Aaron Watson plays at the Brooklyn Bowl after a three-month medical hiatus

Aaron Watson. Photo: by Scott Delony

After being sidelined with a vocal cord injury for three months, the independent country artist Aaron Watson put on a high-energy, fan-engaging show at the Brooklyn Bowl on Friday night (August 26).

“I took three months off and had vocal cord surgery,” Watson said at the start of the show. “So I’m happy to be here. I can’t erase the smile from my face.

Watson hadn’t played in Nashville in over two years and was greeted by a packed and spirited crowd. Although he needed to take a few breaks between songs to rest his vocals, Watson delivered fan favorites “Freight Train,” “July in Cheyenne” and “Outta Style” and a handful of covers.

The evening kicked off with the opening act and up-and-coming artist from Texas Erin Kinsey. Kinsey wowed fans with his guitar skills and playing his popular songs “Just Drive” and “Vegas.” She played a handful of unreleased songs for the Nashville crowd which received warm praise. Watson went on to praise Kinsey for her talent and her TikTok rendition of “Outta Style.”

“I’ll probably open for you one day,” Watson said. “Just remember us girl. Go see her, she’s awesome. I am delighted to have shared the stage with her tonight.

Watson hit the stage opener with his current single and blue-collar anthem “Cheap Seats” from his 2022 record Undesirable man. The song emphasizes his journey as an independent artist, having always been a fan artist first.

Erin Kinsey. Photo: by Robert Chavers

Despite his recent surgery, Watson sounded great, with his band of many years backing his huge repertoire of songs. He immediately got the Nashville crowd into the show by playing fan favorites “Freight Train”, “Boots”, “Wild Fire” and “Silverado Saturday Night”. Between breaks to rest her voice, Watson recognizes her doctor, who operated on her vocal cords, who was at the show.

“If you’ve been to my shows, you know that I usually follow song after song, but I have to take time to hydrate my vocal chords,” Watson said. “I have the doc here tonight watching me and I’m [telling myself]’You better stop between these songs and get a drink of water or he’ll get upset.’

Watson made the show much more intimate, talking to fans on the floor, especially those from the Lone Star state. He even took some deep requests like “Shut Up And Dance” from his 2003 record of the same title, and thanked the Friday night audience for being a real “honky tonk” crowd.

“A lot of times playing in Nashville isn’t my favorite because it’s stressful. [When you’re here], you have meetings and a lot of people show up in costume,” Watson said. “But a real honky tonk crowd showed up tonight and that makes me so happy.”

Later that night, he slowed things down to honor veterans with his song “Dog Tags,” which he wrote for his father who is an injured veteran. He asked all fans to shine their phone lights to show support for veterans in the crowd and bring attention to the fight against mental illness in the veteran community.

“My dad is my hero. It was an easy song for me to write because it was something that came from the heart,” Watson said. “I spent a lot of time at the VA Hospital in Amarillo where I grew up. So, at a very young age, I developed a lot of love and respect for the men and women who serve this great nation.

Watson continued the theme of honoring those he loved and admired with “Amazing Grace” followed by “Barbed Wire Halo”. He ended with his song about the legendary bull Frost Lane, “July in Cheyenne.” He wrote the song about Frost as he and his wife struggled with the loss of their newborn daughter. He emphasized his Christian faith which guided him through this dark time as for Frost’s mother.

“Lane’s mom said something that struck me here,” Watson said, pointing to her heart. “It refocused me on the bigger picture…I wrote this song as a thank you, but I think God inspired me to write this song and share my story with you all.”

After his tribute to the late rodeo cowboy, Watson let his band go and play a mix of country, pop and rock songs that included alan jackson“Chattahoochee”, Alabama“Dixie Land Delight”, George Strait“Amarillo in the Morning” AC DC‘s “Stunned”, The white bandthe “Seven Nations Army” and Bruno Mars“Uptown funk”.

He ended his show with his monstrous top 10 “Outta Style,” where he thanked his fans for making it a country radio hit without the help of a major label. Watson capped off the evening by staying late and giving hugs and selfies at her merchandise table.

Watson hits the road again on September 2 when he plays in Bellvue, Colorado and will be back on track to complete his 2022 South & West tour.

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