Country music traditionalist and distinguished singer-songwriter Dale Watson is set to drop his latest album, The Memphians, on Friday, February 26 via BFD / Audium Nashville. The ten-track record will be the first instrumental-only compilation Watson has ever recorded.
After spending most of his life as a resident of Austin, Texas, in 2017, Watson decided to relocate to Memphis, Tennessee — the “Home of the Blues and the Birthplace of Rock ’n’ Roll.” Inspired by the rich history of the city, Watson’s new project features every genre Memphis is famous for. With tracks like “Agent Elvis,” “Deep Eddy,” and “Hernando’s Swang,” the record honors the late, revered Elvis Presley, the legendary guitarist Duane Eddy, and Hernando’s Hideaway, a live music venue near Beale Street where Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis both performed and Watson now owns.
All tracks were self-written by Watson, except four that he co-wrote with Mario Monterosso. Alongside Memphis-based musicians Danny Banks (drums), T. Jarrod Bonta (piano), Carl Caspersen (upright bass), Jim Spake (saxophone) and Monterosso (electric guitar), Watson recorded the project at his Memphis studio, Wat-Sun Studios, in just two days.
“I never tied the Memphis music influence to my guitar playing until I started this instrumental project,” says Watson. “It seems Scotty Moore, Luther Perkins, Roland Janes and Carl Perkins influenced me as much as Duane Eddy, Chet Atkins and Merle Travis. I just didn’t know it because their music had legendary singers on them that overshadowed them. Those singers, Elvis, Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins, and a host of other Sun Studio singers I call ‘Ameripolitan” artists today, because it is by definition — original music with prominent roots influences. So, with that realization, I put them all together and labeled us, The Memphians.”
Hailed for his steadfast devotion to traditional country music, Watson has earned affirmation as a “honky-tonk hero” (Rolling Stone), “honky tonk legend and purveyor of classic country” (Arizona Daily Sun), and the “silver pompadoured, baritone beltin’, Lone Star beer drinkin’, honky-tonk hellraiser” (The Austin Chronicle).
Never faltering from the traditional country music sound paved by Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings and George Jones, Watson created his own sub-genre dubbed Ameripolitan — a fusion of honky-tonk, outlaw country, traditional country, rockabilly and western swing.
To pre-order and pre-save The Memphians, click here. Upon its release, the album will be available everywhere music is bought and streamed.
The Memphians Track Listing:
1. Agent Elvis (Watson, Monterosso)
2. Dalynn Grace (Watson)
3. Alone Ranger (Watson, Monterosso)
4. Standin’ in Line (Watson)
5. Serene Lee (Watson)
6. Deep Eddy (Watson)
7. Hernando’s Swang (Watson, Monterosso)
8. Mi Scusi (Watson, Monterosso)
9. 2020 (Watson)
10. Remembering Gary (Watson)
Produced by Dale Watson
Engineered by Cris Burns
Recorded at Wat-Sun Studios in Memphis, Tennessee