Reviewed by Darcie Stevens, Fri., April 7, 2006
Whiskey or God (Palo Duro)
Austin's favorite honky-tonker, Dale Watson, is becoming Dwight Yoakam. The two denim-wearing country outlaws have always shared a love of Bakersfield, Buck, and Elvis, but Watson's 11th full-length mirrors some of Yoakam's best hits to a scary T. Opener "Sit and Drink and Cry" is a familiar version of the latter's "It Only Hurts When I Cry." The title track veers a little more Strait, but "I Ain't Been Right, Since I've Been Left" zydecos out Yoakam's "Sorry You Asked?" Not that this is a bad thing. Watson and Yoakam are cousins left alone by Nashville execs as they hold aloft the torch of country long-gone. "I Don't Feel Too Lucky Today," "No Help Wanted," and playful romp "Truckin' Queen (I Got My Night Gown On ...)" the story of a transvestite trucker in Oklahoma retain Watson's grit, growl, and humor. If it weren't for the infuriatingly ridiculous "38 21 34" (yeah, right), and the generic "It Hurts So Good," Whiskey or God might rival Watson's previous catalog high, 2004's Dreamland. Then again, if the closing party on Western swing hit "Heeah!!" also the original album title came through on the rest of the tracks, Watson could trade Yoakam's white Stetson for the leather we love.