Country music’s ultimate lone star speaks out on today’s major label artists Photo by Mat Hayward/Getty Images
GEORGE, WA - JULY 31: Country singer Aaron Watson performs on the Next From Nashville stage during the Watershed Music Festival at Gorge Amphitheatre on July 31, 2016 in George, Washington. (Photo by Mat Hayward/Getty Images)

Aaron Watson has always stayed resolute when it comes to his brand of country music. Unlike some of his fellow artists, the Texas singer hasn’t wasted much time making music aimed squarely at country radio and the country music charts, even though his single, “Outta Style,” did make its way to the Top 10 in 2017.

“I wrote a three minute song in two minutes,” laughed Aaron during a recent interview with Rare Country before his Chicago show. “’Outta Style’ is what we have been doing in Texas for 20 years. I do think this is a significant moment. To be a ‘new artist’ 20 years later … we are just thankful. We really can’t predict the future. All I can do is get out there and write the best songs I can write and put on the best show I can.”

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And yes, that strategy has certainly been working for Aaron, and becomes that much more impressive considering that he doesn’t have a major label backing him.

“Major label artists have to worry about a lot of things,” Aaron said. “They have the stresses of having all these people at these major labels pushing them in a direction and, all of a sudden, everything gets very predictable. You will see these guys with two or three albums out and they will put out another album that sounds nothing like them, and now they need to sound like the other guy who has two No. 1 hits last year. They have a ton of things to deal with that I don’t have to deal with. I mean, no one is telling me what I can or can’t sing. This is what I do for a living. I’m not a phase or a flavor of the month.

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“I know I could probably write some songs that could take me straight to the top of the charts, especially years ago when I was younger,” Aaron continued. “If an artist on a major label told people that they were writing all of the songs on their album all by themselves, I think people would flip out on them. Now me, I came to all of my guys and told them it was important that I’m known as a songwriter and I’m going to write the entire album by myself. I really enjoy that. I get up early every morning, I get a cup of coffee, I write songs, I get kids off to school, I come back and I write and write, and that’s my passion. I love writing a song and I love it a million times more than playing it live. Writing is pure joy. It’s what I live for.”


Indeed, Aaron is determined to stay authentic, no matter what, just like his musical heroes once did.

“My heart has always belonged to those artists like Guy Clark and Robert Earl Keen and Waylon Jennings, and not their mainstream moments,” Aaron chuckled. “I’m thankful to have an audience that appreciates me. And I don’t even like to call them fans. They are family.”

Tricia Despres is a senior correspondent for Rare Country, based out of Chicago. Join the conversation on Twitter at @RareCountry. We would love to see y’all there.
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