The Cosmic American


The country swagger of Dale Watson's Call Me Insane

Alhough he calls his music Ameripolitan, Dale Watson is country. 


Though not easy to explain, Ameripolitian is new, original music influenced by honky tonk, rockabilly, western swing, and outlaw country.

So like I said, Dale Watson is country.

Call Me Insane touches on all the major tenets of Ameripolitan with subtlety and swagger. “Bug Ya for Love” and “Everybody’s Somebody in Luchenbach, Texas” are fun Western Swing, “I’m Through Hurting” is classic honky tonk, “Burden of the Cross” is dark and folky (like a combination of “Long Black Veil” and “Eyes on the Prize”), and clever “Heavens Going to Have a Honky Tonk” explores the Mexican influences of Texas roots music.

Like classic country of the ‘50s – or even outlaw albums of the ‘70s, which are more tender* than you might think – the album is also filled with simple, affective love songs. “Crocodile Tears” and “Forever Valentine” are the sort of slow dance songs that aren’t written enough anymore. “I Owe it All to You” and “Hot Dang” are a bit more upbeat and fun, the former strengthened by clever lyrics (“she’s mine now/and I owe it all to you”).

The point of Ameripolitan is to create new, fresh country music with a connection to the past. Watson shows this intersection especially on three tracks, heartfelt George Jones tribute “Jonesin’ for Jones,” the Merle Haggard influenced workingman’s blues of “A Day at a Time,” and album ending Waylon Jennings update “Mamas Don’t Let Your Cowboys Grow up to be Babies.”

*Evidently “tenderer” is a word, but how clunky is that?

Erik Ritland is a songwriter and journalist from Nashville, Tennessee. He's released 13 records and EPs, most recently 2021's innovative movie album Old Dog Almost Gone. His journalism has been featured on Something Else! Reviews, Music in Minnesota, and more, and his articles have been shared by members of bands as diverse as KISS, the Monkees, Son Volt, and Low Cut Connie.