Don’t believe Dale Watson when he calls himself lazy. In addition to writing and recording his own music and keeping a busy tour schedule, he works tirelessly to promote other artists with his Ameripolitan Music Awards. As if that weren’t enough, he revitalized the legendary Memphis juke joint Hernando’s Hideaway in 2019 and continues to own and operate the venue.
We’re thrilled to have Watson join us for our next Front Porch Session on Wednesday, April 21, at 7 p.m. To watch, visit our Facebook page or YouTube channel.
You have quite a few dates on your tour calendar. How does it feel to get the show back on the road?
Live music is coming back, and it feels good to be doing it. But It’s hard for me to get back in the swing. I’ve got to start getting used to it again. I guess I got lazy doing all these one-nighters.
How did the group of players on your new instrumental album, Dale Watson Presents: The Memphians, come together?
Through the lockdown, I was forced to do the livestream to try to keep money going. I was at Hernando’s [Hideaway] and did a live stream there with Chicken Bingo. It worked out great with these musicians I used here. So we worked up the songs at Hernando’s and went to my studio in Memphis and knocked them out.
When can fans expect to hear something about this year’s Ameripolitan Music Awards?
We’re gonna have to do it next year — we’re talking May or June 2022. We want to use the bands who are being nominated for a local festival. Rather than trying to throw something together, we want to do it the right way. Usually, at least a dozen European acts get nominated for different categories, but we don’t know what travel will be like. Can people who are nominated even get over here?
Aside from the pandemic, what are the challenges of putting on an awards show like that?
You gotta have the city in on something like that, and Memphis has bent over backwards. That was the only reason I moved it from Austin — I wasn’t getting any help. As a matter of fact, I was treated like it’s just another music thing and it not that special. I don’t mean by the people and venues — more politically. I was getting in the way of South by Southwest, I was getting in the way of ACL, I was just in the way. There were so many excuses for me to have to keep moving venues. But the venues themselves — the Continental Club, the Austin Beer Garden, the Broken Spoke — everybody was so helpful. But politically, trying to do an award show in Austin was a nightmare.
You’ve hosted a lot of legendary artists at the Ameripolitan Music Awards over the years. Are there any moments —on or off stage— that are particularly memorable?
Charley Pride — just taking out his guitar and singing songs in the dressing room. He was so humble. A legend. He helped us a lot with credibility, as did Ray Price. These guys who take their time and know what they’re doing … they’re helping young bands who want to keep the roots together.