Aaron Watson

Aaron Watson (9:30 PM)

Ryan Beaver (8:30 PM)

Wed, April 5, 2017

8:00 pm

Adv tix $16.00 / DOS tix $18.00

This event is all ages

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Aaron Watson - (Set time: 9:30 PM)
Aaron Watson
Vaquero


Aaron Watson isn’t interested in what someone else thinks he should do. But instead of
getting lonely as he sidesteps expectations, he’s gaining followers––hundreds of thousands
of them. Delivered with a warm smile and fueled by a wild spirit, Watson’s rebellion echoes
the land that helped make him.

Watson remains strikingly similar to the people that still dot his native West Texas. They’re a
rugged people, proud of home but humble and hardworking, the first to help a neighbor but
also fiercely independent. And Watson is unquestionably one of them.

“I’ve always considered myself an anti-rock star,” Watson says, his drawl cracking slightly as
he grins. “People don’t like me because I’m a rock star. People like me because I’m just like
them.”

Throughout his 17-year career that spans a dozen albums and more than 2,500 shows
throughout the U.S. and Europe, 39-year-old Watson has stubbornly and sincerely identified
with the everyman––even as he’s proven to be the exception to the rule.

The latest evidence of Watson’s homespun singularity is Vaquero, an ambitious 16-song set
of character-driven storytelling, level-headed cultural commentary, and love songs for grown-
ups that promise to further solidify his status as one of today’s finest torch-bearers of real
country music.

Vaquero is the follow-up to 2015’s The Underdog, an acclaimed collection that also made
history. Watson was sitting at his kitchen table as his wife Kim scrambled eggs when he got
the call: The Underdog had debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Country Albums Chart. It was
the first time an independent, male country artist had ever outsold majors to premiere at the
top spot. “We started jumping around and squealing like kids,” he says. “It was a beautiful
moment because I got to share it with the girl who believed in me when I was broke and
playing some pawnshop guitar. It is something I’ll never forget.” That momentous instant also
arrived with a built-in challenge. “Once we dried the tears of joy, it hit me,” Watson says. “I
had my work cut out for me for my next album.”

Determined, Watson committed to waking up every morning before the sun rose to write
songs on that same old pawnshop guitar he scored 20 years ago. “I bet you I couldn’t get $50
for that guitar,” he says. “But it means the world to me.” He penned songs in the back of a
bus on the highway, too, as the band spent the last two years playing more than 35 states
and six countries.

The result is Vaquero, a bold album that confidently draws from Texas’ storied musical
melting pot: dancehall shuffles, dustbowl narratives, Tejano, and more fill the record.

In writing the new album, Watson felt especially drawn to the idea of the vaquero, the original
Spanish horseman that set the foundation for the North American cowboy, a solitary figure


with a legendary work ethic. Watson is a modern-day vaquero––he just gets up at 5 a.m. to
wrangle songs instead of cattle. And while he won’t deny the pressure he felt following his
last album’s success, outside barometers can’t compel him to change who he is or what he
writes. Watson is Watson, chart-topping record or not.

“This is the first album I’ve ever made where if it’s the last album I ever make, I could be
content with that,” Watson says of Vaquero.

One listen and it’s easy to understand why. Album opener “Texas Lullaby” pays lilting
homage both to home and to the bravery of the young heroes fighting wars. Deep
connections to place and family course throughout the record. Sing-along “These Old Boots
Have Roots” celebrates new love by offering promises grounded in the honor and grace of
past generations. A fiddle accents Watson’s lines playfully then escalates to a hopeful roar.

Romance is a central theme of the album, but Watson isn’t interested in adding to the steady
stream of hook-up anthems coming out of Music Row. Watson’s love songs are celebrations
of monogamy and the bonds that only time, mutual respect, and persistence can build. The
swinging, fiddle-soaked “Take You Home Tonight” anticipates a steamy night in, while “Run
Wild Horses” is a passionate ode to lovemaking featuring a standout vocal performance from
Watson, whose laid-back croon lets loose and soars. Infectious first single “Outta Style” and
shuffling “Be My Girl Tonight” both praise staying power and explore how to protect it.

Watson revels in another kind of love on the album closer, “Diamonds & Daughters.” Two
years ago, his then four-year-old daughter asked him to write her a song for his next record.
“I thought it sure would be special if I could write her a song right now that we could dance to
at her wedding someday,” he says. That’s exactly what he did. A tender look at the past,
present, and future, the song will undoubtedly touch every parent and daughter who hears it.

The title track is an accordion-fueled joy, buoyed by Watson’s delivery of life lessons courtesy
of an old vaquero sitting alone at a bar. “Mariano’s Dream” and “Clear Isabel” are companion
pieces, placed back-to-back to stunning cinematic effect. Plaintive instrumental “Mariano’s
Dream” kicks off the experience, haunting and sad as an acoustic guitar carries listeners
through a lush Tex-Mex soundscape. The song then segues into “Clear Isabel,” and listeners
soon discover the Mariano named in the previous track is father to Isabel. A story of sacrifice
and heartbreak, “Clear Isabel” imbues the souls who choose to cross a river in search of
safety with the dignity and beauty they deserve. “It’s one of my favorite moments on the
record,” Watson says. “I feel like if I could play Guy Clark that song, he’d smile.”

“They Don’t Make ‘Em Like They Used To” begins as warm nostalgia, and other comforts
before intensifying into no mere stroll down memory lane, but an increasingly indignant rant,
capturing the hurt and anger of a country that’s currently reeling politically and socially. “I
think it might be the best song I’ve ever written,” Watson says.

Refusing to worry about charts or current trends, Watson hopes the main thing Vaquero
accomplishes is bringing his growing legion of fans joy. And no matter what happens next, he
is anchored and ready. “It doesn’t really matter whether I’m playing a dancehall in Texas or a
stadium tour around the world, I’m just me,” he says. “I won’t change. I’m just too rooted in
what I believe in. When you’ve played for such a long time to nobody, now that there’s
somebody, you really don’t take that for granted.”
Ryan Beaver - (Set time: 8:30 PM)
Ryan Beaver
“This album is titled Rx because these songs are like medicine to me,” Ryan Beaver says of his consistently compelling new release. “Making this record was so much fun, and so therapeutic. These songs serve as a prescription for getting excited about music and life. And if they’re like medicine for me, maybe they will be for the listeners.”

Indeed, the 12-song set, the Texas-bred, Nashville-based singer-songwriter’s third longplayer, offers a potent mix of haunting emotional depth and resonant melodic craft. His insightful, infectious compositions and deeply expressive voice honor the artist’s deep country roots, while transcending the genre’s stylistic boundaries to incorporate a widescreen sense of drama that’s anchored by his lifelong love for raw, gritty rock ‘n’ roll.

The resulting album, which the artist co-produced with longtime compadres Jeremy Spillman and Ryan Tyndell, makes it abundantly clear why Ryan Beaver has already been widely acclaimed as an artist to watch. Rolling Stone recently named him one of “10 New Country Artists You Need to Know,” and he’s received public acclaim from the likes of Miranda Lambert, Ashley Monroe, Maren Morris, Kacey Musgraves and Lee Ann Womack, with whom he’s toured as an opening act.

The surging, anthem “Dark,” Rx’s opening track and emotional centerpiece, makes it clear why Beaver’s work has generated so much excitement. A startlingly direct declaration of emotional perseverance, it’s a powerful anthem of hope and survival in the face of loss and disappointment. A comparable level of emotional gravity powers such memorable tracks as “Rum & Roses,” “Habit,” “When This World Ends” and the stirring album-closer “If I Had A Horse.” The artist reveals a more humorous attitude on “Fast” and “Vegas,” and pays tribute to one of his creative role models with “Kristofferson,” which he prefaces with a section of Kris Kristofferson’s own “Jesus Was A Capricorn.”

“This is my third album, but in a lot of ways it feels like it’s my first,” Ryan states, adding, “I feel like I’ve reached the point where I know what a good song is, and I have a clear vision of what I want to accomplish.”

Ryan Beaver’s forthright, personally-charged songwriting reflects the lessons learned over a lifelong creative journey. Growing up in the small Texas town of Emory, he began writing songs early in life, and began performing his compositions in local venues when he was just 17.

“Music opened up another world for me,” Ryan recalls. “I played in bands, on drums and guitar and piano, but I could never shake the songwriting thing. I didn’t sing for awhile, because I was kind of shy as a teenager, but I always found comfort in being able to write a song. Writing songs was my way of getting the world to make sense.

“I grew up in this really small town, 70 miles east of Dallas-Fort Worth, 1500 people,” he explains. “There’s not a lot to do out there, so you had to be creative about how you spent your time. We had this amazing little scene pop up, where you could actually play your own songs. I was a trainwreck at first, but I worked at it and I got better.”

He moved to Austin and became a part of that city’s fertile music scene, and then relocated to Nashville, where he has immersed himself in Music City’s songwriting community and continued to hone his skills.

“I’ve done hundreds and hundreds of shows, primarily in the Southwest, but eventually I realized that I needed to go do this for real and build this thing. I loved Austin, but I knew that the best singers, players and writers are in Nashville, and that the bar was way higher there. It was the best thing for me. I wrote more songs and sang more in a year in Nashville than I would have in five years anywhere else. And the more you do it, the better you get at it.”

Beaver applied that pragmatic attitude to recording Rx, which he recorded on his own dime, without the benefit of record-company financing. The project was set into motion, he says, when he wrote “Dark” while mourning the deaths of his grandfather and a close friend.

“Writing ‘Dark’ really shook me, and really woke me up,” he says. “I think I needed to hear those words more than anybody, and I realized that if I felt that way, maybe others would. I got super excited, and I thought, ‘OK, I think I’m onto something here, this is a path that I want to take.’

“I’m a fan of all kinds of music, and I think that’s reflected on the album,” he continues. “We talked a lot about what we felt was missing from country music now and how we could bring some of that back, and at the same time, how could we push the envelope a little. That thought was always there: let’s see if we can take this genre to somewhere it hasn’t been before. But my main goal was to make a record that I would want to hear, with well-crafted songs that said something.

“Singing ‘I ain’t afraid of the dark’ is as simple as it gets, and anybody can understand what it means. That’s me trying to be an adult and trying to figure out how to deal with the real world. It’s really simple, but getting yourself to the point where you’re able to express things that simply is a challenge, and it something I aspire to. That’s what Hank Williams did, and it’s what Tom Petty does: express these complicated emotions in everyday language that everyone can understand. That’s my goal.”
Venue Information:
Troubadour
9081 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA, 90069
http://www.troubadour.com/

All lineups and times subject to change