Dale Watson Premieres Fan-Inspired Track 'David Buxkemper'
Over his lengthy career, honky-tonk artist Dale Watson has found songwriting inspiration in real-life situations and his interractions with fans. A chance email Watson received from Texas fan David Buxkemper led to the aforementioned "truckin' farmer" being immortalized in his namesake song, which appears on CALL ME LUCKY, Watson's February 15 release on Red House Records.
"Him and his granddad would watch Hee Haw, and loved listening to truckin' songs as they were doing their farming," Watson tells The Boot. "So I wrote back and asked him to expound a little bit, because he had inspired me to write a song. He ended up telling me that he was an illegal truck driver two days out of the year. He kinda has to sneak his crop out twice a year, because he doesn't have the license for it," Watson added. "So I thought it was a great story, and with a name like that -- David Buxkemper?! You can't make that up."
Over the last three decades, Dale Watson has been labeled as everything from alt-country to Ameripolitan. But the most humble description may come from the title of his newest album, CALL ME LUCKY. A fixture of the Austin, Texas, music scene for years, Watson recorded all but one song on the album at historic Sam Phillips Recording in Memphis, TN. The album features some of Memphis' finest as well as Dale's longtime band, His Lone Stars, and includes a horn section on some of the tracks. In early 2018, he bought a house there and now divides his downtime equally between Texas and Tennessee. He also sold the bars he owned in Texas and purchased the fabled Memphis nightclub Hernando's Hideaway in an effort to provide a hospitable place for touring musicians to perform.
Throughout CALL ME LUCKY, Watson's songwriting is so descriptive that you can almost see him cruising into Memphis as he sings "Tupelo Mississippi and a '57 Fairlane," a throwback tune backed by a Memphis-style horn section. Meanwhile, a Hank Williams influence seeps into "Haul Off and Do It," which is already a favorite in Watson's live shows. And like the music from his musical heroes, many of the new songs clock in at roughly three minutes long - sometimes less.
"I've always been a fan of keeping songs short," Watson confirms. "Long ago, I went to a library and checked out Tom T. Hall's How I Write Songs. And in there, he said it's not about keeping the songs short, it's keeping the point. Make your point and get out. That's always been my way of writing. There are some songs I've written that go on a bit more like a story, but I guess it's probably my ADD that I don't drag it out too much."
Watson featured artist on the sold-out Outlaw Country Cruise joining Margo Price, Lucinda Williams and others. He'll then gear up for the Sixth Annual Ameripolitan Music Awards in Memphis in February. Founded and operated by Watson, the ambitious event celebrates touring roots artists who write their own music - a winning formula that Watson has embodied for more than 30 years.
"I write a lot. It doesn't mean I write good songs, but I do write a lot of songs. So I think as with anything, you keep at it and you get better at it. But as for writing just a simple country song, I can accept that I'm good at that," Watson says. "I'm just really, really grateful to be able to do what I do for a living, for as long as I've been doing it."
For Dale's full tour schedule, please visit www.dalewatson.com.
1. Call Me Lucky
2. The Dumb Song
3. Johnny And June
4. Tupelo Mississippi And A '57 Fairline
5. Haul Off And Do It
7. David Buckskimper
8. Inside View
9. You Weren't Supposed To Feel This Good
10. Mama's Smile
11. Who Needs This Man
2/1/2019 Continental Club- Austin, TX
2/2/2019 The 4 Star Concert Hall - Brenham, TX
2/2/2019 Confederate Square - Gonzales, TX
2/14/2019 Gruene Hall - New Braunfels, TX
2/15/2019 Luckenbach Dance Hall - Fredericksburg, TX
2/16/2019 Broken Spoke - Austin, TX
2/23/2019 Blues City Cafe - Memphis, TX
3/1/2019 Longhorn Saloon - Fort Worth, TX
3/2/2019 The Broken Spoke - Austin, TX
3/6/2019 Rollins Studio Theatre - Austin, TX
3/8/2019 Continental Club - Houston, TX
3/9/2019 Honky Tonk Texas - Silsbee, TX
3/12/2019 Gsdm- Austin, TX
3/13/2019 Daryl's House - Pawling, NY
3/14/2019 The Birchmere - Alexandria, VA
3/15/2019 Roxy & Dukes Roadhouse - Dunellen, NJ
3/16/2019 Murmrr Ballroom - Brooklyn, NY
3/17/2019 My Father's Place - Roslyn, NY
3/18/2019 The Locks at Sona - Philadelphia, PA
3/19/2019 Cafe Nine - New Haven, CT
3/20/2019 Godfrey Daniels - Bethlehem, PA
3/21/2019 Creative Alliance - Baltimore, MD
3/22/2019 Hard Rock Cafe - Pittsburgh, PA
3/23/2019 Circuit of the Americas - Del Valle, TX
4/5/2019 Continental Club - Austin, TX