Tag Archives: Aaron Watson

My Top 13 Songs of 2017 So Far

Editor’s Note: I wrote “my” instead of “Country Exclusive’s” for a reason; this does not necessarily reflect the views of our entire site. Also, these are not, and I repeat, not, in any order. Finally, with the exception of one song which I felt it would be idiotic to leave out, these are all from stuff we have covered in some fashion, either by a full-length review or perhaps through a feature in our “Memorable Songs from Overlooked Albums” pieces. Normally, I would restrict this to stuff one of us has actually written about, but that would leave out one song which, like I say, it would be a glaring sin not to bring up here. So take all this into consideration, and feel free to leave your own lists of songs and thoughts about these in the comments below!

Aaron Watson: “Clear Isabel”

From Vaquero
The first song to really blow my mind in 2017, this is a great and timely story about Isabel and her father, Mariano, who flee to America to escape the cartels of Mexico. Isabel ends up married to the narrator of the song, but her father is deported and later gunned down. It’s an honest and heartbreaking look at immigration, not to mention a brilliant song. Even better with the instrumental prelude, “Mariano’s Dream.”

Jaime Wyatt: “Wishing Well”

From Felony Blues
Jaime Wyatt is probably the name I’m most excited about breaking out in 2017. She has a way of singing about hardship that still manages to put a smile on your face, and this is just a stellar song that gets better every time I hear it.

Natalie Hemby: “Cairo, IL”

This one comes off Puxico, which we didn’t review in full, but it was partly responsible for the “Memorable Songs” features because this track about the lonely, forgotten river town of Cairo, Illinois, is one of the best songs of the year and should by no means be overlooked.

Jason Eady: “Barabbas”

From Jason Eady’s self-titled album
Purely from a songwriting standpoint, this has to be the cleverest thing to come out this year, telling us the story of the man freed by the crucifixion of Jesus, yet never mentioning Jesus or religion, and instead allowing the song to be a timeless track for everyone, although connecting even more deeply with those of faith.

Angaleena Presley: “Dreams Don’t Come True

From Wrangled
This just blew me away on the first listen; who’s going to tell you, especially at the beginning of their record, that look, dreams don’t come true, and don’t believe anyone who says otherwise? But it’s Angaleena Presley’s reality, and credit her for confronting it head-on to deliver us something so powerfully painful and honest.

Angaleena Presley: “Wrangled”

Also from Wrangled
Angaleena Presley has the distinction of being the only one on the list with two entries, but this song is equally deserving. From the wonderful melody to the thought-provoking lyrics about being “wrangled” by her life and husband, this song stands out just as much as “Dreams Don’t Come True.”

Brad Paisley: “Gold All Over the Ground”

From Love and War
What, a mainstream name like Brad Paisley? Yes, that’s what I said. This is Paisley’s musical adaptation of a poem composed by Johnny Cash in the 1960’s, and they don’t make love songs like this anymore. Between the poetry of Cash and the arrangement of Paisley, it has definitely earned its place among the best songs so far in 2017.

Colter Wall: “Kate McCannon

From Colter Wall’s self-titled album
There were many outstanding songs on Colter Wall’s debut record, I just picked the one that shined a tiny bit brighter than the rest.

Chris Stapleton: “Either Way”

From From a Room, Volume 1
I didn’t always think Chris Stapleton showed emotion on his new album–sometimes he just belted songs, and they lost a little of the passion. But this is one moment where he absolutely killed it, and this version might be better than the original LeeAnn Womack version.

The Steel Woods: “Straw in the Wind”

From Straw in the Wind
What a dark, ominous tale–this one comes from one of our collaborative reviews, and Brianna and I both agreed that this story of a town where strangers “disappear like straw in the wind” is a standout of the record.

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit: “If we Were Vampires”

Yeah, here’s the one I didn’t review, but this is one of the best songs of Isbell’s career, and when I said they don’t make love songs like that anymore about Paisley’s, I guess Isbell proved me wrong. He mentions all the details he loves about his wife, and more than that, he makes you think of death as a gift because it allows you to be a better lover and make the moments last. What a beautiful and morbid picture of love; I’ve never been sad, happy, and scared while listening to a love song before, but that’s what Jason Isbell does here.

Kasey Chambers: “Jonestown

From Dragonfly
The standout of Chambers’ recent double album, this one deals with hardship and discrimination and tells a great story. Probably the most underrated and least known one on the list.

Trisha Yearwood: “Maggie’s Dream”

This one is from the Gentle Giants album, and like I said before when I mentioned this song, I don’t care that it’s a cover, it’s still one of the best songs of the year. Trisha Yearwood delivered a better rendition of an already great song, and she’s earned her place on this list.

Honorable Mentions

  • Jason Eady: “Black Jesus”
  • John Moreland: “Love is Not an Answer”
  • Lauren Alaina: “Same Day, Different Bottle”
  • Zac Brown Band: “All the Best”
  • Kelleigh Bannen: “Church clothes”
  • Rhiannon Giddens: “Better Get it Right the First Time”
  • Sam Outlaw: “Everyone’s Looking For Home”

Album Review – Vaquero by Aaron Watson

Rating: 6/10

Aaron Watson is one of those names I heard about in Texas country, but always forgot to look up. When Megan approached me about reviewing this album, I figured that now was as good a time as any to check out his music. Therefore, when I sat down to listen to Vaquero, I wasn’t sure quite what to expect.
This album has great instrumentation. I realized that right off the bat when “Texas Lullaby” started playing with some quite well-done accordion. Not all the songs feature this instrument, but I love it wherever it is played. There is fiddle and steel guitar all throughout this album, so a traditional country fan listening to this will not be disappointed anywhere instrumentation-wise. I will say, though, that there are a few songs where the instruments needlessly extend things, but that’s just my personal opinion.
For me, it’s the lyrics that bring this album down. Not on every song, but there are many times throughout this album where words and phrases are repeated, and the same subject matter is approached in three different songs. It began to get tiring after a while.
This is not to say that the album is bad. The aforementioned “Texas Lullaby” is a great opening song. Granted, the references to Texas did get a bit over-the-top for my taste, but the song itself is good. It tells the story of a soldier from Texas(whom they called Texas), and how he loved his home state. He fell in love with a girl, and all he wanted to do was come home from the war, live his life in Texas, and not have anyone mourn for him when he died and was buried in Texas. I like it quite a lot.
After this song is where things take a turn. “Take You Home Tonight” is about a man just wanting to spend some quality time at home with the woman he loves. “These Old Boots Have Roots” talks about how the man in the song has deep ties to his town. It would have been much better had the phrase “these old boots have roots” not been repeated so much. Plus, the song just seems a bit haphazardly put together with lots of references made, but nothing being followed through. “Be My Girl Tonight” is about wanting to break down barriers between a couple by spending some time being physically intimate. Personally, I think this is a bit too close to the theme of “Take You Home Tonight”, although the former is about getting back to a good place in the relationship. The latter is more of a feel-good song. “They Don’t Make em Like They Used To” is, of course, a nostalgic song. It discusses how the world has changed over time, and wonders if people of the future will say the same about people of our time.
“Vaquero” is one of my favorites off of this album. In this song, a Mexican cowboy tells the main character stories about his life in exchange for shots of tequila. I really like the instrumentation of this song, especially since it is one of the ones that featured an accordion. “Outta Style” is a love song about two people in love still feeling the same after many years. “Run Wild Horses” is yet another love song that is about the passion the main character of the song feels for his partner. This makes three different songs in the first half of the album that are all about physical passion in some form, so by this point, it gets a bit old.
The instrumental prelude of “Mariano’s Dream” follows “Run Wild Horses.” Mariano is the father of the girl the next song, “Clear Isabel”, focuses on. “Clear Isabel” is my favorite song off of this album, I think. It is a very timely song about Isabel and her father trying to escape the cartels of Mexico, whom Mariano had got on the wrong side of as he was a lawman. To escape them, the two flee to America where they work for the parents of the main character of the song. Isabel ends up married to him, while Mariano gets deported. They receive a green card for Mariano, but it comes two years too late because Mariano had gotten shot. I have a huge weakness for story songs, and this is a great example of one.
“Big Love in a Small Town” celebrates the fact that the main character found love and it is in his tiny hometown. It may be behind the times to some, but to him, that’s a good thing. I really like “One Two Step at a Time”. It has great honkytonk traditional instrumentation, and the lyrics focus on a girl who isn’t into anything fancy. She just wants some homemade tamales, a Texas bar, and a two step. “Amen Amigo” is a bit forgettable. It is about a man just wanting to go back to the days when he, his friends, and his girl went down to Mexico and partied all night. “The Arrow” isn’t a bad song, but it is very vague. It’s a song in which the singer gives advice about keeping to your dreams and hopes, and not letting anything change you. While those themes are great, there is no story behind it, which makes me not connect to the song emotionally. “Rolling Stone” tells the tale of a singer who loves his wife, but can’t stay home. He has to be out on the road, chasing his dreams of being a musician. However, he always thinks of her. This is a good song for someone like Aaron Watson to sing. The final song “Diamonds & Daughters” tells of a father’s love for his daughter, and how he’d always be there for her even after she gets married. Although she is all grown up, she’s still his little girl. I quite like this one.
Overall, this is not a bad album. It is very long at 16 songs, and many of these tracks are overextended with instrumental parts, or repeated choruses. If even a few of these songs had been taken away, I think it would have made for a better album as a whole. However, there are some really good songs here, too. As I said, “Clear Isabel”, “Vaquero”, and “Diamonds & Daughters” are quite good. If you’re looking for music with lots of fiddle, steel guitar, and even some accordion, this album has all of it. With all that in mind, it’s not something I love but I don’t regret listening to it, either.

Buy the album on Amazon

Texas Music From Oklahoma: A Look at the Texas Music Chart (October 19th)

Texas Music Chart

1. Randy Rogers & Wade Bowen–“Lady Bug” (up 2)
2. Bart Crow–“Life Comes at You Fast”
3. Curtis Grimes–“Smile That Smile” (up 1)
4. Casey Donahew Band–“Loser” (up 1)
5. Mike Ryan–“Girls I Date” (up 2)
6. Kevin Fowler & Deryl Dodd–“Damn This Ol’ Honky Tonk Dream” (down 5)
7. The Statesboro Revue–“Undone” (down 1)
8. TJ Broscoff–“Phone Calls” (up 1)
9. Josh Grider–“You Dream I’ll Drive” (up 2)
10. Stoney LaRue–“Easy She Comes” (up 3)
11. Roger Creager & Cody Johnson–“If You Had to Choose” (up 4)
12. Jon Wolfe–“Don’t It Feel Good” (up 7)
13. Mario Flores–“Beer Time” (up 3)
14. Uncle Lucius–“Don’t Own the Right”
15. Saints Eleven–“I Don’t” (up 3)
16. Reckless Kelly–“Real Cool Hand” (down 8)
17. Turnpike Troubadours–“Down Here” (down 7)
18. Zane Williams–“She Is” (up 2)
19. JB and the Moonshine Band–“Shotgun, Rifle, and a .45” (down 2)
20. Chance Anderson Band–“245 Miles” (up 1)
21. Jason James–“I’ve Been Drinkin’ More” (up 1)
22. William Clark Green–“Ringling Road” (up 5)
23. Josh Ward–“Whiskey & Whitley” (up 16)
24. Jason Boland & The Stragglers–“Holy Relic Sale” (up 6)
25. Dalton Domino–“Jesus & Handbags”
26. Luke Robinson–“Roses on the Radio” (up 3)
27. Green River Ordinance–“Red Fire Night” (up 13)
28. Miles Williams–“Teasin’ Me” (down 16) [biggest loser]
29. Casey Berry–“Blood of the Lamb” (up 2)
30. Cameran Nelson–“Nothing’s Got Nothin'” (up 18) [biggest gainer]
31. Bri Bagwell–“My Boots” (up 2)
32. Ray Johnston Band–“Small Town Square”
33. American Aquarium–“Losing Side of Twenty-Five” (up 3)
34. The Damn Quails–“Just a Little While”
35. Cody Jinks–“Loud and Heavy” (up 2)
36. Micky & the Motorcars–“Tonight we Ride” (down 1)
37. Pat Green–“While I Was Away” (down 11)
38. Cody Joe Hodges–“One More Drink” (up 4)
39. Paul Thorn–“Everybody Needs Somebody” (down 1)
40. Josh Abbott Band–“Amnesia” (up 3)
41. Jason Cassidy–“Rest of Forever” (up 4)
42. Aaron Watson–“Getaway Truck” (entering top 50)
43. Blue Water Highway Band–“Medicine Man” (up 4)
44. Kaleb McIntire–“Ozark Mountain Stomp” (down 16)
45. Breelan Angel–“She Made Your Bed” (up 1)
46. Tori Martin–“Woman Up” (down 5)
47. Prophets and Outlaws–“Country Music Gold” (entering top 50)
48. Parker McCollum–“High Above the Water” (up 1)
49. Folk Family Revival–“I Drew a Line” (entering top 50)
50. Zach Coffey–“Love Will Lead me Back to You” (re-entering top 50)

  • New #1: “Lady Bug”
  • next week’s #1 prediction: “Life Comes at You Fast”
  • Aaron Watson is back on the charts with “Get Away Truck,” entering at #42

Source: Texas Music Chart

Texas Music From Oklahoma: A Look at the Texas Music Chart (August 24th)

Texas Music Chart

1. Wade Bowen–“Sun Shines on a Dreamer” (fourth week at No. 1)
2. Pat Green–“While I Was Away”
3. Josh Ward–“Highway”
4. Cody Canada and the Departed–“Easy” (up 1)
5. Granger Smith–“Back Road Song” (up 1)
6. Matt Kimbrow–“Livin’ the Good Life” (up 1)
7. Cory Morrow–“Old With You” (up 2)
8. Rich O’Toole–“Talk About the Weather” (down 4)
9. Turnpike Troubadours–“Down Here” (up 1)
10. Whiskey Myers–“Shelter From the Rain” (up 2)
11. Kyle Park–“What Goes Around Comes Around”
12. Reckless Kelly–“Real Cool Hand” (up 4)
13. Bart Crow–“Life Comes at You Fast”
14. Prophets and Outlaws–“Texas Home” (up 1)
15. Curtis Grimes–“Smile That Smile” (up 3)
16. Kevin Fowler & Deryl Dodd–“Damn This Ol’ Honky Tonk Dream” (up 7)
17. Aaron Watson–“Freight Train” (down 9)
18. JB and the Moonshine Band–“Shotgun, Rifle, and a .45” (up 2)
19. Sam Riggs–“Long Shot” (down 5)
20. Stoney LaRue–“Easy She Comes” (up 4)
21. The Statesboro Revue–“Undone” (up 7)
22. Uncle Lucius–“Don’t Own the Right” (down 1)
23. William Clark Green–“Sticks and Stones” (down 6)
24. Miles Williams–“Teasin’ Me” (up 1)
25. Mike Ryan–“Girls I Date” (up 10)
26. Aaron Einhouse–“I Could Fall”
27. Sundance Head–“Darlin’ Don’t Go” (down 5)
28. Scott Taylor Band–“By Now” (up 5)
29. Josh Grider–“You Dream I’ll Drive” (up 1)
30. Tori Martin–“Woman Up” (down 1)
31. TJ Broscof–“Phone Calls” (up 9)
32. Matt Hillyer–“If These Old Bones Could Talk” (down 13)
33. Randy Rogers & Wade Bowen–“Lady Bug” (up 16) [biggest gainer]
34. Chance Anderson Band–“245 Miles” (up 5)
35. Saints Eleven–“I Don’t” (up 1)
36. Caleb McIntire–“Ozark Mountain Stomp” (up 2)
37. Callahan Divide–“Happy” (up 7)
38. Kacey Donahue Band–“Loser” (entering top 50)
39. Adrian Johnston–“Avalanche” (down 8)
40. Judson Cole Band–“Time to Run” (down 3)
41. Mario Flores–“Beer Time” (entering top 50)
42. Dalton Domino–Jesus & Handbags” (up 5)
43. Jason James–“I’ve Been Drinkin’ More” (up 2)
44. Thom Shepherd–“Little Miss Everything” (down 3)
45. Luke Robinson–“Roses on the Radio” (down 2)
46. Jeremy Steding–“Love Love Love” (down 4)
47. Zane Williams–“She Is” (entering top 50)
48. Adam Fears–“Golden Gravel Road” (down 16) [biggest loser]
49. Cody Jinks–“Loud and Heavy” (entering top 50)
50. American Aquarium–“Losing Side of Twenty-Five” (down 2)

  • Wade Bowen remains at the top for another week
  • this is the first of the four weeks that “Sun Shines on a Dreamer” has decreased in spins
  • next week’s No. 1 prediction: “While I Was Away

Source: Texas Music Chart

Texas Music From South Dakota: A Look at the Texas Music Chart (August 17th)

You may notice the top of this post says “South Dakota” and not “Oklahoma.” I have been and am still traveling and will probably post less this week. I should be back to frequent posts by Friday.

Texas Music Chart

1. Wade Bowen–“Sun Shines on a Dreamer” (third week at No. 1)
2. Pat Green–“While I Was Away” (up 1)
3. Josh Ward–“Highway” (down 1)
4. Rich O’Toole–“Talk About the Weather”
5. Cody Canada and the Departed–“Easy” (up 1)
6. Granger Smith–“Back Road Song” (up 1)
7. Matt Kimbrow–“Livin’ the Good Life” (up 2)
8. Aaron Watson–“Freight Train” (down 3)
9. Cory Morrow–“Old With You” (up 2)
10. Turnpike Troubadours–“Down Here” (up 4)
11. Kyle Park–“What Goes Around Comes Around” (up 2)
12. Whiskey Myers–“Shelter From the Rain”
13. Bart Crow–“Life Comes at You Fast” (up 3)
14. Prophets and Outlaws–“Texas Home” (up 1)
15. Sam Riggs–“Long Shot” (down 5)
16. Reckless Kelly–“Real Cool Hand” (up 1)
17. William Clark Green–“Sticks and Stones” (down 9)
18. Curtis Grimes–“Smile That Smile” (up 1)
19. JB and the Moonshine Band–“Shotgun, Rifle, and a .45” (up 2)
20. Matt Hillyer–“If These Old Bones Could Talk” (down 2)
21. Sundance Head–“Darlin’ Don’t Go” (up 2)
22. Kevin Fowler & Deryl Dodd–“Damn This ol’ Honky Tonk Dream” (up 15) [biggest gainer]
23. Uncle Lucius–“Don’t Own the Right” (down 1)
24. Miles Williams–“Teasin’ Me” (up 3)
25. Stoney LaRue–“Easy She Comes” (up 3)
26. Aaron Einhouse–“I Could Fall” (down 2)
27. The Statesboro Revue–“Undone” (up 4)
28. Tori Martin–“Woman Up” (up 6)
29. James Lann–“Let it Rain” (down 9)
30. Adam Fears–“Golden Gravel Road”
31. Josh Grider–“You Dream I’ll Drive” (up 1)
32. Scott Taylor Band–“By Now” (down 3)
33. Adrian Johnston–“Avalanche” (down 7)
34. Mike Ryan–“Girls I Date” (up 5)
35. Judson Cole Band–“Time To Run” (up 3)
36. Caleb McIntire–“Ozark Mountain Stomp”
37. Chance Anderson Band–“245 Miles” (up 5)
38. Saints Eleven–“I Don’t” (up 2)
39. Asleep at the Weel featuring Randy Rogers, Reckless Kelly, and Shooter Jennings–“Bob Wills is Still the King” (down 14) [biggest loser]
40. TJ Broscof–“Phone Calls” (up 4)
41. Jeremy Steding–“Love Love Love” (up 2)
42. Thom Shepherd–“Little Miss Everything” (down 1)
43. Luke Robinson–“Roses on the Radio” (up 5)
44. Callahan Divide–“Happy” (up 1)
45. Jason James–“I’ve Been Drinkin’ More” (entering top 50)
46. Cody Joe Hodges–“One More Drink”
47. American Aquarium–“Losing Side of Twenty-five” (entering top 50)
48. Randy Rogers & Wade Bowen–“Ladybug” (entering top 50)
49. Paul Thorn–“Everybody Needs Somebody” (down 2)
50. Dalton Domino–“Jesus & Handbags”

  • Wade Bowen remains at the top for a third week
  • next week’s No. 1 prediction: “While I Was Away”
  • Turnpike Troubadours have now reached the top ten in six weeks

Source: Texas Music Chart