Carryin' On (E1)
Reviewed by Jim Caligiuri, Fri., Aug. 20, 2010
Dale WatsonCarryin' On (E1)
Dale Watson's critic-proof. The local icon makes country music the way it was made in the 1960s and 1970s, with a hard-headedness you either appreciate or not. Carryin' On finds the Austin veteran recording with Nashville sessionistas that made some of the music he treasures most, including steel guitarist Lloyd Green, pianist Hargus "Pig" Robbins, and guitarist Pete Wade. Combined with the fact that he's cut down both on railing at the state of modern country and his beloved trucker anthems, it adds up to his most polished work ever. That leaves the songs, and though there are a couple of original chestnuts like the near-breathless workingman's ramble "I'll Show Ya" and the aging boomer's lament that gives the disc its title, Watson's recycling his own ideas with "Whatever" and "Your Love I'm Gonna Miss." With "You're Always on My Mind" and "Heart of Stone" he's not above stealing song titles. Carryin' On is admirable for the effort that went into it, but the new smooth Watson isn't quite as appealing as the one with the pedal to the metal and fire in his eyes.