The title of Aaron Watson’s newest album, The Underdog, represents his 15-year career as an independent country music artist. Beginning his career in Texas circa 1999, Watson has slowly grown into one of the more popular acts on the independent country music circuit. While more popular artists such as Luke Bryan, Tim McGraw, Keith Urban, and Eric Church have embraced the evolution of country music, Watson has, for the most part, stayed out of the spotlight and held true to his traditional country sound. Nevertheless, Watson, an underdog when compared to these country music headliners, has produced an album that will likely elevate him to a status similar to that of Dierks Bentley. Like Watson, Bentley remained mainly under the radar until the release of his most recent album, Riser, this past summer.
Likely to the surprise of his Watson’s loyal fans, The Underdog begins to embrace country music’s new persona, and, because of this, will likely appeal to a much wider audience than Watson usually attracts. With this said, Watson very much preserves his traditional sound, a sound that provides listeners with one of the most authentic and complete country albums of the year on par with Dustin Lynch’s Where It’s At. Watson starts off with the banjo heavy track, “The Prayer”, which will likely draw comparisons to the sound of the late Johnny Cash. The most notable track on this album is “That Look”, an upbeat, heartfelt track detailing the seducing face of a loved one. While these tracks are bound to gain their own individual praise, the remaining tracks on the album are what make The Underdog great. From the upbeat and fun “Blame it on the Blues” to the heart wrenching “Bluebonnets”, Watson does it all and succeeds in inducing a full range of emotions in listeners for the one-hour run time of The Underdog.
Watson recently responded to questions regarding why he hadn’t adjusted his style towards contemporary country music saying, “As an artist, I just can’t be Luke Bryan. I love the guy, but I can’t sing those kinds of songs and I sure can’t wear those jeans.” Watson won’t have to as The Underdog is destined to garner plenty of praise and make him a household name.
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