Big Label Records
Real Deal Authentic and Thought Provoking Modern Country.
Aaron Watson first graced our pages way back in 2016 when we highlighted a single; then nothing until last year when another single appeared to promote a small UK Tour then nothing until now; and it appears he’s become an overnight star ! Well; I know he’s put a hard shift in over the last 20 years or so ….. but; well ….. you know what I mean!
As I do, I played this album a couple of last week and while a few songs stick in my mind, it wasn’t until Thursday morning when I slid the disc in the car stereo for a road trip to North Northumberland that ‘it hit me’; and soon I was pretending I was in a Ford Mustang speeding around the back roads of Wyoming (I have a good imagination).
Just like last week opening track The Ghost of Guy Clark sounded sublime in the Summer sunshine; but today the story unravelled a bit more and I eventually decided that this was going to not just be my Favourite Song here; but just may be my Song of the Year …… it’s going to take something really, really special to better this, trust me.
RED BANDANA is a bit of an emotional and musical roller-coaster with Watson galloping through a couple of Rockers with gusto and potency with Dark Horse and Kiss That Girl Goodbye being sure fire fan favourites ‘in concert’ and Live or Die Trying; while a bit ‘sentimental’ for my tastes is the type of Gung-Ho Country that will have them dancing in the aisles.
Personally I prefer Watson’s more soulful slower songs; but as I say that’s my taste; but when his Good Ole Boy fans hear Blood Brothers, I hope it makes them look deep into their souls and question their political allegiances.
Oddly in this day and age the album is made up of 20 songs; and normally I would question Watson’s quality control filter; but within reason every song here is worthy of release; with the singer taking us into some interesting territory on Burn Em’ Down and To Be The Moon, but Dark Horse, You On My Hands and Shake a Heartache are are all classy Modern Country; and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.
If it hadn’t been for that Guy Clark song either of Riding With Red or the title track Red Bandana would surely have been my Favourite Song; and there’s still time …… but both tick all of the boxes I have for a sentimental and romantic song; although in this case I *presume ‘Red’ of Red Bandana fame is Watson’s Grandfather and obviously still an inspiration to the songwriter to this very day.
Both Country Radio and Legends are ‘preaching to the choir’ but both are rather exceptional songs that look back to the Glory Days; and I did find myself mouthing the words a couple of times.
Watson isn’t afraid to tread off the traditional Country Radio Format at times; El Comienzo Del Viaje and Blood Brothers spring to mind; but none more so than the very brave song, 58 which closes is the album, and the all too brief 58 seconds feel like a punch to the gut when you realise that Watson is singing about the 58 who lost there lives …… no….. were murdered in Las Vegas in 2017.
I’ve been in several arguments over the last few years as to what Country Music ‘is’ in 2019; and while it covers a lot of areas …….. Aaron Watson and his songs are as authentic as they come these days; he’s the Real Deal in a way many of the Huge Hat acts that adorn the magazines could ever dream of being.
*My copy arrived without a Press Release.
Released 21st June 2019