Carryin’ On

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Old-school country torchbearer Dale Watson again ignores modern trends and serves up sawdust-floor honky-tonk fare that could be mistaken for long-forgotten vintage sides. While the all-Watson-penned track list offers few truly original moments, that’s partly because he isn’t out to reinvent anything—a point he makes powerfully on “Hello, I’m an Old Country Song,” a dead-on and insightful statement of purpose that laments the loss of real-deal country on the radio. Accordingly, he sticks close to a 1960s-style template throughout the disc and, delightfully, brings along Nashville A-team oldsters (including steel guitar legend Lloyd Green and piano man Hargus “Pig” Robbins) for added authenticity. While he covers a variety of emotional hues, the overall sound stays largely lighthearted—particularly on the Wizard of Oz spoof, “Tequila, Whiskey and Beer, Oh My!” which spins a twister full of Oz-isms. But even this bit of silliness will make fans of classic country click their heels and say, “There’s no place like home.”