By Aaron Wagner
Aaron Watson is the type of artist that knows exactly who he is and the type of music he wants to make. You can’t say that about every artist. You can, but deep down you might not truly believe it 100%.
Watson’s latest album Red Bandana is a collection of 20 songs that are made for the modern cowboy. That’s who he reminds me of and the type of music he makes. He found a nice balance between his Texas country roots while taking a chance on a few others that are a bit more mainstream similar to his Top 10 single “Outta Style” from 2017.
He kicks off the album with “Ghost of Guy Clark” an song that gives off an old western town vibe of two guys alone in a deep conversation about living life to the fullest at a saloon. He sings about heartache in “Shake a Heartache” and “Burn Em Down” two songs that couldn’t be more different in style.
He does show off his more romantic side in a few songs as well. “Heartstrings,” “You On My Hands,” and “To Be The Moon” are those songs on this project. One of the better cuts on the album is a romantic ballad “Home Sweet Home” that has Watson using a popular phrase to describe the love of his life, rather than a physical place.
“Dark Horse” is another one that stands out. With the same title as a Devin Dawson song, Watson sings about a similar underdog message but in his version it’s more of a pep talk that has some Eminem style to it.
Watson has a few humorous songs on the album in “Kiss That Girl Goodbye” that has him telling a girl to ditch her loser of a boyfriend. “Trying Like The Devil” has him singing about failing up in a clever way lyrically. It has an old honkytonk type of sound to it.
Some of the more mainstream songs on the album are tracks that you could be hearing on radio in the coming years if he decides to release them to radio. “Old Friend” is in that vein as well as “Blood Brothers” which is a Dierks Bentley-like song about the bond between two friends and then there’s another song about living life to the fullest in “Live or Die Trying.”
Watson heads back to his Texas roots with a George Strait sounding song (and similar title) with “Am I Amarillo.”
Then there are the two songs about his relationship with his father that stand out. “Riding With Red” is a blue collar song that details the special relationship between a father and son and is immediately followed up by the title track “Red Bandana” that is more of a tribute to his father with “That cowboy has ran off into the sunset” as a heavy lyric that immediately jumps out to the listener.
Watson pays tribute to those that came before him in “Legends” as he mentions said legends in a variety of genres by name while he reminisces how he was impacted by country music and the artists that he listened to growing up in “Country Radio.”
20 songs is unheard of from artists nowadays. It’s a testament to his ability to write about any and everything. As you peel back the layers of Aaron Watson you learn that there is a ton of substance, emotion, and experiences that have shaped who he’s become as an artist.