Images of neon beer signs and lazily spinning ceiling fans in a dusty Texan roundhouse are what come to mind when listening to country singer-songwriter Dale Watson. In his second appearance on the Bangor Waterfront, Watson played to a happy crowd under warm August skies on Saturday afternoon at the American Folk Festival.
Watson started his set out with a performance of his song “Drag n’ Fly,” co-written by his friend Freddie Dean Snowden of Deer Isle. He ran through a gamut of selections from his nearly 30-year career, ranging from “I Hate These Songs,” which name-checks famous songs that have special meaning to Watson, to “Heaahh!” a song about saying the word in the title to your misbehaving children.
With his silver pompadour and his long, elegant black jacket, Watson looks every part the outlaw country hero. His gorgeous guitar finger-picking and pleasingly twangy baritone was augmented by a killer rhythm section and sweet pedal steel and fiddle. There’s a reason why Watson is one of the most beloved and respected country singer-songwriters in the business today, despite the fact he never hit it quite as big as his peers Lyle Lovett and Dwight Yoakum. Why he didn’t is a bit of a mystery. His effortless performance Saturday only underscored what a pleasure it is to watch him do his thing.