Nashville Fans, Songwriters Embrace Texas Artist Aaron Watson’s Down-Home Charm

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• October 6, 2017 •

Pictured (L-R): KRTY’s Nate Deaton, Aaron Watson, Spotify’s John Marks

Texas took over the Ryman Auditorium Wednesday night (Oct. 4) with performer Aaron Watson and a slew of his singer/songwriter friends. Among them, Leslie Satcher, Jim Collins, Mickey Guyton and Jon Wolfe. The evening’s proceeds were donated to his home state’s Hurricane Harvey response efforts.

After taking the stage to, strangely enough, the strains of New Jersey-native Halsey’s cover of “Walk The Line,” Watson showed versatility and an embrace of today’s music scene. He for one is a remarkable success on streaming platforms Pandora and Spotify.

Watson, who has released 13 albums on his own independent label, has been a remarkable success on streaming platforms such as Pandora and Spotify. His 2015 album, The Underdog, 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, the followup Vaquero debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard Country Albums chart, and topped the all-genre Indie Albums chart.

Texas troubadour Watson’s charm was on full display at his roadshow. Diehard fans were on their feet, raising cold ones at various times throughout the night to salute the troops and Jesus. Watson had the audience in the palm of his hand with his small-town, down-home anecdotes, including lamenting to the crowd about having to take out the trash at home.

With sincerity and vulnerability, Watson offered a story about the 2011 passing of his daughter, Julia Grace, who was born prematurely. Titles included “July In Cheyenne,” written with inspiration he received from Texas bull rider Lane Frost’s mother, Elsie, and “Bluebonnets,” dedicated to Julia, who would have been six this year.

Risers and trusses showed scars from years of heavy use on the Texas touring circuit. Watson’s team keeping his schedule booked so tightly includes CDA Entertainment’s Anthony “Gino” Genaro, with Thirty Tigers, and CAA’s Aaron Tannenbaum.

The star’s roadshow is not unlike the hardworking rodeo cowboys and self-employed rancher circuits he plays. Just a small-town boy, encroaching on a mainstream stage. And Nashville’s growing fan-base is clearly open-armed, as are its songwriters.

Opening acts included Satcher and Collins, both offering their respective George Strait cuts, “Troubadour” and “It Just Comes Natural.” Satcher’s set also included her latest single, “This Won’t Take Long,” from a new forthcoming effort 2 Days In Muscle Shoals. Collins rounded out the powerhouse songwriter set with Kenny Chesney’s “The Good Stuff” and Jason Aldean’s  “Big Green Tractor.”

Guyton’s acoustic set predictably included “Better Than You Left Me” “Nice Things” and “Why Baby Why.” The UMG newcomer’s vocal precision was also on display. Wolfe had the only full-band opening set, complete with steel guitar.

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Eric T. Parker oversees operations and contributes editorial for MusicRow's print magazine, MusicRow.com, the RowFax tip sheet and the MusicRow CountryBreakout chart. He also facilitates annual events for the enterprise, including MusicRow Awards, CountryBreakout Awards and the Rising Women on the Row. [email protected] @EricTParker

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