The Truckin' Sessions Trilogy (Red River Entertainment)
Reviewed by Jim Caligiuri, Fri., Aug. 15, 2014
There's no musician alive equivalent to Dale Watson. Forty-two songs on three CDs about life as a trucker? Piece of cake. The genre flirted with the pop charts in the Sixties and Seventies, revving up fondly remembered twang tunes including "Six Days on the Road" and "Hello, I'm a Truck," yet Watson comes to the music honestly. His father drove a big rig, so the two logged some miles together during his childhood. Here, the first two collections – Volume 1 in 1998, and Volume 2 from 2009 – are joined by a third disc of new material. The appeal of such a proposition might seem ... limited, but Watson's prodigious talents as a singer, songwriter, guitarist, and band leader define long haul, so The Truckin' Sessions Trilogy makes for an unforgettable travelogue. The first two albums contain such crowd-pleasers as the white hot "Good Luck 'n' Good Truckin' Tonite" and "Texas Boogie," which travels the state with lighting speed, plus the brothel visit at "Exit 109" and a stop for kolaches at the "Truck Stop in La Grange." The latest volume fills out the trilogy in fine fashion and shows off Watson's genius for composing endearing character sketches with a twinkling sense of humor while mostly keeping within the lines of Bakersfield country. "It's Been a Long Truckin' Day" kicks off a road beat and some fancy staccato guitar. Elsewhere, Watson offers up some comic wordplay with "Phillip at the Station" and "Lugnut Larry." "We're Truckin' Along" features Amber Digby in what might be the first ever male-female truckin' duet, and Jason Roberts' fiddle makes for a simple yet winning addition throughout. Exhibit A of why Austin's Dale Watson remains one of a kind.