“It took 18 years to get here but it’s worth every step,” says Aaron Watson, who will celebrate his first time headlining Nashville’s revered Ryman Auditorium tomorrow (Oct. 4), as he brings “A Night Of Texas At The Ryman.”
Watson recalls first visiting the Ryman Auditorium 18 years ago, shortly after he had met with an executive from one of the largest record labels in Nashville to discuss a possible deal.
“They had just gotten through telling me I didn’t have what it takes and I was pretty heartbroken,” Watson tells MusicRow. “Maybe he was being harsh, or maybe he was just being honest, but that pushed me to become a better artist. I am the artist I am today because of those experiences, so I’m thankful for that good ole boy who told me I wasn’t good enough.”
After that meeting, Watson returned to Texas.
But he didn’t retreat.
Perhaps taking inspiration from the scores of artists before him who had been rejected by a Nashville record label only to go on to achieve great success, Watson built a team that includes CDA Entertainment’s Anthony “Gino” Genaro, with Thirty Tigers, and CAA’s Aaron Tannenbaum.
Watson toured relentlessly and has released 13 albums on his own independent label. With every show and every album, he’s built a domestic and international fanbase.
In 2015, Watson made history with his album The Underdog. The aptly titled project debuted at the top of the Billboard Country Albums chart, making Watson the first independent male country artist to debut an album in the chart’s top slot. Earlier this year, he released its follow up, Vaquero, which debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard Country Albums chart, and topped the all-genre Indie Albums chart.
Tomorrow, Watson will make a triumphant headlining run on that very same Ryman stage he visited years ago.
Fellow Texans will also join him, including Mickey Guyton, Jon Wolfe, Jim Collins and Leslie Satcher, who will soon release the album 2 Days In Muscle Shoals.
“I’ve played so many shows with Jon Wolfe,” Watson says. “Mickey I just feel like she’s a superstar. She’s beautiful inside and out. She sings like a bird and there are so many wonderful things about her, so I felt like it was such a great lineup.”
“It’s just such an honor. It’s the Ryman,” he continues. “When I am walking down the hallway and it’s the old brick and the old hardwood floors and the church pews, I can’t help but think of all the legends that walked those same footsteps with me. I think of Johnny Cash, June [Carter Cash] and Ernest Tubb. He’s one of my favorites. There is something so special about it and the tradition gets me. That is something that country music needs to never get away from, to never forget where it comes from.
“I built my career and so to get to headline the Ryman feels full-circle and it makes it that much sweeter. I’m excited to share my brand of country music with Nashville.”
“A Night Of Texas At The Ryman” will benefit American Red Cross Hurricane Harvey response efforts. Tickets begin at $25 and can be purchased at ryman.com.
- CMA Honors Robert Deaton With Chairman’s Award - December 4, 2020
- Nashville Symphony, Nashville Musicians Association Reach Agreement - December 4, 2020
- Zach Williams’ “Chain Breaker” Is Most-Added On ‘MusicRow’ CountryBreakout Radio Chart - December 4, 2020