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Aaron Watson

San Angelo – 2006 (Big Label)

Reviewed by Don Armstrong

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CDs by Aaron Watson

Amarillo, Texas product Aaron Watson is a cookie-cutter honky-tonk singer with a smooth sound and a hard twang. Despite the catch in his voice - you can almost see the arch in his eyebrow at times - the 13 songs here, 9 written by Watson, lack a real hook.

He throws in a few elements calculated to bring the cowboys a-runnin' - songs by Willie Nelson and Bruce Robison, guitar work by sessions wiz Lloyd Maines and Asleep at the Wheel's Ray Benson - but nothing terribly original, though. There is, for instance, a Waylon Jennings tribute song, "Except for Jessie." The most biting thing Watson comes up with to say about country music's original outlaw, however, is that "his hair was always long and messy" and, of course, the main message: that a woman tamed him. There would be no Waylon Jennings if that had been his pitch.

The best thing here is the Buddy Holly song "True Love Ways," on which Watson gives in to his tender, aching side. The worst is an accompanying DVD that's more promotional than musical. (830-626-8359)