Aaron Watson Band coming to Choctaw-Grant, Okla.

| January 17, 2018 | Reply

Story and photos by Mary Jane Farmer, first printed in The Paris News, Jan. 12,2018, edition.

About two and a half years ago, the Aaron Watson band played at the Choctaw Casino (Grant) Event Center, and held the crowd captive for nearly two full hours. He was the first to play there, of the Red Dirt genre of bands, and packed the house, He was also the first of the Red Dirt bands to play at the Grand Theater in Durant’s Choctaw Casino, about a year ago. Again, totally packed the sold-out house.

And the upcoming January 27 Aaron Watson Band concert at the Event Center in Grant is another sold-out show.

Just as the cowboys in his songs, sometimes called vaqueros depending on the subject, are timeless, so is Watson’s music. He puts the cowboy back in country. He always shows his very best side, complete with stories to go along with his songs. He keeps his individual label for his homespun recordings. His latest recording is actually named Vaquero, a 16-song set of nothing but genuine bright lights of genuine country music.

In spite of his ever-growing national fame, or maybe because of it, Watson declines to sign with a national Nashville promotions company. A song he down on his The Underdog CD, explains his choosing to remain an independent artist. He quotes Sam Houston, and uses this as his recurring line — “I’d rather be an old fence post in Texas than the king of Tennessee.”  Called “Fence Post,” the song also was written, according to the opening dialogue in the recording, “A guy who can’t even playing a D chord on a guitar, telling someone with a dream that they won’t get far. This song is dedicated to all those other dogs like me…”

A continual favorite of so many fans is his “Bluebonnets (Julie’s song),” about that broken vacated heart one has when one loses a child — no matter the age of that child — or loses any loved one. “.gone, long gone, like bluebonnets in the spring, We’re only here for a little while… Pack light and love heavy, give it all your heart and soul, so in the end you won’t regret one thing. Life is like bluebonnets in the spring.”

And that tender type song is not that unusual for Watson. He penned the much-covered hit,July in Cheyenne” about rodeo champion Lane Frost. So many great songs about life on life’s terms.

Then he can turn around, and the band is right behind him, and belt out “Freight Train” and the listener can just hear the locomotive wheels on the tracks and the popular “Getaway Truck.” Quick and easy and full of the beat that makes a listener just have to stomp his boots on the hardwood floor.

OK, there is just a tiny tidbit of Nashville in Aaron’s shows — he often uses the same point-at-someone-in-the-crowd motion that Luke Bryan and Dustin Lynch and others of the Nashville ilk use. But then, who knows maybe Luke and Dustin are copying Watson’s “commercial appeal” stage actions. Could be, it just could be!

The Aaron Watson Band consists of the usual instruments — guitars, drums, bass— plus a fiddle. All well orchestrated and animated to make it all more fun for everybody.

Watson generally doesn’t do encores, but instead goes and stays to his merch table as long as it takes for everyone to say hello. Sometimes, it takes him a little time to get off the stage, because he often just knuckle-bumps and high-fives those down-front fans, often handing out his special guitar pick… his name on one side and “Pick Jesus” on the other side.

Aaron’s wild spirit and warm smile are identifiable and contagious. Those whose spirits are more introverted find themselves as much a fan as the extroverts.

The land that made Watson what it is, what fueled that wild spirit, is West Texas, or more specifically Abilene. And his music doesn’t stray much, if at all, from the cowhand/west Texas/family values implanted in him. Rumor has it, based on people’s statements who know him off the stage and off the road, that whenever he can, he gets home to be at church with his wife and kids on Sundays.

Aaron Watson has been professionally in the music business for more than 17 years and issued about a dozen albums, each with rememberable and emulated songs. He’s traveled through the U.S. and Europe, where they Texas music lovers can also identify with him, his songs, his values, and stomp their boots on sawdust-covered dance floors. His last CD is Vaquero. Which debuted at an unprecedented No. 1 on the Billboard Country Albums Chart. A first time, ever, for an independent artist. He said that accomplishment definitely raises his own bar higher for his next recording project. Betcha he’ll continue to record those dancehall shuffle, dustbowl storm, cowboy, rodeo, family, love tales.

One of the things that contributes to his success is his work ethic. The man gets up before dawn to write his songs, and no matter what the big-dogs suggest he do or change, he doesn’t change. He is consistent in his variety of subjects and ability to create unique tunes to accent those lyrics. And then he remembers those lyrics, some that are so tough they might drive word-master Kevin Fowler crazy. And when he writes a love song, it isn’t about going to hang out on a tailgate on old dirt road.

Let’s just leave it as:  Aaron Watson is a wrangler of songs and a roper of people.


Category: *- Features, Choctaw Casinos

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