Having an abnormally warm day with temperatures reaching the 55-degree level only seemed right when welcoming the singing Texan to Michigan in the middle of January. Although still feeling brisk outside, that doesn’t seem to bother Aaron Watson or his band as they play inside to a warm crowd eager to have him return to West-Michigan’s premiere concert lounge, The Intersection.
Before Aaron takes the stage, singer-songwriter Adam Doleac warms the crowd with a short set. With Adam standing at center stage playing an acoustic guitar is joined on stage with Kyle Henson on keys and Spencer Waasdorp on lead guitar and background vocals.
Claiming to have driven all night to get to Grand Rapids early, Adam mentions of his playing in the front lounge of The Intersection on his last visit. Although more intimate and enjoyable, he much likes and prefers to be playing in the main showroom this visit with the bigger crowd.
As a songwriter for Sony Nashville, he gets to write and spend a lot of time with Chris Young who also has a publishing deal there. For tonight’s show, Adam asks the crowd to join him in singing “You” from the Chris Young library. At the conclusion, he jokes by thanking the crowd for their participation and states that the crowd sings the song better than Chris himself.
Adam sings a snippet of the hit single “Let Her Cry” from Darius Rucker’s rock band Hootie & The Blowfish. Adam uses the cover as a lead up to the song “Don’t” that he wrote that is now currently being sung by Darius Rucker and is being introduced as his current single.
As a way to say “Thank You” to his parents and realizing just how good they were to him while he was growing up, he wrote and now dedicates “Mom and Daddy’s Money”.
Before wrapping up his warm-up session with the crowd, he takes a minute to talk about how the song “Whiskey’s Fine” made him a “Highway Find” on the Sirius XM The Highway satellite radio channel. The crowd brings the song to life as they bellow loudly word for word as Adam concludes his show.
Now the time has come for this independent male artist from Abilene, Texas to take the bull by his horns and get the show started. Aaron Watson comes firing up on stage like a bull and rider being released out of the chute as he starts his set with “These Old Boots Have Roots” and “Freight Train”.
Showing off his family side, Aaron talks about his wife and how she wanted him to join her on this evening for an event back home. Upset that he was going to Michigan for the show, she has sent him photos of her dressed up for this event causing him to have second thoughts of leaving her behind. In return, he is asking the crowd to show support and love to him and his band so as to not think about what he is missing back home. In the meantime in Michigan, it is going to be a night where we all have a “Real Good Time”.
Panning the crowd for current and post-military personnel, Aaron salutes the troops with the song “Raise Your Bottle”.
Having a good family base, every now and then after being gone on the road for a while, Aaron’s parents or in-laws will take the four kids so that Aaron and his wife July can go off and play. One evening, Aaron asks his wife to get dressed up although they are not going out tonight. When she asks him where they are going he looks at her and says, “I am going to “Take You Home Tonight”.
Interacting with the crowd, they continue to shout out requests to him for songs that he claims will be played throughout the show. One request gets hollered back to him for him to sing at their wedding later this spring down in Texas. Not sure of his current calendar status for the date, he instead tells them he will sing them a song “Off the Record” tonight to honor them getting married this spring.
Continuing to text back and forth with his wife throughout the evening, he jokes with the crowd asking if he should ignore it because he is on stage now or respond to her. He takes a moment to respond back stating that it will cost him later if he doesn’t now. Aaron proceeds with the upbeat dance single “Wildfire” where the showroom floor becomes divided now for dancers to show off their fancy footwork as the show continues on.
Six years ago, Aaron and his wife Kimberly lost their daughter Julia. Dealing with the grief, Aaron met up with the late bull riding champion Lane Frost’s mother. As they talked, she claimed that her son “Lane was known throughout the land as a World Champion Bull Rider, but his biggest accomplishment was when he found Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior.” At that time it helped with the grieving process, so he sat down and wrote a song for Lane’s mom. The song is a cowboy’s lament for bull riders called “July In Cheyenne”.
As the crowd continues to holler out requests, Aaron jokes that he cannot sing two sad songs in a row and that he has a sensitive side to him. He jokes that one time his wife and him were riding in their truck back home, she looked over and harassed him about a tear while listening to Merle Haggard on the truck’s radio. As he threatened to stop the truck and let her walk back home, she gave him “That Look”.
After nine previous albums, in 2015 Aaron released The Underdog that became #1 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart and made Aaron the first independent male artist to debut at #1 with a self-released, distributed and promoted album. “That Look” was the debut single to the album.
Aaron next introduces his next single “Run Wild Horses” that will be hitting the airways soon.
As Aaron calls out to his band and introduces the fiddle player and lead guitarists and allows each to showcase their musicianship, he honors a request being hollered in from the crowd with “Barbed Wire Halo”. As the crowd cheers on and sings along, that band gets excited and plays a little louder as continue to feed off the crowd’s excitement throughout the evening’s performance.
At the song’s conclusion, Aaron picks back up where he left off with band introductions and let them each have fun showing off for the crowd. They soon gel together for the final song of the evening with the song “Reckless” before exiting off stage for another fine show to add to their memory books.
The title to Aaron’s latest album Vaquero comes from the original Spanish horseman that set the foundation for the North American cowboy, a solidarity figure. Aaron claims to put the cowboy back in country music. Although Aaron does not live out the life of a cowboy, he sure writes and sings about them as such.
Aaron Watson has proven to be a sample of that cowboy mold, a strong-willed independent individual with a never give up attitude.
Aaron Watson setlist:
- These Old Boots Have Roots
- Freight Train
- Real Good Time
- Raise Your Bottle
- That’s Why God Loves Cowboys
- Take You Home Tonight
- Off the Record
- Getaway Truck
- July In Cheyenne
- That Look
- Outta Style
- Run Wild Horses
- Barbed Wire Halo
Adam Doleac setlist: