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Dale Watson Interview

April 23, 2009


Dale Watson with Kathy Coleman

Dale Watson with Kathy Coleman

Kathy Coleman
I had the great good fortune to sit down with Dale Watson, singer, songwriter, musician, and all-around good guy, when he came through Phoenix this spring, to talk about his newest disc, Truckin' Sessions Volume Two, as well as music in general. Through it all, Dale proved himself a knowledgeable, sharp-witted, and eloquent fellow, with a tremendous knowledge of country music and its traditions (making me feel like a rank amateur, which I am by comparison).

I sometimes forget exactly how close the venue, the Rhythm Room, is to my house in Phoenix. I gave myself a little time so I wouldn't be late, having a horror of such, but leaving at quarter to seven got me there at ten minutes to seven, so I had a little time to wait, but not too long. Dale's tour bus, the Drag 'N' Fly, pulled up to the Rhythm Room just a few minutes later, with Dale's brother Larry at the wheel and Dale gave me a wave from the front windshield. A short time later, I was invited inside and Dale and I settled down to chat.

Kathy Coleman: All right. Let's jump right on the new disc. What made you decide to record another Truckin' Sessions?

Dale Watson: I've been trying to do it for a long time, you know, but other records got in the way; not really in the way, but just record companies – they are into doing, what, well, I did the first Truckin' Sessions, you know I told Hightone I wanted to do that, and they said no, they didn't want to do that, and so I just did it myself, and I'm glad I did because it's the most long-lived record I've got, and certainly the most critically acclaimed all over the world. Then when I was gonna do the next record for High End, they had some trouble with it because of the stock market stuff, so they said well, we don't wanna do any of your stuff right now, and I said well, I'm going to Europe, and a European label wants me to put out a record, so I'm gonna go ahead and do the Truckin' Sessions, I got enough to do it, you know, enough songs. So I went ahead and recorded it anyway, again, myself, and like I said, Europe was interested in the idea, again, 'cause they handled the Truckin' Sessions over there, and then Hyena asked to hear the record, and they said we wanna put that out, so. (Laughs)

Kathy Coleman: Awesome. I noticed on the song list there's some older ones, like--

Dale Watson: Yeah, I wanted to put – the reason I, that was part of the plan on doing Truckin' Sessions Two, was getting the, instead of all the truckin' songs I got that are spread out like "Truckstop in La Grange" was originally recorded on Blessed or Damned, and "Hey Driver" was on I think I Hate These Songs, and "Texas Boogie" was on Cheatin' Heart Attack, so all these, I wanted to re-record 'em, and put 'em on one disc.

Kathy Coleman: That was– 'Cause I was gonna ask, are they new recordings?

Dale Watson: Yeah, those are new recordings, yeah, 'cause I got Redd Volkeart on these. He was on "Jack's Truck Stop," the original of that, and I think "Hey Driver," but the other stuff he wasn't.

Kathy Coleman: Okay. Well, when you come up with songs for your Truckin' Sessions, did you ever consider recording some of the old classics? I've heard you do some of them in concert.

Dale Watson: I had thought about it, but it kinda defeats the purpose of me– 'cause there was, I remember someone sayin' that they were disappointed it didn't have some of the older classics on it, but you know they were done, they were done right, and they were the best versions of them songs, you know, "Lookin' At The World Through A Windshield" and "Girl on the Billboard," you just are not gonna get any better recordings. "Six Days On The Road," all that stuff is done perfectly. And these are originals and more contemporary to me and to people out there, you know, "Yankee Doodle Jean," "Truckin' Queen," and of course the newer stuff, "Drag N Fly" is about this bus. And so it's more contemporary, more personal than the old ones.

Kathy Coleman: You don't too often record covers.

Dale Watson: Not very often.

Kathy Coleman: You ever think about that, a collection of 'em, something like that?

Dale Watson: Yeah, I don't know if I – I might, but at this point it's– we got so many live albums where we've got some covers on there, there's no point, but yeah, I don't mind doing covers, I just like it to be the ones that I have something to offer, you know, the originals are so hard to beat. Not that you're tryin' to beat 'em, but you're trying to at least stand up beside it. It's harder to do covers, I think, than it is to do originals.

Kathy Coleman: Is it? Let's see. Speaking of your favorites, there, do you have any of your local peers you like especially to play with or listen to?

Dale Watson: Oh, sure. Yeah, yeah, sure. James Hand, Wayne Hancock; Amy LaVere; Hillbilly Casino, a great band; you know, Big Sandy, Waylon Payne, he's really great; let's see, I said Amy, also, you know, like Justin Trevino, and what's the girl? I just talked about doin' a show with her, I know her pretty well, I can't believe I'm–she's played a lot on XM as well, Amber Duke!

Kathy Coleman: When you tour you always make time to get to Europe. You got any favorite spots to play over there?

Dale Watson: Holland. Hands down. Yeah. I always joke that my second home town is Delft, Holland. Frank, that handles my website, he's a really good friend, he lives in Delft, and I just love Holland, period. Great food, the people, one-hundred-percent GET American roots music over there, and plus the country itself is very beautiful. It's a really fun place to go. We go all over, but that country stands out to me.

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