Often called "a honky tonk purist," country singer and songwriter Dale Watson has spent the past 25 years building a devoted following in the U.S. and Europe. His newest CD is called "Whiskey or God," and Watson's ninth recording is filled with the same kind of unvarnished country music that fans have come to expect.
One listen to Dale Watson's Whiskey or God will have you convinced the singer and songwriter loves classic country music. He was born during the heyday of honkytonk, when telecasters and steel guitars ruled the country radio airwaves. So, it's no surprise to learn the 14 songs on Dale Watson's Whiskey or God make up a country album as pure as any that's come out of Nashville in recent years. There's no "hick-hop" (pop/rock/hip-hop-leaning songs from contemporary country artists, e.g., Big & Rich or Cowboy Troy), or big production numbers on this record, just old-style country with plenty of fiddles and steel guitar.
Dale Watson, 43, began performing at the age of 14, and has won numerous awards in Britain, Holland and Spain, making him a household name in Europe. In the U.S., Dale Watson has been called "too country for country," and has not found much success on the radio, despite regularly selling out dance halls and clubs throughout Texas and other parts of the country.
Dale Watson's style is often compared to country giants Merle Haggard, Lefty Frizzell and Buck Owens. He writes songs about subjects people can relate to: Hard luck, hard work, and heartbreak. One of the standout tracks on Whiskey or God is "I Wish I Was Crazy Again," a sad ballad about coping with loss.
"I Wish I Was Crazy Again" is more than just another song on Dale Watson's latest album. It's also the working title of a memoir he's readying for publication, and the name of a documentary film about the singer.
The film, recently released to strong reviews, deals with the problems that haunted Watson after his fiancé was killed in a car accident several years ago. He fell into a deep depression, and blamed himself for her death because the two had gotten into an argument before the accident.
Today, Watson says his life couldn't be much better. He's just released a new CD, is about to start work as an actor in a feature film called Austin Angel, and has worked out a business deal that will allow him to both tour the country, and spend time with his children.