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Gene Watson

A Taste of the Truth

(Shanachie; US: 25 Aug 2009; UK: 21 Sep 2009)

Old-Fashioned Country Crooning

Gene Watson has a mellow, old-fashioned country voice that smoothly glides over the lyrics of love and loneliness in classic fashion. At 65 years old, Watson’s no longer a hit maker in these days where youth matters more than talent in mainstream county, but he’s just as good a singer as he was when he had top-10 records like “Fourteen Carat Mind”, “Nothing Sure Looked Good On You”, and “You’re Out Doing What I’m Here Doing Without” in the early ‘80s. His Texas drawl still knows how to linger on the points of the song where the yearning heart meets the regretful mind. Watson delivers the 11 songs on his latest disc, A Taste of the Truth, with the same command he’s always had. He especially knows how to put across a ballad, and his rendition of the heartrending “’Til a Better Memory Comes Along” rivals that of previous versions by Mark Chestnutt and Shelby Lynne in its quiet intensity. While this may be the album’s highlight, the other tracks are uniformly first rate, and he’s backed up by a top-notch band led by keyboardist Dirk Johnson and includes Aubrey Haynie on fiddle, Sonny Garish on steel guitar, as well as special guests like Alison Krauss and Rhonda Vincent.

Rating:

Steven Horowitz has a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Iowa, where he continues to teach a three-credit online course on "Rock and Roll in America". He has written for many different popular and academic publications including American Music, Paste and the Icon. Horowitz is a firm believer in Paul Goodman's neofunctional perspective on culture and that Sam Cooke was right, a change is gonna come.


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