My Kind of Country

Country music from a fan's point of view since 2008

Album Review: Aaron Watson – ‘The Honky Tonk Kid’

honky-tonk-kid-lgAaron Watson tapped Asleep At The Wheel’s Ray Benson to produce his follow-up to Shutupanddance. His fourth album for Sonnet Records, The Honky Tonk Kid was released in the spring of 2004.

Watson solely composed ten of the project’s thirteen tracks, including the record’s only national single, “If You’re Not In Love.” A brisk country shuffle, the track boosts impeccable lead guitar work; but has a clunky lyric that brings the overall quality down a notch.

“The Right Place” opens the album with glorious sawin’ on the fiddle that gives way to a wonderful honky-tonker about the desire for authentic country music and this being “The Right Place” to hear it. “Reckless” is a heavier rocker with ample drum and electric guitar, but saved by the prominent fiddle heard throughout.

The remainder of Watson’s solely penned numbers lean more on the ballad side of the sonic spectrum, with prominent steel guitar and fiddle. “Mackenzie Park” is a splendid shuffle, “Fool’s Paradise” mixes in jazzy swing, and “Next To Heaven” is a touching love song. The best of the bunch is “Will You Love Me in a Trailer,” an excellent shuffle with a fantastic lyric elevated by Watson’s lovely vocal. “Fool’s” is the only stinker with a clunky lyric that makes the track cheesier than I would’ve liked.

In addition, Watson recorded a number of duets for the project. Most notably is the title track, a fabulous fiddle laden ballad with his hero Willie Nelson. Asleep at the Wheel joins him for “Honky Tonkin’ Around Texas,” a fantastically twangy western swing number. Dale Watson (no relation) joins him for “Diesel Driving Daddy,” a chugging Texas shuffle.

The Honky Tonk Kid is a great album, with impeccable instrumentation and Benson’s keen ear steering it in the right direction. At times the project is hindered by terrible lyrical compositions, which I wasn’t expecting as I hadn’t listened to an album by Watson before. But it’s worth picking up and an enjoyable listen for anyone who enjoys the forgotten sounds of country music’s past.

Grade: B

One response to “Album Review: Aaron Watson – ‘The Honky Tonk Kid’

  1. jaredrexclark February 12, 2015 at 9:35 am

    Reckless is my favorite Aaron Watson song!

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