Old songs sung the Watson way

AMERICANA star Willie Watson, formerly of the Old Crow Medicine Show and produced by Dave Rawlings, is on a short UK tour, stopping at the Louisiana in Bristol on Saturday 26th January.

His eagerly anticipated return to the UK  includes an appearance at Glasgow’s Celtic Connections Festival. Willie has released two acclaimed solo albums Folksinger Vol.2 and Folksinger Vol.1, featuring songs unearthed from the canon of American roots music. He recently made his acting debut in the Coen Brothers’ film The Ballad of Buster Scruggs  and also is also featured on the movie soundtrack.

For nearly two decades, Willie Watson has made modern Americana and folk music, with his roots firmly in older traditions. He’s a folksinger in the classic sense: a singer, storyteller, and traveller, with a catalogue of songs that bridge the gap between the past and present.

On Folksinger Vol. 2, he acts as a modern interpreter of older songs, passing along his own version of the music that came long before him – Southern gospel, railroad songs, Delta blues, Irish fiddle tunes, Appalachian music – they’re all included.  Long ago, the 11 compositions that appear on Folksinger Vol. 2 were popularised by artists like Leadbelly, Reverend Gary Davis, Furry Lewis and Bascom Lamar Lunsford.

With a quick vibrato and rich range, Willie breathes new life into classic songs like Samson and Delilah, one of several songs featuring harmonies from gospel quartet The Fairfield Four. He’s a balladeer on Gallows Pole, whose melancholy melodies are echoed by the slow swells of a four-piece woodwind ensemble, and a bluesman on When My Baby Left Me, accompanying himself with sparse bursts of slide guitar.  Dry Bones  finds him crooning and hollering over a bouncing banjo, while Take This Hammer closes the album on a penitent note, with Watson singing to the heavens alongside a congregation of Sunday morning soul singers.

Space is limited, so book quickly. Telephone 0117 926 5978 for more details.