Dale Watson

Whiskey or God – 2006 (Palo Duro)

Reviewed by Dawn Pomento

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It's easy to take for granted a musician like Dale Watson. For more than a decade he has delivered the goods to true believers hungry for solid, well-crafted country music. Maybe that's why the rumored threat that fans might lose him to a straight job and family makes the latest release that much sweeter.

Watson's recent ups and downs are chronicled in a new documentary, "Crazy Again." But those trials can also be heard, though more obliquely, on the latest CD.

The 14 new songs Watson penned range from good to truly great. Lyrics like "Whiskey or God is gonna bring me relief/Believin' or not/Bending my elbow or my knees" are destined to be covered by other singers - though few could lend the words the conviction Watson can. After all, he lived the confused, desperate, yet often wryly funny sentiments.

Now that Watson is trying to split his time between a music career in Austin and fatherhood in Baltimore, his tour dates will be less frequent. That makes the recorded sounds of this stand-up man more valuable. Watson deserves to see half the touring time return twice the recognition.