When Carrie cancelled her headline set at The Long Road I'm sure, like me, most of you were gutted, though our main priority was wishing her a speedy recovery there was much speculation as to who would fill her boots! That man was Aaron Watson. Now I'd seen Aaron before and knew that he had what it takes, he's full of energy and passion for the music he makes. I was excited to talk to him before the festivities kicked off on Saturday morning and it started off on the right foot as I walked into the stable block (the press room) and Aaron instantly said "I love your shirt" - it was a Taylor Swift t-shirt, my favourite artist! Now to find out what else our new headliner listens to in his spare time.
First of all can you tell me a little bit about how you first got into Country music and that moment when you decided yes this is what I want to do for the rest of my life?
Well I’ve always loved music my Dad raised me on a lot of old vinyl records like Willie and Waylon and The Beatles and The Rolling Stones and Sinatra and the list goes on and on. My mum always encouraged me to sing at church but as I got older I really started to appreciate the lyrics in a Country song and it became a dream of mine and I had other goals and those doors closed and other doors opened and I had a few people offer to pay me to play a few little acoustic shows and one thing led to another and twenty years later here I am at the Long Road.
You’ve already touched on what your parents used to play to you when you were growing up but what artists are you listening to right now, besides Taylor Swift of course?
Besides Taylor Swift, I listen to a lot of Taylor Swift because of my little girl. My boys are into a lot of the stuff I was into when I was growing up, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Tom Petty, John Cougar Mellencamp so it’s kinda cool that my boys are into that stuff, gosh I was listening to Ryan Bingham earlier on the bus and Robert Earl Keen so I like those old boys that are a little rough around the edges, Guy Clark, Townes Van Zandt.
When it comes to your songwriting where do you draw inspiration from lyrically?
I draw inspiration from life, I had a guy from Manchester tell me about his tattoos and about how every tattoo has a story and it was touching and it’s like those tattoos are a part of him, it’s almost like reading a book and that gave me ideas. So I just try to keep my eyes and ears open.
A few silly questions for you now, what’s the strangest thing you’ve ever written a song about?
Dolly Parton Pinball Machine… that’s pretty strange, it’s never made a record yet, still working on it! Maybe on the next one, you never know.
When you’re on stage are you completely focussed or do you let your mind wander, what are your mid-gig thoughts?
I am out of control, my mind does what it wants to do. I have that ADD, Attention Deficit Disorder I think and I just really have to stay focussed on the fans or my mind will wander, I’ll be thinking about what I need to do when I get home or about other songs. That’s usually when I mess up and get distracted so I like to focus on the fans, it keeps me engaged.
Do you still get nervous when performing?
Oh yeah I still get jitters. It kinda depends on the gig, there’s certain gigs that I’m really comfortable with, dance halls, honky tonks they’re things I’ve been doing a long time but things like TV stuff, live stuff that sometimes gets me a bit jittery.
Tell me about the Long Road, you’ve stepped up as headliner due to Carrie being unwell?
Yeah well I think I’m a pretty good back up, I’ll be Carrie’s back up anytime but yeah we’ve played huge festivals, I never see myself as a headliner when I’m headlining or an opener when I’m opening, I have my time to get on stage and I do the best that I can.
Tell me about being an independent artist and the success you’ve had, what does that mean to you?
I love being independent, I take so much pride in that. My new album I’ve written all the songs all by myself I don’t have somebody telling me how I need to sing or what I need to sing or what I need to wear and I love that freedom. I know I’ve made some sacrifices by being independent but I also think I’ve had a lot of advantages because I’ve stayed independent I mean I own all my records, that’s music I can pass down to my children someday and I have an opportunity to wave my flag for all the other independent artists out there, let people know there’s a lot of great independent artists out there, go check them out, they need your support. And I can also let those independent artists know hey you can do this, you don’t need a major label, you got this.
And finally what’s next for you?
Well what’s next is I’m going into the studio next week, working on a new record, I’m so excited. We’re still promoting the live album that came out a couple of weeks ago and then I’ve got a Christmas album coming out in October I sang that record with my whole family, my boys, my little girl and my wife and it turned out so sweet, we’re so excited so check it out!