Dale Watson and Ray Benson (from the album Dale and Ray)
The recent album release, Dale and Ray, is the first collaboration between iconic Ameripolitan artist Dale Watson and Ray Benson, dynamic front man from Asleep at the Wheel. In today’s music scene, this album stands tall above the rest when it comes to good ol’ Texas music. Dale and Ray starts big with the first track “Ballad of Dale and Ray”, the ultimate celebration of old school ‘outlaw country’ done ‘Texas style’. The next track, “Feeling Haggard”, is a beautiful and fitting tribute to the late great legend Merle Haggard, done in a way that would make Merle proud.
Changing gears in “I Wish You Knew”, the high energy and clever third track had me wanting to dance while “Bus Breakdown” is a hilarious tune about the perils of life on the road that had me chuckling out loud. The sad but true tale of the music business is skillfully told with the vehicle of humorous lyrics and a spirited waltz in “Write Your Own Songs”. Dale and Ray shows us the true power of ‘real’ country songs in “Cryin’ to Cryin’ Time Again” with that age-old remedy for hurtin’ is a good old time hurtin’ song while “Forget About Tomorrow Today” is a timely song reminding us of the wisdom to live in the now and not in the past. Where would real country music be without a drinkin’ song? “A Hangover Ago” takes us to that place we have all been to throughout our lives. Texas pride shines bright in “Nobody’s Ever Down in Texas” which features fun play with lyrics and musical hooks and the final track, “Sittin’ and Thinkin’ About You” is an example of the greatness of how simple lyrics along with great hooks and riffs accomplish a big end result. Dale and Ray is the perfect example of country done right. True to its influences, the album is a well- produced collaborative of two ‘real’ country powerhouses. Combining outstanding vocals, masterful musicianship, and meaningful lyrics, this dynamic duo lays tracks for the train called revival to run on, taking country back to its roots. (By J. Alan Taylor)