Aaron Watson has been through a lot in his twelve-year career: eleven albums, the birth of four children, countless hours on the road and many more still spent toiling away at his guitar, writing songs with Jesus on one shoulder and the ghost of Waylon Jennings on the other, making the country tunes he was born to play.
Aaron's career has been, as he would put it, “slow and steady; a long distance race and not a sprint.” Though he currently lives in Abilene, he was raised in Amarillo (“you can’t get any more country than that,” he laughs) on his father’s record collection that not only included classic country, but also acts like the Beach Boys and the Beatles.
It was at Abilene Christian University where Aaron picked up the guitar and realized his God-given talent for songwriting. “Eventually I started selling records out of my backpack,” he says, and his crowds grew from there. It wasn’t an overnight rise. “We did it the hard way,” he says with pride. “We did it the old-school way.”
It was very early on when Aaron learned the importance of fans – and how much he truly valued them. “I treat my fans like family, like royalty,” he says. To this day, no matter the time or size of the crowd, he still lingers after a concert to hug the audience and shake hands. “I sign anything and everything they’d like, and there isn’t one person who leaves the show thinking I don’t appreciate them.” And they’ve grown from a devoted Texas base to followers across the nation and beyond, even showing up in droves for concerts in Europe, which is now becoming a part of his normal touring schedule.
Ask Aaron what inspires him – and his music – and he’ll list three things: family, fans and faith. He has an undying and steadfast dedication to all of these pillars, and every one influences the other. “They are what makes my music. When I’m writing songs, that’s what on my mind. What else is there?” Aaron's albums have songs about his wife, his parents and grandparents, and about his faith in Jesus. “It’s reflective of who I am. And I think that is what makes an artist an artist.”
Aaron has accumulated many accolades and critical accomplishments over the course of his career; including selling over 150,000 records, seven #1 singles on the Texas Music Chart, and 4 albums that debuted on the Billboard charts. He’s attended the ACM Awards, but in all he’d “rather have rewards than awards. My rewards are my family and fans. And having Lyle Lovett call and say that he and his mom listened to my gospel record driving across county. Or a disabled veteran coming up to me with tears in his eyes thanking me for the song I wrote for my father.”
When Aaron started making music, they called him the Honky Tonk Kid. At 35, they still do. He’s proud of it: though he’s gone from an old van and trailer to a tour bus, from sawdust floors to big stages, he still holds dear the core reasons why he first started writing songs and singing so many years ago. “We have a formula that has been working for over a decade, and that’s making good, wholesome, fun music reflective of what I believe in,” he says. So kick your feet up, as Aaron sings, and let a country boy show you a real good time.
"We have a formula that has been working for over a decade, and that’s making good, wholesome, fun music reflective of what I believe in."