by: CHRISTOPHER TORRICK
Whenever we see one of the new releases come out on vinyl, we get a little excited around here. Vinyl record sales have been going up over the last few years and covid-19 ignited the renaissance. Electronic outlets reported an uptick in turntable sales and vinyl manufacturers have moved to 24/7 production to keep up with the demand. The resurgance isn't unique to older demographics. Whenever I mention heading to Lou's Records in Encinitas, my 14 year old daughter Aubrey is ready to go.
So, lets talk about this new Aaron Watson project.
Aaron has become a core artist on Mountain Country 107.9. His sales are strong here in Southern California and that has mirrored in to sold out gigs here. When Aaron Watson plays Moonshine Flats & Moonshine Beach in San Diego as well as the House Of Blues in Anaheim tickets go fast.
With country music fans lamenting the state of country music coming out of Nashville, Aaron Watson brings country back to it's baseline. It's true, intentional, country music.
We have been eagerly awaiting the vinyl pressing of the new album "American Soul". Now I have to admit we knew what we were getting into in advance, because the radio station had been receiving tracks from the label.
So on to the specifics!
The album was manufactured by Hand Drawn Records out of Dallas, Texas. The vinyl itself is a 140 gram pressing with a White Polylined Anti-Static Dust Sleeve. The label on the vinyl was a nice semi cloudy blue on side A and auburn on side B with silver text. The vinyl was in pristine shape with no warping. There were no liner notes or song lyrics included but there are some musician credits on the back of the cardboard sleeve.
I tracked the record on my Audio-Technica LP-120XUSB turntable using a legacy Sony Amplifier and Polk Audio RT35i bookshelf speakers.
The vinyl sounded incredible with very little surface noise and free of any clicks or pops.
The record also came with a digital download card at no additional charge.
The album was shipped by Amazon in a typical cardboard record mailer with a second additional exterior box. It was nice to see the effort to make sure the record got to me in good shape.
The record has a total of 10 tracks and all are pure Aaron Watson. Watson had his hand in writing all the songs on the album sharing writing credits with Anthony Enriquez, Monty Criswell, and co-producer of the album Phil O'Donnell.
I don't want to call this record predictable, but I say that with the highest regard when I say Aaron Watson has a history of records that don't fall short. It doesn't have a theme like the 2017 album "Vaquero", but its a quality project. One thing I have noticed with Aaron Watson records, you find yourself dropping the needle on track 1 and staying with it until the very end.
I'm not here to provide a song by song breakdown because everyone hears things differently. What I wanted to do was to share what you can expect for your less than $20 investment. Is it worth it? Yes! Any true country music fan will consider this as a nice addition to their vinyl record collection.
I will add this additional note. Artists have been throwing us vinyl curveballs with botique pressings of their catalog that they push on social media. Make sure you follow your favorites closely, because when they are released they sell out quick. A few months ago, Aaron released his album "The Underdog" on vinyl. I think it was limited to 500 pieces, and I kid you not - in the time it took me to see the post and go get the debit card from my wife it was gone!
- Chris Torrick
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