Doc Roc Presents
Sat Apr 15
Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:30 pm
$20.00 - $35.00
Tickets Available at the Door
This event is all ages
Advance $20 | Day of Show $20 | Door $20 | Mezzanine (21+) $35
There is a $2 fee that applies to each ticket purchased at the Cain's Box Office.
No re-entry! No smoking! No refunds!
Oklahoma Joe’s BBQ will be open and available to ticket holders from 7pm- 9pm!
Support acts are subject to change without notice!
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 grownups
that promise to further solidify his status as one of today’s finest torch-bearers of real
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.”
Texas country singer-songwriter Kevin Fowler took a couple of years to take stock of his artistic career, launch his own record label, then write and record How Country Are Ya? the old-fashioned way.
How Country Are Ya? – Fowler’s seventh studio album and his first for Kevin Fowler Records in a joint venture with Nashville’s Thirty Tigers - is the good-timing, tradition-steeped and honky-tonk-stomping Amarillo native’s return to basics effort. A year in the making, the album features 15 fresh tunes (he wrote all of them except for the raucous instrumental “Mousturdonus“) and was produced by Ken Tondre, Fowler’s drummer, at Tondre’s The Compound Recording Studio in Austin.
One of the most potent songs on How Country Are Ya? is “Panhandle Poorboy,” a completely autobiographical piece that’s clearly the centerpiece of Fowler’s mindset during the creation of the disc. Simply put, he wanted to come back home.
“The last couple of records have been on Nashville record labels,” Fowler said, referring to 2007’s Bring It On, released on Equity Music Group, and 2011’s Chippin’ Away, released on Average Joe’s Entertainment.
“But this one is on my own label with my buddies like we used to make records. I wanted to feel right at home, go back to the well, and not get into any outside influences. I really felt like I wanted to make music closer to all my anthems that people scream along to at shows.”
Plus, How Country Are Ya? is chock full of Texas-centric collaborations. Earl Dibbles Jr., the alter-ego of Dallas-bred Granger Smith, provides the disc’s no-nonsense intro. Amy Rankin, one half of Austin’s The Rankin Twins, croons with Fowler on the emotionally evocative number “Before Somebody Gets Hurt.” San Antonio’s Grammy winners Los Texmaniacs crank up the South-of-the-border ambiance of “Borracho Grande.” Kingwood, Texas’ rebel-rouser Davin James lends his big personality to the hilarious “Chicken Wing.” And Huntsville, Texas newcomer Cody Johnson stirs straight-up country action on “Guitars and Guns.”
See? Told ya Fowler threw a studio party with his good friends and turned it into a record. But of course the first single, “How Country Are Ya?,” is quintessential Fowler. The song crackles with all the beer joint energy that characterizes every creative fiber in Kevin Fowler’s body.
The point behind each lyric, each guitar lick, and each twanging-rocking melody is the live show. Fowler has earned his reputation as one of the most amped-up concert performers to emerge from the modern day Texas country movement. For those that have experienced Fowler onstage, then you know he brings unbridled musical muscle to the platform. Backed by his trusty band he’s a dynamo – cracking jokes, hitting high notes, strumming his guitar and putting each of his fans in two-stepping mode.
“From day one I realized I couldn’t control what radio played and what video channels played, but the one thing I could control every night was the live show,” Fowler said. “The musicians want to be there, the fans want to be there and I want to be there. People can listen to the CDs at home. But if they come to the shows they are ready to have a good time for an hour-and-a-half, forget about their problems and forget about work on Monday.”
Pretty much any city in Texas belongs to Fowler, but he will immediately point out that he is quickly growing in Oklahoma and throughout the Midwest, all the way up to Chicago.
“I get a big kick out of seeing the way it has spread now across the country. It’s really cool how we’ve come so far. I remember a time when Texas country music didn’t have as long a reach.”
Enter social media. Fowler boasts more than 270,000 Facebook likes and 34,000-plus cool Twitter followers. But, most importantly, the percentage of those people who engage Kevin online is higher than nearly any country artist anywhere. For an independent artist like him, that’s crucial to career growth and sustainment. He knows full well that social media puts bodies in concert seats and creates an imperative rapport with his fans. It is the technological age way for artists to connect with admirers.
“Social media is the biggest part,” Fowler said. “Social media is king. It has impacted my career as significantly as radio. Twenty years ago the only tool you really had was Kinkos to make flyers. This is the biggest piece of the puzzle especially for us now since we don’t have a lot of radio airplay. I can reach my target audience big time now.”
But naturally even the fiercest honky-tonker needs a little down time. Or should we say outdoors time? Fowler comes from a long line of hunters and fishermen. And if you ask him how often he gets to the hunting grounds and the fishing hole he quickly replies, “Anytime I can!”
How thick is the hunting and fishing blood coursing through Fowler’s veins? You could say it’s totally innate.
“I was born in May and in September of that year I went on my first hunting trip. My dad was a huge bowhunter. I still go bowhunting. That is what we did as a family. We also went on fishing trips every spring break. That made me who I am. It was camping in Colorado, bow hunting in the fall and fishing every spring break. Now it’s all about the camaraderie of friends, getting away, and the freedom of the outdoors.”
“I would have never in a million years thought the Texas music scene would grow to what it is now,” a proud Fowler said. “I was lucky enough to have been there since the inception. I feel proud to have played a part in establishing the scene, in making it what it is. We fought a lot of battles and kicked a lot of doors down. We broke those barriers down back then. And now we are having fun spreading it town by town outside of Texas, just the way we did inside the home state.”
Reflection brought Kevin Fowler full circle.
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