Album Review: Aaron Watson - "Real Good Time"

Blessed with a voice that's pliable for both Traditional Country and modern Country sounds, Aaron Watson deftly mixes both to great effect on this 18 track CD (which includes some rerecorded takes of 5 of his Texas Classics). He may not be mainstream but he's as good as any of 'em.

Throughout his career, Aaron Watson has driven to the beat of his own drum with how to do things and it has allowed him to blossom as a traditional country artist in a region where Texas Music has lots of rock mixed in with traditional sounds.  This has allowed him to release 11 recordings that ranged from Texas Swing of Shutupanddance the honky tonk of The Honky Tonk Kid to the gospel Barbed Wire Halo and a pair of live recordings, including 2010's The Road & The Rodeo. Along the way Aaron Watson has evolved his sound not unlike the way Brad Paisley has done while navigating the mainstream country waters and no more is this evident than on the 18 track Real Good Time.

The record kicks features a wide-variety of songs from a tribute to late Rodeo legend Lane Frost, up tempo fare that fits in well with anything released in Nashville ("Real Good Time," "Lips," "Fish," "Duck Blind"), duets with Willie Nelson ("Honky Tonk Kid"), Justin McBride ("Cadillac Cowboy"), Elizabeth Cook ("Leather And Lace"), "Off The Record" (Charla Corn) and a pair of songs which feature John Anderson & Kevin Fowler ("Duck Blind") and Pat Green & Josh Abbott ("Texas Boys"). There's even a revisit to "Barbed Wire Halo" and "Honky Tonk Kid" songs from his previous record. 

Watson may lose a few longtime fans with this record with his embracing of more mainstream country sounds but as he proves throughout the rest of his record, for every "Summertime Girl" there's a "I Don't Want You To Go." He even tests fate with "Hey Y'all," a song which packs every mainstream country music cliche into what starts off as a standard country song and evolves into a song that's a distinct cousin to "Dirt Road Anthem." Since he subtitles the song as "My contribution to ruining country music country song!", it's pretty evident that he has his tongue firmly in cheek on "Hey Y'all" but that doesn't mean some enterprising guy from Nashville may recut the song or that it'll become both Watson's most-requested or most-successfully downloaded track on iTunes. It's that convincing, and more importantly, fun.

Like the guy I referenced in the first paragraph, Brad Paisley, Aaron Watson is able to navigate the traditional country music waters and feel mainstream and evolutionary with each of his recordings. Real Good Time is the work of a man firmly in his element.


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