Aaron Watson stopped through Nashville to sing on one of country music’s hallowed stages. Watson performed his new song “They Don’t Make ‘Em Like They Used To.”
The tune comes from brand new album Vaquero, which drops today (Feb. 24) and features 16 songs. Watson wrote or co-wrote all of the songs on the album. And he considers “They Don’t Make ‘Em Like They Used To” one of his best-written songs, if not the best.
For Watson, that’s a big statement. After all, Vaquero is the 11th album in his long independent career.
With the sounds of acoustic guitar and fiddle, Watson paints a picturesque Texas scene with his grandparents. An old truck with 300,000 miles, grandma’s fried chicken, Patsy Cline on the radio. The whole thing feels as American as apple pie.
But the song also carries a bit of a warning. “I never dreamed we’d trade the American dream for a fancy foreign car,” Watson sings. And later, Watson does himself a bit of preaching. “Instead we criticize,” he sings. “We glamorize who’s right or wrong, who’s left or right. Missing out on so many beautiful colors fighting over what’s black and white.”
Watson earned a hard-fought following the tough way. So when he sings about the “good old days,” it’s not just lip service.
But at the same time, walking that line of nostalgia and reality proves a difficult task. For many, the “good old days” weren’t so good. Yet Watson shows a deft ability and offering hope in place of bitterness.
And without a doubt, the Texas country stalwarts who look to Watson as a leader of their independent movement find an honest representation of what he’s all about. By this stage in the game, Watson isn’t out to surprise anybody with his writing. He’s just out to make music the rings true of who he is, and “They Don’t Make ‘Em Like They Used To” meets that mission.