Aaron Watson

Vaquero

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AllMusic Review by

Aaron Watson opens Vaquero -- his 11th set of original material, but his third since he started making waves on the Billboard charts -- with "Texas Lullaby," a salute to the Lone Star State he calls home. Watson is a proud Texan -- it's very rare to find a Texan who isn't -- but Vaquero navigates the territory between tradition and modernity, sounding strong and open, never making concessions to pop but never adhering to a calcified notion of country, either. Watson is straightforward but nimble, happy to play with familiar sounds -- Vaquero is filled with songs that recall everyone from George Jones to George Strait -- but it always swings back to the present. Often, this materializes through tales of commitment -- much of the album is about being in a long-term relationship -- and that, combined with his allegiance to old-fashioned music, conveys how Watson is devoted to building upon the past, and that is ultimately what gives Vaquero its kick: Aaron Watson is an old-fashioned singer/songwriter, but he applies his traditional values to the present, and that's what makes Vaquero seem fresh.

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