Dale Watson (born October 7, 1962 in Birmingham, Alabama) is an American country/Texas Country singer, guitarist, songwriter, and self-published author based in Austin, Texas. He champions “Ameripolitan” as a new genre of original music and has positioned himself as a tattooed, stubbornly independent outsider who is interested in recording authentic country music. As a result, his record sales have been slow, but he has become a favorite of critics and alt-country fans.
Watson grew up in poverty outside of Pasadena, Texas as one of four boys. Watson’s father (after whom he is named) and his brother, Jim, were both musically inclined and guided what have become his longstanding musical influences. Watson began writing his own songs at age 12, making his first recording two years later. Soon after, Watson became an emancipated minor. By day he went to school and by night he played local Houston clubs and Honky Tonks with Jim in an aggregation called the Classic Country Bandin.
He moved to Los Angeles in 1988 on the advice of Rosie Flores and soon joined the house band at North Hollywood’s now-legendary alt-country venue the Palomino Club. He recorded two singles for Curb in 1990, “One Tear at a Time” and “You Pour It On,” and appeared on the third volume of the compilation series, A Town South of Bakersfield, in 1992. Not long after, he moved to Nashville and spent some time writing songs for the Gary Morris publishing company where his first daughter was born.
Watson relocated to Austin, TX, where he formed a backing band called the Lone Stars. He scored a deal with Hightone and released his debut album, Cheatin’ Heart Attack, in 1995. It was greeted with enormous acclaim for the vitality Watson brought to his vintage-style material and performances and also featured a dig at mainstream country in “Nashville Rash.” Follow-up Blessed or Damned appeared in 1996 and continued in a similar vein, as did 1997’s I Hate These Songs. His next release, The Truckin’ Sessions, appeared on Koch in 1998 and was devoted entirely to that distinct country subgenre of truck-driving songs. Soon after, his second daughter was born.
He has won the British Country Music Awards Best International Artist on an Independent Label, and country music awards in the Netherlands and Spain. Watson tours Europe annually, and has a large growing fan base there. Also, winner of the 9th Annual Independent Music Awards: Best Country Album “The Truckin’ Sessions, Vol 2”.
The singer is also featured in the Zalman King documentary Crazy Again, chronicling his (Watson’s) breakdown after his girlfriend Terri Herbert died in a fatal car accident in September 2000. Every Song I Write is for You was released in 2001 as a tribute album.
After going on hiatus from music in 2004, he moved to Baltimore, Maryland to be closer to his daughters, Raquel and Grace. Grace appeared alongside Luke Wilson, Johnny Knoxville and Knoxville’s daughter Madison in Watson’s 2007 video for, “Hollywood Hillbilly”. Raquel is a stage and film actress based in Austin.
Watson returned to Austin in July 2006 and resumed playing regular gigs, including Sundays at Ginny’s Little Longhorn Saloon and a Monday night residence at The Continental Club. He is also a regular performer on the Grand Ole Opry. He also was the focus of a 2007 bio-picture, Austin Angel.
In 2008 Watson released “To Terri With Love,” an album dedicated to his late girlfriend, with all proceeds going to the Teresa L. Herbert Memorial Foundation.
In 2011 Watson released a video song about Tiger Airways Australia after the company charged him $500 to transport a box of CDs which they then lost and initially refused to pay compensation.
In 2012 he is slated to star in Stephen King and John Mellencamp’s musical, “Ghost Brothers of Darkland County”.