The Westport Roots Festival is proud to feature Dale Watson, the original tattooed troubadour and godfather of Ameripolitan, the movement to keep country music in touch with its roots. Dale has spent decades writing and performing the kind of country music he grew up listening to in Texas in the 60’s and 70’s – the kind you really don’t hear on the radio these days. As a member of the house band at the legendary Palomino Club in Hollywood, then on a short stint in Nashville, and eventually as an alt-country legend in Austin, Dale has lived and breathed true country music his whole life.
When it became clear that Nashville would never stop calling that pop radio business “country”, Dale decided that he had to turn his back on the word “country”, while staying true to the music itself and the spirit of those who love it. Dale, along with his friends and disciples, knew that the music, the attitude, the style, and the spirit of Hank, Willie, Waylon and Porter were alive and well, no matter what you call it. He came up with the name “Ameripolitan”, and has been championing the movement ever since. “American Cosmopolitan” (Ameripolitan, dig?) sounds a bit like a contradiction, and that’s Dale Watson to a tee. He’s outlaw honky tonk – a sharp suit with rolled-up undershirt sleeves. A slick silver pompadour and a cocked eyebrow. He looks a little like Conway’s no-account younger cousin (that’s a complement coming from us). The Ameripolitan movement resonates with lovers of real American roots music. And thanks to Dale’s tireless evangelism, it continues to grow. When he’s not on the road (he’s usually on the road), Dale plays the music he loves in one of his own Austin honky tonk bars. He has even spread the Ameripolitan gospel on Austin City Limits and the David Letterman and Jimmy Kimmel late night shows, to great acclaim.
The best thing about Dale is, he’s for everybody that is a fan of real roots music. He isn’t playing punked-out versions of George Jones songs – he writes his own new and honest takes on true country music. With his band The Lone Stars behind him playing good ol’ Texas swing, you can grab your lady, your fella, or your mamma and cut a rug to Dale Watson songs, even if he is cussing up a storm now and then on songs like “Country My Ass” and “I Lie When I Drink”. Dale lives by a code, one that is alive and well, all over the country, thanks to him. In his own “Hello, I’m an Old Country Song”:
I’m here if you ever want me
An old friend you forgot that you had
If those yearnings ever haunt you
Lend an ear, I’ll give you a hand
So put on your dancin’ boots, roll up your sleeves, and get ready to hear and feel what Ameripolitan is really all about with Dale Watson and The Lone Stars at the Westport Roots Festival. We’ve been nominated for Best Ameripolitan Festival at the 2017 Ameripolitan Awards, so we like to think Dale will feel right at home.