Singing cowboy Aaron Watson rides north and brings his western country show to The Intersection in Grand Rapids, MI on Friday evening.
For twenty years, Aaron Watson has been singing and performing his music his way. Aaron has been coming and going from show to show performing to the fans who enjoy his style of music, new traditional country sounds with songs of cowboy code and a western way of life.
On Friday night, fans pack into The Intersection in Grand Rapids, MI to hear him sing of a type of lifestyle that is distant from the city lights where they are gathered. They congregate inside the famous live music lounge wearing their Wranglers, cowboy boots and hats and wait for Aaron to arrive on stage to help educate them of the western ways and the music of the singing cowboy.
Releasing his sixteenth album Red Bandana in June of 2019, Aaron leads the show off with the cut “Trying Like The Devil” from that album. Introducing himself to the crowd, Aaron sings that he may not be the man you think he is, but he is trying to be a good man.
In 2015, Aaron released The Underdog that sat at the top at #1 for Top Country Albums. In 2017, he releases his Vaquero album and becomes a national household name as more people become aware of him.
During his shows, he pulls songs from those two albums along with others previous. Due to his large library of songs, Aaron is forced to blend songs with others in order to keep his show at a normal time frame. Though most of his fans would love to hear him and the band all evening, there are restrictions that force him to sing song compilations like “Heyday Tonight” and “Real Good Time” and others like “3rd Gear & 17” with “Old Friend.”
With a few birthdays in the house, Aaron sings Happy Birthday to the 11 year old standing at center stage up against the railing. Noting to the gentleman close by also having a birthday “nothing personal, it just doesn’t feel right to be singing Happy Birthday to another guy,” as the crowd laughs aloud.
After his performance of the lead off single “Kiss That Girl Goodbye” from his latest work, Aaron takes a moment to apologize to all in the crowd who have brought young ones with them this evening. Noting that his own 11 year old daughter has asked him what the phrase in the song means when he sings “kiss it where the sun doesn’t shine.” After his brief description to his daughter, she asks “why would you say something like that?”
Wanting to take it back a few years, Aaron returns to 2007 with his version of “Amazing Grace” and “Barbed Wire Halo” before adding “That’s Why God Loves Cowboys” and the Eagles cover of “Desperado.”
Claiming to have been kicked around enough last week while home, Aaron jokes with the ladies in the front that he will play “Run Wild Horses” before they come after him.
Thanking the crowd for coming this evening and supporting Aaron and the band, he states that performing is his way of making a living and providing for his family and band. He also jokingly comments that while he is out on the stage right now, his wife is probably home on the internet buying something else from the Amazon store.
On tonight’s show, Aaron is struggling and not sure if he is going to be able to sing the next song without breaking down. He received word yesterday of a young child friend who has passed from cancer. He feels for her parents and can relate to the sadness as he lost a daughter eight years ago who passed while he was holding her. He has gained strength over the past few years after talking with the mother of the late rodeo champion Lane Frost. She mentions to Aaron that the biggest prize Lane ever experienced was when he turned and gave his life to Jesus. From that conversation, Aaron wrote “July In Cheyenne” for Lane’s mother. During the song this evening, many wipe tears from their eyes and sing along as gentlemen raise their hats in the air to celebrate life and show their respect.
With a father in the military, Aaron grew up in VA hospitals. It inspired him to write this next song “My Heroes Wear Dog Tags,” to show support to his father and for all the veterans who have bravely fought for all our freedoms. The song is a new song from earlier this year and not yet released.
Dropping off his guitar he has had strapped on all evening, he introduces the band individually and allowing them each time to show their great musical talents that led them to the stage they are playing on this evening. He begins first with an intro of Alan Jackson’s hit “Chattahoochie” before turning it over to Sterling Masat (Banjo, Guitar, Mandolin and Keyboard) for “Eastbound And Down” by Jerry Reed. Sterling is then challenged with a bit of “Dueling Banjoes” with lead guitarist Jason Lerma. Jason then leads off with an AC/DC jingle of “Thunderstruck” before Aaron lends his high range vocals to the hit.
“If You’re Gonna Play In Texas” or anywhere else and be a pure country band, you have to have a fiddle in the band. That is what Damian Green says as he stands on a raised step at the front of the stage when playing “Dixieland Delight” from Alabama. As he raises the heat with “The Devil Went Down To Georgia,” Aaron challenges Damian to speed it up with the “Orange Blossom Special.”
Keeping the beat down low, bass player Jondon McBride brings “Uptown Funk” to The Intersection before a dazzling display of stick work by drummer Nate Coon with his drum solo.
Aaron concludes the show by expressing his appreciation to the crowd and that after 20 years of making a career in music, he continues to do it his way. Without a record deal and without wearing skinny tight jeans, he may never win a music award or get much national radio airtime. However, as long as crowds continue to come to his shows, it will prove to the music industry that cowboys are never going “Outta Style.”
Aaron Watson is one of the few left of the singing cowboys that sing pure country music today. Although the crowd this evening is a bit low in attendance, those that came valued the cowboy way. They sang to every song that Aaron threw at them, whether it be an unreleased song from 2006 or the only single ever to make it to country airplay. There will always be a place in country music for those like Aaron Watson, who come from their own mold instead of those who jump on the bro-country, pop country band wagon. That musical style is slowly starting to fade with all the same track mixes and repeating lyrics that music lovers are starting to bore from. When that day happens, Aaron will be seen standing on the stage performing another show, just like he has for 20 years.
Opening for Aaron in Grand Rapids is singer, songwriter Madison Kozak. Madison performs a solo acoustic set to warm up the Friday night crowd.
Madison performs her debut single “First Last Name” that she wrote for her father, that expresses the bond between a father and daughter.
Check out more about Aaron, Madison or The Intersection by clicking on the links provided below.
Aaron Watson setlist:
1. Trying Like The Devil 2. Freight Train 3. Heyday Tonight/Real Good Time 4. That Look 5. Kiss That Girl Goodbye 6. 3rd Gear & 17/Old Friend 7. Amazing Grace/Barbed Wire Halo/That’s Why God Loves Cowboys/Desperado 8. These Old Boots Have Roots 9. Run Wild Horses 10. Getaway Truck 11. July In Cheyenne 12. My Heroes Wear Dog Tags 13. Chattahoochie Intro 14. Eastbound And Down (Banjo Player Intro.) 15. Dueling Banjoes (Banjo and Lead Guitar) 16. Thunderstruck (Lead Guitar Player Intro.) 17. If You’re Gonna Play In Texas/Dixieland Delight/The Devil Went Down To Georgia/Orange Blossom Special (Fiddle Player Intro) 18. Uptown Funk (Bass Player Intro) 19. Drum Solo 20. Outta Style
Event Date: 28-FEB-2020