Willie Watson is making a much-anticipated return to the UK in January for a series of solo, acoustic live dates, including an appearance at Glasgow’s Celtic Connections Festival. The former Old Crow Medicine Show star has released two solo albums creatively titled ‘Folksinger Vol.2’ and ‘Folksinger Vol.1‘, both produced by David Rawlings and featuring songs unearthed from the canon of American roots music. Willie recently made his acting debut in the Coen Brothers’ film ‘The Ballad of Buster Scruggs’ (which is superb if you’ve not managed to catch it yet) and also features on the movie soundtrack.
The new album arrives three years after its predecessor, his first release since parting ways with the OCMS, whose platinum-selling music helped jumpstart the 21st-century folk revival. Several singers and sidemen make appearances on it, including Gillian Welch, the Punch Brothers’ Paul Kowert, and Old Crow bandmate Morgan Jahnig.
“I’m not trying to prove any point here,” he insists, “and I’m not trying to be a purist. There’s so much beauty in this old music, and it affects me on a deep level. It moves me and inspires me. I heard Leadbelly singing with the Golden Gate Quartet and it sounded fantastic, and I thought, ‘I want to do that.’ I heard the Grateful Dead doing their version of ‘On the Road Again,’ and it sounded like a dance party in 1926, and I wanted to do that, too. That’s the whole reason I ever played music in the first place — because it looked and sounded like it was going to be a lot of fun.”
Wille Watson UK tour dates (which you can also catch in our brand shiny new gig guide here)
Fri 18-Jan: Manchester – Night and Day
Sat 19-Jan: Sheffield – The HUBS
Sun 20-Jan: Newcastle – Quayside Live Theatre
Mon 21-Jan: Glasgow Broadcast, Celtic Connections
Thu 24-Jan: Leeds – Howard Assembly Rooms
Fri 25-Jan: Nottingham – Bodega
Sat 26-Jan: Bristol – Louisiana
Mon 28-Jan: London – The Garage
Tue 29-Jan: Lewes – Con Club