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Dale Watson

Call Me Insane – 2015 (Red House/Ameripolitan)

Reviewed by Donald Teplyske

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CDs by Dale Watson

Dale Watson continually finds new ways to express old suspicions, judgments and wishes, but always stays comfortably within his self-coined Ameripolitan wheelhouse. Not that there is anything safe or staid about Watson's approach on "Call Me Insane."

Since signing with Red House a few years back, Watson has been on a true high; one didn't realize the elevation Watson was capable of achieving when surrounded by the right, supportive people.

Watson's take on Tony Joe and Leann White's "Mamas Don't Let Your Cowboys Grow Up to be Babies" is solid; Watson has no reason to shy away from a cover - recall his "The Little Darlin' Sessions" from a bit ago - although he is more likely to write an original in the style of his influences, from Red Simpson and Dick Curless' trucking songs to a Memphis - and Sun-inspired set, and entire albums that the Bakersfield bunch might have recorded.

"Jonesin' For Jones" is a fine nod toward George even as it apes "Why, Baby, Why" and should be popular. Finally, "Everybody's Somebody in Luchenbach, Texas" name checks the influential (at least, in song) community and therefore should connect with listeners: that the song is a fine little 'pull up a chair and sit a spell' tune is exactly the point.

"Crocodile Tears" is another Watson heartache classic - a slow boil of a song complete with recitation, and one suspects the fella is going to fall for her routine one more time. Similar territory is covered in "I'm Through Hurtin'" with the title track is remorseful rather than rancorous.

"Burden of the Cross" delves into personal territory without sentimentality or proselytizing - the burdens Watson continues to carry are tangible, and - in country tradition - shared with the listener.

Watson brings along capable musicians, and the result is a consistent presentation that cuts a wide swath across Watson country. Produced by Texas mainstay Lloyd Maines, "Call Me Insane" has a wonderfully, bright sound, even on the darkest numbers.

The converted do not need convincing; the unexposed simply need to listen. "Call Me Insane" is another great album from Dale Watson.