Review: Aaron Watson Gets Reflective Onstage at Country Jam 2016
Johnny Cash's "Ain't No Grave" and a loud train whistle brought Aaron Watson and his band to the Country Jam stage on Sunday (June 19) — a fitting welcome for their more traditional brand of Texas-bred country music. Although Watson is a new face on the national country scene — following the major success of his newest album, The Underdog, in early 2015 — the singer-songwriter has been active in the Texas country music scene since the early 2000s, and his tight live show and extremely talented band are proof that all those years have been a benefit.
Throughout Watson's 45-minute set, he and his band brought the crowd an impressive variety of songs, from the fast-paced "Freight Train" to the slow and touching "July in Cheyenne," before which Watson opened up about losing a baby daughter and how tough it was to get back onstage after her death. In fact, Watson's show included quite a few personal moments: He reflected on his Vietnam vet father's influence on his life and career before "Raise Your Bottle" and shared a humorous anecdote about his Grand Ole Opry debut.
"I got to thinking to myself I could score some points [with my wife] in this situation ... so I wrote her this song, and I dedicated it to her," Watson recalled before playing "That Look," which drew a few couples to an area down by the stage to dance. When he asked his wife after his show at the Opry, "You ever hooked up with a dude that sang at the Grand Ole Opry?" her only response was, "Are you gonna take me to IHOP after this, or what?"
"You write a girl a song, you dedicate it to her at the Opry," Watson joked, "but if you really wanna score some points ... you get your girl some pancakes."
Watson and his band shone throughout their entire performance, but it was especially neat to watch them jam a bit before their final song. His guitarist and fiddle player, especially, drew loud cheers of approval from the Country Jam crowd.
"Now that's country music right there!" Watson remarked as they wrapped up. "Ain't no skinny jeans on the stage right now."