Throughout his 40 years in the country music industry, Dale Watson has watched the genre undergo a series of revolutions. But as country music changed, Watson fought to keep his own material based in tradition.
Eventually, Watson got to the point where he felt he could no longer fit his musical style into the definition of country music, or any other genre for that matter. Along with Wisconsin promotor Phil Doran, Watson coined the term "Ameripolitan" to describe his music, which is a blend of Western swing, honky-tonk, rockabilly, and outlaw country.
Since Watson believes so strongly in sticking to tradition, it's no surprise that he has less than positive things to say about modern country. During a phone interview with the Phoenix New Times, Watson went so far as to say that he completely disowns today's country music.
"It's 100 percent lost its identity," Watson said. "[Country music] became something else. That's why I don’t call what I do country music anymore. I'm not a country artist by any means."
Watson said he believes those who grew up on classic country didn't realize that it was changing, and by the time they did, it was too late to do anything about it. He compared country music to a changing neighborhood, and how it's completely different from what the older generations were used to:
"It's like being in an old neighborhood and they come in and gentrify it, put in all these condos in place of all these fun places where you used to hang out. It's the same neighborhood, but it's totally changed. We just don’t belong in that neighborhood."
Although Watson no longer feels at home in country music, his Ameripolitan genre is flourishing. In 2014, Watson helped create the Ameripolitan Music Awards, which have honored classic country icons such as Ray Price, Charley Pride, and Red Simpson. Watson's own music is at the center of the genre, including his song "I Lie When I Drink," which you can watch him perform below.
What do you think of Watson's comments on current country music?
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