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Dale Watson, with the Derailers

No one can accuse Dale Watson of not being country enough. The Austin-based, Pasadena-bred singer-songwriter, supported on this bill by Jim Dalton and Tony Nascar, has a bottomless barroom voice, a wonderfully baroque delivery and a pronounced ornery streak he proudly displays on "Country My Ass," in which he attacks watered-down C&W with the couplet "Force feed us that shit / Ain't you real tired of it?" Moreover, he actually lives the country life, as director Zalman King learned while making Crazy Again, a 2006 documentary in which Watson tells about the nervous breakdown he suffered after a car accident killed his girlfriend; during the worst moments of his madness, he believed Satan was talking to him directly. Watson's struggles, as well as his adventures, inform every note of his best recordings, including 2006's From the Cradle to the Grave, in ways that the Tims and Faiths and Kennys of the world can't possibly replicate. That, my friends, is country.

 
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