session players active in the '50s and '60s, the era so beloved by Watson. In 2012 he released El Rancho Azul on Red House, with his road band, the Lonestars. ~ Steve Huey, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

Love your music friends with Wendy Gorden seen you in Aussee land when you were here glad all is well with you sound great TERRI
rraubdds
This guy is the Real Deal what country should sound like, and not like the generic watered down rock crap that Nashville is producing today, which I don't listen to anymore!
mr_chetreece
Dale keeps the music real. Nashville has sold out to crap. I respect Dale for not selling out. I was listening to Dale play at Ginny's Little Longhorn Saloon one night when a man offered him $100 to sing a Garth Brooks song. Dale refused to play Garth Brooks for any amount of money and told the man to keep his money. The world needs more people like Dale Watson.
troy_nov1965
Country Singer...... . . . . h e s got more talent in one toe than the all the pop singers in Nashville has put together.
Austin City Limits put Dale on my map. Thanks ACL for showcasing this great country singer/song writer.
kidsurveyor
Just heard this on Austin City limits, I plead ignorance, never heard of Watson before, but I love this sound. Great steel guitar !!!
maxandcarol
Shades Merle H. Now this COUNTRY!..Gr e a t Band. Love the steel.
davidbernal3 2
I'm so mad I haven't discovered him earlier. He is awesome in person, so much personality and a true joy to listen to. He is now my favorite country singer! Congrats Dale - Austin City Limits show was the best.
Dale played at my son's wedding in Austin a few years ago. My wife and I became instant fans, as did most everyone at the reception. We live in the Midwest, but try to see him in person anytime he passes within a couple hundred miles of us.
Dale is the best! I always look forward to Saturday night dances at the Broken Spoke, and after the dance, I start looking forward to the next time. His voice is deep and rich, and full of sincerity. His sound portrays the essence of real honky tonk music. His shows are never quite the same, but always entertaining . Keep it up Dale! We love ya!
Dale is one of the new breed of outlaws bucking the system and doing it their way.

Never stop doing it because it's what we all want to hear!
waltermcalli s t e r
Love Cheatin' Heart Attack
Dale is solid classic country to the core, and damned nice guy as well. One time at a Dale Watson show only makes you want more, more, more. He also has an uncanny ability to remember people, faces, places, dates, and that helps him connect with his fans even more. Here's to you, Dale! Keep 'em coming.
jweaver615
Dale is old school. Love this music. Haven't been back to the Broken Spoke since I saw him there 14 years ago.
Love me some Dale Watson!!!
btk66boo
I remember his dad Don Watson talking about him and my dad Wesley Caraway talking about him making good music my dad told me stories about the adventures he and they had Dad passed 7/28/10
A friend of mine in texas turned me on to Dale...he's even cool to a northern boy like me!
melton71
Goin' to see Dale at Railroad Blues tonight in Alpine, TX. Been missin' him ever since I left Austin.
rickedwards0
Saw him at Kendalia Dance Hall last night. Great non-stop country dance music from a great band.
yes...i am sad to say i had never heard of him til about a week ago...my mom hadn't either and she loves old outlaw country...th i s is what country should sound like...a real country song by him is awesome...so is country my a$$
jhmcg1
ypus is real country. He didn't sell out.
eagle.rosie
I can't believe I haven't heard of this man until now. Thank you World Cafe!
darrenhamer
Go see him live...a genuine showman with a great sound from his very simple band of 4 guys.
mnbmeadplusf o u r
Sad to say, but I'd never heard of this guy. I like his style. Too bad mainstream country doesn't sound much like this anymore.
Can't wait till he's back rockin the Sportsmen's in Buffalo NY. all top 40 nashville sucks
I saw Dale in Freeport, Maine. That was the first that I had heard of him. He and the Lonestars are a great band and very entertaining . I even met them after and I'm looking forward to seeing them in Bangor Maine in August.
I have finally got to this site. But Dale Watson is absolutely awesome, I just got back from Texas two days ago. I was only familliar with him from seeing his name on satelitte radio. But i heard of the broken spoke in austin and wanted to check it out. Luckily we were able to catch him there two times at the spoke. it was the absolute best (real old school honky tonk style) live country music i have EVER seen. he is so legit and promised to the old school country it is awesome. friendly 2
His voice reminds me a bit of John Conlee and like Conlee this man is an artist and stylist. Plus he hangs out with Bill Kirchen!
I totally agree with djjaillet.
djjaillet
awesome artist i love his style,we need
more of these guys around cause todays country music is nothing but bubble gum GARBAGE
crockett.hal l
I had the chance to see and hear him play at the Broken Spoke (Austin TX.) Thought I had died and gone to Honky Tonk heaven. What a blast. To see a a traditional band with a steel slide guitar was quite a treat. Dale was an impeccable entertainer with a great stage presence and what a voice! If you ever get to Austin, go to the Broken Spoke and watching him play.
ccandwater20 0 3
I agree, he is GREAT live! So talented. He has one of the most amazing voices around. And he is a nice and genuine person - he will always talk to and take photos with every fan. I like that too.
kkrasenics
He ROCKS and is fantastic live!!! How refreshing.. wish there more, more, more songs from him!!
Dale Watson is definitely a leader in bringing traditional country music back to the mainstream of country music.
Dale Watson has a great voice,low and strong,never heard of him before,sound s pretty good,like his "Big Wheels" that keep rolling is a good song..nice
this is what country music is suppose to sound like. Dale like so many others went to Texas. Damn shame Nashville don't play this kind anymore. I guess we true country fans are a dying breed.
If it aint country music by Dale Watson what is it? I say pure country the best.
imoz
My inner redneck tells me Dale Watson has the sound I grew up listening to in honky-tonk dives 40 years ago. Great find!
mott117
Dale Watson is the realest country singer, songwriter and guitarist (yeah he is a beast on his tele, too!) around. This man is a direct link to all the innovators from Bob Wills to Faron Young to Johnny Cash. He's a national treasure.
finally found some genuine country not the 16year old girly crap
ive been under a rock to long. never heard him before. great sound. definantly one of my new old finds!!!
real country this is good stuff
Dale Watson is one of the best country artists of all time! As mentioned in his bio, he was never a top seller. However, the ease with which he brings out the essence of true country is impressive. Keep on rockin', brother!

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