You can get Aaron Watson talking about pretty much anything. The Texas country singer is kind of an open book. He’ll go on and on about his music, his shows, his background and the pawn shop guitar he paid for mowing lawns. (More on that Abilene pawn shop guitar later.)
But when the topic turns to Christmas and his family, Watson will do so much more than talk.
When I went to Joe’s Bar to interview Watson before his last Chicago show, he took me through his new album An Aaron Watson Family Christmas track by track, and told me the full story behind the recording of each and every song.
“It was July, and we were having kind of a staycation. We’d all listen to Christmas records while we were swimming in Texas in the summer,” Watson told me. “Then we’d go inside — I’d made a home recording booth in wife’s closet, and even hung Christmas lights up — and we’d all record our parts.” Those parts added up to a ten-track collection of classic Christmas songs and a few originals.
And it is track No. 5 that made for the best story. “I made wife sing ‘Baby It’s Cold Outside.’ She kept putting me off, then she’d sing it but barely made a sound. She was being so shy and passive, and I was getting so frustrated. The kids were in bed, we were both in her closet, and I was like, ‘I have seen you naked and watched you give birth to all our children. Sing the song!’”
Watson thinks the result (acknowledging his obvious bias) is amazing.
He has great stories like that about each of the home-studio sessions with the rest of his collaborators: Jake, 12, Jack 10, and Jolee Kate, 8. “Their little voices? It brings tears to my eyes,” he said, “because I didn’t even realize how special this would sound. And it’s extra special for me as a dad, because I can brag because my babies sang on it. And it is so sweet. It’s truly just covered in love and family and tradition and faith.”
Watson has eight shows left to play throughout the 2018 holiday season in Las Vegas and Texas, and then will pick up right where his tour left off on Jan. 11 in Goliad, Texas.