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Dale Watson

Carryin' On – 2010 (E1)

Reviewed by Greg Yost

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CDs by Dale Watson

Although he's best known as a country traditionalist and the antithesis of the contemporary country music created in Nashville, Dale Watson ventured from Texas to Music City to record his latest offering and in doing so created one of the finer studio albums of his career.

The 13 songs on "Carryin' On" shed the rough and honky tonk-ready sounds of previous studio recordings and replace them with a more polished production that nicely complements Watson's rich and memorable baritone. To help give the album its smooth sound, Watson, who wrote and produced, recruited renowned Nashville session players including Lloyd Green (steel guitar), Hargus "Pig" Robbins (piano) and Pete Wade (guitar) to back him.

The natural chemistry between Watson and the hired talent is evident throughout, especially on the light and breezy love song Flowers in Your Hair, the catchy mid-tempo Whatever and Hey Brown Bottle, a twangy ode to liquid courage.

Longtime Watson fans will already be familiar with some of "Carryin' On's" best moments. A previous studio recording of Your Love I'm Gonna Miss is found on his "Every Song I Write is For You" album while Ain't That Livin', Heart of Stone, and How to Break Your Own Heart were all included on Watson's raw and inspired 2000 concert recording "Live in London...England!"

"Carryin' On" clearly demonstrates that Watson was influenced and inspired by the country artists he heard on the radio in the '60s and '70s and the fact that any of these songs could easily stand beside those classic recordings is the truest testament to the quality of this album.