In addition to putting together a Christmas album, An Aaron Watson Family Christmas, in 2018, Texas country star Aaron Watson says he's thinking ahead to 2019. The new year will mark the 20th anniversary of Watson's musical career, and the singer plans to celebrate the milestone with a new project that he says is his favorite body of work he's ever created.

"This is the one," Watson tells The Boot in a recent interview. "If this is the last album I make, I'm fine with that."

Watson has spent the past two decades honing his craft as a musician and songwriter, and he feels all that practice and dedication shows on his forthcoming project.

"I'm not hesitant to say that my goal next year is to bring out one of the best records in country music," he says. "I mean, I think, 20 years in, I've earned the right to say that. I'm not some 20-year-old kid running his mouth. I'm 42 years old; 2,500 or 3,000 shows later, I feel like I have finally figured out me."

Getting to the heart of his musical identity has allowed Watson to be more vulnerable and honest in this batch of songs than ever before. "It's just me sharing everything ... just talking about my struggles and my triumphs," he explains, adding that the project is tentatively planned to feature all songs he wrote alone, with no co-writers.

"When I went into writing this album, I went into it thinking, 'What if this is the last album for me to make music? What would I have to say?'" Watson continues. "It changes everything when you think like that. I wanted my music to have more meaning than it's ever had before."

Watson began to consider music-making in that way when he realized that, at his age, many country stars find themselves on the back ends of their careers. However, that doesn't mean he has plans to slow down.

"Honestly, I've been a late bloomer," he relates, adding, "We're really just starting to catch our stride, and I have no doubt that things are just gonna keep growing."

Watson also says that all of the songs on his new project belong together: "I wrote a lot of these songs in sequence. Every song is married to the next," he explains. His new project has been in the works for a long time -- since even before he released his 2017 record, Vaquero.

"I've never worked this hard," Watson reflects. "I've been writing every day for like ... I've been working on this album since three months before Vaquero came out. The concept was there."

While all aspects of the album are subject to change, Watson is tentatively planning a Summer 2019 release date for the project. He hopes to have the first taste of its new music ready for release by January.

"We're gonna tease the world like it's a new Star Wars film, for the next eight months," he says with a laugh. "I'm really excited to share this one with my fans. It took me 20 years to make this record."

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