When "Honky Tonk Kid" Aaron Watson named his latest album Real Good Time, he was not only trying to sum up what the album was about, he was also trying to one-up a couple of country music icons.
"It's funny because George Strait has his Here for a Good Time record and then Alan Jackson has his Good Time record, and I thought what's better than a good time," Watson says and laughs."Well, it would be a real good time."
But in reality, recording his 11th album was anything but a good time. Watson and wife Kimberly suffered a personal tragedy a little before Watson was to step into the recording studio. Shortly after being born on October 10, 2011, Watson's daughter, Julia Grace Watson, passed away.
"It was quite a struggle for me," says Watson. "I was supposed to go into the studio in November of 2011, [and] it kind of just took the music out of me for a while. We were obviously heartbroken, but you know, I didn't need to focus on the business, I needed to focus on my family. At the same time, I have to pay for my family because that's my job as a dad, is to provide."
"One night I got completely frustrated and kind of threw my hands up in the air and hung my guitar on the wall," Watson adds. "I prayed a simple prayer and I just said, 'God, if you want me to make music for a living, I'm going to need some help.' I didn't think much of it and I went to bed. and I'm telling you, about a week later I got on a hot spell and I wrote the majority of the record in a short amount of time."
Real Good Time is his highest-debuting CD to date, reaching No. 9 on the Billboard Country Chart and No. 81 on the Billboard Top 200 in album sales.
Shortly after the album was released, a representative from a major record label questioned Watson about how he was able to chart so well as an independent artist. Watson credits his faith, his family, his fans and his team as the reasons for the success of Real Good Time.
"I told him when you give God the glory and if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, he can move a mountain," he says. "I guess we moved a little mountain there."
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Aaron Watson plays the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo's World's Championship Bar-B-Que Contest 9:15 p.m. Friday on the Miller Stage at the Garden.