Interview with Dale Watson

Aug 31st, 2020 (edited)
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  1. TMM: There’s a lot of good music coming out of Texas. What’s your take on the Texas Music Movement?
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  3. Dale: I think that Texas music is where originality in country music is happening. That pretty much sums it up. Texas seems to be the forerunner in original country music these days.
  4. TMM: I noticed that you have taken a few shots at Nashville in some of your songs. What are your thoughts on the Nashville music machine?
  5. Dale: Well, it is what it is. It’s gotten a lot better than it used to be. You have to give them credit where credit is due and they are doing some good things, it's slowly getting better. Some of the Texas artists are opening their eyes. I don’t want to keep bashing them if they are doing some good stuff.
  6. TMM: You do a lot of Merle Haggard songs. I take it that he is one of your musical influences?
  7. Dale: Yeah, I really like Merle. Other influences are Johnny Cash, Conway Twitty, and Ray Price.
  8. TMM: To me your music represents “real” country music. What do you think about the radio stations not playing “real” country music any more?
  9. Dale: Yeah, they got to do that for the revenue. Whatever is popular is what they are going to play. They play some of the stuff coming out of Texas but I don’t see anything changing very soon. They don’t play any more Jerry Jeff Walker, Ray Price or Bob Wills.
  10. TMM: Do you think that the radio stations will turn around and play more of your kind of music?
  11. Dale: I don’t think its ever going turn around. I think it going to be like it is now, always supported by live shows. Kinda like Willie Nelson, you don’t hear his stuff on the radio much any more but you sure see a lot of people at his shows. I think it’s just gonna be that way. That’s fine, that’s just the way Texas music has always been. The radio will always go with the mainstream stuff.
  12. TMM: We’ve been keeping up with Texas artists like Pat Green and Cory Morrow. What do you think about what they have been doing for Texas music?
  13. Dale: Their stuff, and I’m not slamming them when I say this, is more in common with Hootie and the Blowfish than it is with Merle Haggard or someone like that. I mean you can’t say an all encompassing statement like that because they both have some really good songs. They’ve got some great songs. Both of them are really nice guys and they do what they love. As long as people are doing what they love, I don’t want to bash them for that! They obviously have a huge following and people seem to really like their music. Their music is a different kind of country music than mine. I’m glad that they are enjoying the success that they are, it couldn’t happen to any nicer guys.
  14. TMM: You write most of the songs that you play; do you think the singer song writer is coming back to Texas music?
  15. Dale: I don’t think he ever left. Nashville is definitely opposed to it because of the way they pat each other on the back and try to get song writers in their pocket and do favors. Then they can have songs to push off to their artists. In Texas, I don’t think the singer song writer ever left and that seems to be getting stronger.
  16. TMM: What have been some of your career highlights?
  17. Dale: Grand Ole Opry, Austin City Limits, playing the Ryman and playing in front of Johnny Cash for Johnny Cash.
  18. TMM: You are very popular in Europe. How is it playing over there compared to playing in Texas or the U.S.?
  19. Dale: They appreciate more of the traditional country music. Texas is still more into the Jerry Jeff Walker, Pat Green type of music. In Europe, they go for the more hardcore country type stuff. They also like the singer singers like Ray Price, people who really sing. You would never hear Ray Price, even to this day; sing like some of the popular artists out here. Thank God you don’t! He’s in his seventy’s and sounds just as good as he ever did!
  20. TMM: You have been performing with your bass player Billy “Dee” for quite a while. I understand he has a new CD out. In fact, you played a few songs off of that CD tonight.
  21. Dale: Yeah, he just came out with his new CD. I’ve known Billy for twenty years and he finally got a CD out! He’s a great song writer and a good singer. I hope something happens with it!
  22. TMM: Hank Williams III has mentioned you in interviews and at some of his shows as being a real country performer and how the radio stations should be playing artist like yourself instead of what they are playing. How do you fit into his kind of music?
  23. Dale: As far away from country music as his punk stuff is, his country stuff is right on the money. That’s where I fit in with him. He’s a very multi-talented artists and he is young and has the punk music background. He also has county roots with the name and his singing ability. He performs and records well. His granddaddy and daddy also influenced me and that’s where the similarities in our music come from.
  24. TMM: Where do you see your music going or where would you like it to go?
  25. Dale: Actually my music is making a huge change because I found God. With that, I’m going to be doing less drinking songs and more positive songs. That’s where my music is going to go. We’ll just see what happens with that. I hope people will except that, if they don’t, that’s not my problem (laughs).
  26. TMM: You live in Austin, Texas. What’s the music scene like there?
  27. Dale: It’s still the same. It really hasn’t changed much. There’s some stuff good about that and some stuff bad about that. The bad thing is everything should keep moving but there's not a lot of new artists coming on to the scene. The Weary Boys are really big down there. Rodney Hayden is really good too! Everything seems to be getting pretty stagnant right now. Something will come along soon though, I’m pretty sure.
  28. TMM: You have done some work with Lloyd Maines before haven’t you?
  29. Dale: Yeah, he’s played steel guitar on an album for me before. He’s a real good friend.
  30. TMM: He’s done a lot of production work for some of the new Texas artists and helping them get their name out there. Did he do any production work for you?
  31. Dale: No, he hasn’t done any producing for me. We’re both really busy. I’ve put out a lot of records, sometimes it seems like two a year. I’ve got ten CD's out right now.
  32. TMM: Some have compared the Texas Music Movement with The Outlaw Movement of the ‘70’s. What do you think?
  33. Dale: No, it’s not like that. It doesn’t have the balls that the Outlaws had. You could never create Waylon and Willie. If anything it’s a watered down version of it. They are trying to manufacture a sound and it just doesn’t work that way. I’ve heard some of the artists saying to each other that they were like Waylon and Willie. First of all, if you have to tell someone that, chances are, your not. Waylon and Willie never said anything like that. If you have to manufacture it, then it ain’t going to be the real thing. That’s how it is in Nashville as well; if they try and manufacture the Texas sound... It’s either going to happen or it not going to happen.
  34. TMM: Your guitar has a lot of personality. Is their a story behind it?
  35. Dale: Yeah, that was a drunk night in a hotel room with a bunch of change from all over the world. I had all of this change that you can’t do anything with, so I put it on my guitar.
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