Aaron Watson kicks off his latest with a high speed fiddle driven song that is perfect for two stepping at the local country hall on a summer Saturday night. The following track, Summertime Girl, would fit nicely on mainstream country next to a laid back Jake Owen song. These two songs represent the two distinct musical personas that Watson assumes on this album. He alternates between radio friendly country music and more traditional country music and somehow manages to make the 18 tracks meld together into a cohesive album.
For the most part, "Real Good Time" is an upbeat album, with songs like the humorous ode to camo lingerie Deer Blind (featuring Kevin Fowler and John Anderson) and the Waylon reverb driven Texas Boys (with Pat Green and Josh Abbott) keeping the pace steady. There is even a track that would please Jason Aldean fans; the tongue in cheek titled Hey Y'all (My Contribution to Ruining Country Music) mixes the rock and hip hop sounds that Aldean and friends have been topping the charts with. Watson lets channels his cowboy roots on the Chris LeDoux cover Cadillac Cowboy (with PBR legend Justin McBride) and the melancholy Lane Frost tribute July in Cheyenne. The album is jammed full of wonderful collaborations with Watson's friends including Elizabeth Cook and Willie Nelson. The latter is featured on the somber closing track, Honky Tonk Kid, which juxtaposes the high speed of the opener.
The album is occasionally lacking in sound quality, but overall "Real Good Time" is a great release from an independent artist. A few of these songs were released on previous albums, but that doesn't diminish this album as a whole. Sometimes artists gain regional popularity and struggle to make a splash outside their familiar area. Aaron Watson is not a household name in the country music scene, but he definitely deserves a listen outside of his core Texas fan base.