Under the Influence (Ameripolitan / Red River Entertainment)
Reviewed by Jim Caligiuri, Fri., Oct. 21, 2016
A list of artists who've released an album with a similar title runs from Alan Jackson to Mike Ness. In Dale Watson's hands, it's not just an opportunity to record favorite covers and pump out something to sell at the merch table. These songs have been part of his set lists for years. With his Lone Stars, tunes including Waylon Jennings' "Lucille," Buck Owens' "Made in Japan," and Lefty Frizzell's "You're Humbuggin' Me" get a fresh coat of paint, sounding pleasingly similar to the originals. It's Watson's way of making sure they remain country. Readings of Doug Sahm's "I Don't Want to Come Home" and "Long Black Veil," made famous by Johnny Cash and Frizzell, are equally inventive and sincere. Watson's honeyed baritone continues confident yet never cocksure, further indication these songs will remain part of his bloodline.