What better way to start the new year than with a new song from everyone’s favourite Lonestar cowboy, Aaron Watson. Fresh from his triumphant (last minute) headlining performance at The Long Road festival here in the UK last September, Watson is now preparing us for the release of his new album, ‘Red Bandana’ which will include a whopping 20 songs when it is released in June. I suspect, with the release date so far away, ‘Kiss That Girl Goodbye’ won’t be the only new song we hear from Watson over the coming six months or so!
‘Kiss That Girl Goodbye’ sees Watson at his commercial best. It’s a rollicking, up-tempo monster of a song that grabs hold from the get-go and refuses to let go. There will be some die-hard voices of dissent, I suspect, from long-time fans of his more Texan sound but this song is no more commercial than a track like ‘Reckless’ was from back in 2012 off the ‘Real Good Time’ album or even tracks like ‘Outta Style’ or ‘Take You Home Tonight’ from last album, ‘Vaquero’. Watson has always dabbled with a whole mixture of styles, from waltzes to two step to straight down the line Country rock, and with twenty new songs on the way in 2019 you can bet your bottom dollar that on ‘Red Bandana’, that there will be a healthy mix of styles across the new music too.
‘Kiss That Girl Goodbye’ kicks off with a funky guitar groove and Watson’s clean Texan vocals before a handclap breakdown heralds the arrival of a catchy chorus that could have been lifted from any number of Aaron Watson albums. The guitars are there, the fiddles as well, all driving the song forward. There’s some piano licks a little later in the song too meaning the whole ensemble feels comfortably ‘Watson-esque’ to long-standing fans whilst the glossy-around-the-edges production and handclap interludes bring a touch of commerciality to the song that won’t hurt it any on its release to Country radio. Let’s get one thing clear, Watson hasn’t gone Walker Hayes or Russell Dickerson on our asses here – ‘Kiss That Girl Goodbye’ might be floating around at the edges of his most commercial sound but it is still way more Country than most songs on Country radio are these days!!
Think ‘Vaquero’, think ‘Underdog’, think ‘Real Good Time’ – ‘Kiss That Girl Goodbye’ has elements of all three, showing once again, what a versatile and accomplished songwriter Aaron Watson actually is. He has that unique ability to span that whole Texas-Tennessee spectrum of sounds and deliver a song dripping in the best bits of both. The natural inheritor to Garth Brooks’ Country crown, Aaron Watson is doing things independently and his own way and right now he is simply unstoppable. Here’s to 2019, with more new songs and hopefully another UK tour to cement all of the good that headlining The Long Road festival did for his presence over here. We can wait.