Aaron Watson with Special Guest Logan Mize

Nitefall on the River presented by Veridian Credit Union

Aaron Watson with Special Guest Logan Mize

Sat, September 14, 2019

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm


This event is all ages

Aaron Watson
Aaron Watson
Aaron Watson isn’t interested in what someone else thinks he should do. But instead ofgetting lonely as he sidesteps expectations, he’s gaining followers––hundreds of thousandsof them. Delivered with a warm smile and fueled by a wild spirit, Watson’s rebellion echoesthe land that helped make him. Watson remains strikingly similar to the people that still dot his native West Texas. They’re arugged people, proud of home but humble and hardworking, the first to help a neighbor butalso fiercely independent. And Watson is unquestionably one of them. “I’ve always considered myself an anti-rock star,” Watson says, his drawl cracking slightly ashe grins. “People don’t like me because I’m a rock star. People like me because I’m just likethem.”Throughout his 17-year career that spans a dozen albums and more than 2,500 showsthroughout the U.S. and Europe, 39-year-old Watson has stubbornly and sincerely identifiedwith the everyman––even as he’s proven to be the exception to the rule. The latest evidence of Watson’s homespun singularity is Vaquero, an ambitious 16-song setof character-driven storytelling, level-headed cultural commentary, and love songs for grown-ups that promise to further solidify his status as one of today’s finest torch-bearers of realcountry music. Vaquero is the follow-up to 2015’s The Underdog, an acclaimed collection that also madehistory. Watson was sitting at his kitchen table as his wife Kim scrambled eggs when he gotthe call: The Underdog had debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Country Albums Chart. It wasthe first time an independent, male country artist had ever outsold majors to premiere at thetop spot. “We started jumping around and squealing like kids,” he says. “It was a beautifulmoment because I got to share it with the girl who believed in me when I was broke andplaying some pawnshop guitar. It is something I’ll never forget.” That momentous instant alsoarrived with a built-in challenge. “Once we dried the tears of joy, it hit me,” Watson says. “Ihad my work cut out for me for my next album.” Determined, Watson committed to waking up every morning before the sun rose to writesongs on that same old pawnshop guitar he scored 20 years ago. “I bet you I couldn’t get $50for that guitar,” he says. “But it means the world to me.” He penned songs in the back of abus on the highway, too, as the band spent the last two years playing more than 35 statesand six countries. The result is Vaquero, a bold album that confidently draws from Texas’ storied musicalmelting pot: dancehall shuffles, dustbowl narratives, Tejano, and more fill the record. In writing the new album, Watson felt especially drawn to the idea of the vaquero, the originalSpanish horseman that set the foundation for the North American cowboy, a solitary figure

with a legendary work ethic. Watson is a modern-day vaquero––he just gets up at 5 a.m. towrangle songs instead of cattle. And while he won’t deny the pressure he felt following hislast album’s success, outside barometers can’t compel him to change who he is or what hewrites. Watson is Watson, chart-topping record or not.“This is the first album I’ve ever made where if it’s the last album I ever make, I could becontent with that,” Watson says of Vaquero. One listen and it’s easy to understand why. Album opener “Texas Lullaby” pays liltinghomage both to home and to the bravery of the young heroes fighting wars. Deepconnections to place and family course throughout the record. Sing-along “These Old BootsHave Roots” celebrates new love by offering promises grounded in the honor and grace ofpast generations. A fiddle accents Watson’s lines playfully then escalates to a hopeful roar.Romance is a central theme of the album, but Watson isn’t interested in adding to the steadystream of hook-up anthems coming out of Music Row. Watson’s love songs are celebrationsof monogamy and the bonds that only time, mutual respect, and persistence can build. Theswinging, fiddle-soaked “Take You Home Tonight” anticipates a steamy night in, while “RunWild Horses” is a passionate ode to lovemaking featuring a standout vocal performance fromWatson, whose laid-back croon lets loose and soars. Infectious first single “Outta Style” andshuffling “Be My Girl Tonight” both praise staying power and explore how to protect it. Watson revels in another kind of love on the album closer, “Diamonds & Daughters.” Twoyears ago, his then four-year-old daughter asked him to write her a song for his next record.“I thought it sure would be special if I could write her a song right now that we could dance toat her wedding someday,” he says. That’s exactly what he did. A tender look at the past,present, and future, the song will undoubtedly touch every parent and daughter who hears it.The title track is an accordion-fueled joy, buoyed by Watson’s delivery of life lessons courtesyof an old vaquero sitting alone at a bar. “Mariano’s Dream” and “Clear Isabel” are companionpieces, placed back-to-back to stunning cinematic effect. Plaintive instrumental “Mariano’sDream” kicks off the experience, haunting and sad as an acoustic guitar carries listenersthrough a lush Tex-Mex soundscape. The song then segues into “Clear Isabel,” and listenerssoon discover the Mariano named in the previous track is father to Isabel. A story of sacrificeand heartbreak, “Clear Isabel” imbues the souls who choose to cross a river in search ofsafety with the dignity and beauty they deserve. “It’s one of my favorite moments on therecord,” Watson says. “I feel like if I could play Guy Clark that song, he’d smile.”“They Don’t Make ‘Em Like They Used To” begins as warm nostalgia, and other comfortsbefore intensifying into no mere stroll down memory lane, but an increasingly indignant rant,capturing the hurt and anger of a country that’s currently reeling politically and socially. “Ithink it might be the best song I’ve ever written,” Watson says.Refusing to worry about charts or current trends, Watson hopes the main thing Vaqueroaccomplishes is bringing his growing legion of fans joy. And no matter what happens next, heis anchored and ready. “It doesn’t really matter whether I’m playing a dancehall in Texas or astadium tour around the world, I’m just me,” he says. “I won’t change. I’m just too rooted inwhat I believe in. When you’ve played for such a long time to nobody, now that there’ssomebody, you really don’t take that for granted.”
Venue Information:
Brenton Skating Plaza
520 Robert D. Ray Dr,
Des Moines, IA, 50309