7 p.m. Aug. 27 at Renfro Valley Entertainment Center New Barn, Renfro Valley. $25-$30. 1-800-765-7464. Renfrovalley.com.
It was a mere two months ago that Gene Watson last paid us a visit. The veteran country singer was in town as a guest on the WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour, with bluegrass queen Rhonda Vincent. The occasion was the release of a collaborative album of hardcore traditional country songs titled Your Money and My Good Looks.
If you took a careful peek at the cover, you might have noticed that it didn't specify which part of the title pertained to which artist. It might have seemed obvious until you took note that the album was recorded for — and released on — a new indie label started by Vincent.
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More important, though, the album served as recognition from Vincent, an immensely popular bluegrass stylist versed in traditional country, to Watson, a singer she has spent much of her life and career listening to and learning from.
And what a career Watson has built for himself. Over the past four decades, the Texas-born vocalist has earned six No. 1 country hits and nearly two dozen Top 10 singles. All of them have been steeped in country tradition — from his '70s recordings for the Capitol label (Paper Rosie, Should I Come Home) and his '80s hits for MCA (14-Carat Mind, You're Out Doing What I'm Here Doing Without) to a 2009 duet version of the Buck Owens classic Together Again with Vincent that set the stage for Your Money and My Good Looks.
Placing Watson's music in the same pantheon with the recordings of Merle Haggard and George Jones is not overstating the case. But such unwavering devotion to traditional country might help explain why getting songs from Watson's recent album A Taste of the Truth played on country radio has been a struggle, even though the recording boasts a duet with contemporary country star Trace Adkins (We've Got a Pulse).
Through it all, though, Watson has been a near- annual visitor to Renfro Valley. He will perform songs from his 40-year career there again Saturday.
A night for Waynes
Plan on staying out late Tuesday. That's the night when country and jump blues specialist Wayne "The Train" Hancock visits The Green Lantern, 497 West Third Street, with Bob Wayne and the Outlaw Carnies.
A Seattle roots revivalist very much in the Hank Williams vein, Hancock performs lean songs that are built around a solid country whine and soaring pedal-steel guitar. The combination reaches a spirited zenith on his wonderful 2009 album Viper of Melody.
Wayne reveals a wicked renegade streak in such largely acoustic-driven songs as Love Songs Suck, Everything's Legal in Alabama and My Only Friend. Imagine a pre-rehab Steve Earle crossed with Hank III and you have a sense of where the mood in Wayne's music is rooted.
The music will start about 9 p.m. For more information, call (859) 252-9539.
Pack your plugs and go
Just as the summer of 2010 got under way, the Dallas metal-rock troupe Drowning Pool was making waves in Rupp Arena on a bill that included Seether and an evening's worth of other ear-crunching acts. On Wednesday, Drowning Pool squeezes its huge sound into the more modest confines of Buster's Billiards and Backroom, 899 Manchester Street. It also will get the evening to itself. You will still need earplugs. (9 p.m. $18 advance, $20 day of show. (859) 368-8871. Bustersbb.com.)