Dale Watson is digging even deeper into his recently-established Memphis roots, and presenting the first ever instrumental album in his prolific career when he releases The Memphians on February 26th. First relocating part-time to Memphis in 2017, Watson has since established himself as an important revivalist and preservationist in the “Home of the Blues and the Birthplace of Rock ’n’ Roll.” Exploring the rich sounds of the city’s history is what the new record is all about.
“I never tied the Memphis music influence to my guitar playing until I started this instrumental project,” says Watson. “It seems Scotty Moore, Luther Perkins, Roland Janes and Carl Perkins influenced me as much as Duane Eddy, Chet Atkins and Merle Travis. I just didn’t know it because their music had legendary singers on them that overshadowed them. Those singers, Elvis, Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins, and a host of other Sun Studio singers I call ‘Ameripolitan’ artists today, because it is by definition — original music with prominent roots influences. So, with that realization, I put them all together and labeled us, The Memphians.”
Along with being a singer, songwriter, and legendary Chicken $hit Bingo host, Dale Watson is respected as a guitar player as well, and gets to stretch his legs on this 10-song set. And these aren’t reprisals of classic Memphis tunes. These are original songs, mostly written by Watson, with four co-writes featuring Italian guitarist Mario Monterosso. Other musicians featured on the set include Danny Banks on drums, T. Jarrod Bonta on piano, Carl Caspersen on upright bass, and Jim Spake on saxophone.
The entire set was captured in two days at Dale’s Wat-Sun Studios in the basement of his Elvis-inspired house right down the street from Graceland in Memphis, produced by Dale himself with engineer Cris Burns twisting and tweaking the knobs.
The album is preceded by the song “Hernando’s Swang” (listen below) paying tribute to the legendary club that Watson saved and restored, and now uses as his base of operations.
This one should be fun, and is now available for pre-save/pre-order.
The Memphians Track Listing:
1. Agent Elvis (Watson, Monterosso)
2. Dalynn Grace (Watson)
3. Alone Ranger (Watson, Monterosso)
4. Standin’ in Line (Watson)
5. Serene Lee (Watson)
6. Deep Eddy (Watson)
7. Hernando’s Swang (Watson, Monterosso)
8. Mi Scusi (Watson, Monterosso)
9. 2020 (Watson)
10. Remembering Gary (Watson)