Home Editor's Picks Dale Watson Delivers Impressive Set At Off-Broadway

Dale Watson Delivers Impressive Set At Off-Broadway

by Brian Ledford

Veteran musician Dale Watson brought his self-defined version of “Ameripolitan” to Off-Broadway Tuesday night.

“Ameripolitan” is best described as a contemporary hybrid of Outlaw Country, Rockabilly, Honky Tonk and Western Swing and the genre has been building traction over the past ten years with the silver-haired Watson as the smiling leader of the movement.

Watson, who currently resides in Memphis and operates his “Hernando’s Hideaway” music joint, has strummed his trade in front of workaholic audiences over the last three decades.

With a catalog of originals in tow, alongside yesteryear covers, Watson presented a 25-song, 130-minute playful romp at the St. Louis fixture that he frequently visits.

Common for nightly Dale Watson gigs, the ensuing set list is never the same from town-to-town. This would certainly be the case Tuesday night and even with the unpredictability of song selection, the upper-echelon musicianship displayed by Watson and his backing trio – steel guitarist Don Pawlak, drummer Mike Bernal and upright bassist Chris Rhoades – still resulted in a seamless, polished performance.

Launching with “Honky Tonkers Don’t Cry,” Watson propelled the evening’s front half with staples “Carryin’ On This Way,” “Exit 109” and “Wine Don’t Lie” and never let off the pedal as the evening progressed.

The crowd-pleasing, sing-along “Lie When I Drink” kept the momentum rolling into the second hour, which was then followed by a pair of Elvis Presley covers (“Trouble” and “Suspicious Minds”) and punctuated by a solid version of his self-penned “Whiskey or God.”

His salute to influences Merle Haggard and George Jones was highlighted by the one-two punch of “Feelin’ Haggard” and “Jonesin’ for Jones” to much appreciation.

Down the stretch in the main portion, perennial favorites “My Baby Makes Me Gravy,” “Truck Stop in La Grange” and “Nashville Rash” put the exclamation point on a solid set that resulted in an audience response that craved more.

A three-song encore featuring “Truckin’ Man,” “That’s What I Like About Texas” and “Texas Boogie” secured the band checkered flags to the two-hour-plus performance.

With witty banter throughout the evening that included personal anecdotes, tongue-in-cheek humor and multiple renditions of the Lone Star Beer brand jingle, Watson made one feel that they were not attending a mere concert, but more accurately, a fun, toe-tappin’ affair that made for an enjoyable evening.

But back to his personalized brand, which is the primary focal point. Watson continues to show that “Ameripolitan” is an expression that is much needed in today’s tonal landscape and a future visit to one of his performances is a must-see for any music fan to rightfully experience it.

His trek continues this week with Wisconsin stops in Madison tonight, Milwaukee on Thursday and Manawa on Friday.

For more information, visit his official website.

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