Aaron Watson’s live CD is country flop

Aaron Watson

Released on “Big Label Records” (if that does not scream Texas, nothing does) on Sept. 15, “Aaron Watson: Live” recaps the Abilene based country artist’s best hits and a few covers of his favorite artists.

This album delivers 22 tracks of “honky-tonk, boot-strapping, country music to satisfy hardcore country fans anywhere from east to west Texas.

In classic country music style, the album starts off with the, “Love Makin’ Song”. Not much is left to the imagination for this song as it is basically about “makin’ love.” 

Watson makes Neo-Tradition country seem traditional and outdated. Each song flows right into the next, but not in the “rock-ballad” sense of creation. Every song sounds the same. If it was not for his speech before and after every song, the album would be 1.2 hours of musical noise. Well-executed live noise, but noise in the end.

Most live albums are directed towards a certain target audience. The target is fans of the band/artist that want to capture the “thrill and energy” of a live performance.  For newcomers to the music, live albums are the proverbial “tooting of their (the artists) own horn.” 

The artist can play around and experiment with the songs in live albums, and the fans will not care. The beauty of this album is that Aaron Watson does not experiment. He sets out to play his music, and he does it with perfect precision. Portions of the album sound as though they are in the studio. You quickly realize that you are not in the studio when a mid-twenties woman screams for Watson, but for a split second the music is entrancing.

As the album pushes forward, the songs become increasingly softer toward tracks 10 and 11 approach. Watson takes some time to reflect on the loss of important mentors in his life before each of these tracks, letting the listener think of his/her own losses. During this time it is well advised that all listeners please refrain from breaking down to sorrowful tears and continue on with their lives.

The album wraps up with some spunk including, but not limited to, his hit singles. Track 20, “Off The Record,” is quite possibly the best song on the album. There is a second disc with a DVD of the show. The DVD is for country fans alone. Attempting to expose new “folks” to country through this DVD could result in tears and shotguns.

Aaron Watson is not the artist to expose to new fans of country music. He is for those who grew up with country, still listen to country, and will die listening to country. If you have Toby Keith hardwired into your pickup truck, then this album is perfect for you. Otherwise, return to your Rascal Flatt’s albums and proceed.