Willie Watson's forthcoming debut album, Folk Singer Vol. 1, is available now for pre-order through iTunes, Amazon, and Willie's own website.
The album will be released May 6 through Acony Records.
The album was produced by the legendary David Rawlings, longtime friend and producer of Watson's previous band, Old Crow Medicine Show.
"There's a lot of weight in the way Willie performs," says Rawlings. "He's had some tragedy in his life, which has informed his art. There's an emotional edge to what he does because of who he is as a human being. Willie is the only one of his generation who can make me forget these songs were ever sung before."
Right now, you can listen to Willie's stirring live rendition of "Mexican Cowboy" on A Prairie Home Companion, where Garrison Keillor complimented him by saying, "You sing as if the microphone had never been invented."
Check out the performance below:
The album features ten songs ranging from folk standards to obscure gems. According to Watson, making the album "happened naturally... as soon as I was playing solo, I started remembering all these old tunes which led me to dig through my 78's for more. When we got in the studio, I just played everything a couple times. It reminded me of making OCMS, where a lot of times we'd just play songs and let Dave sort it out."
Willie will be touring the US this spring and summer in support of the album's release, and is excited to announce new dates, including shows with Dave Rawlings Machine (Dave Rawlings, Gillian Welch, Willie Watson, John Paul Jones, and Paul Kowert of Punch Brothers).
The tour will also feature three dates in Nashville around the release of Folk Singer Vol. 1. Willie will also be performing at Stagecoach Music Festival in Indio, CA on April 26, and on May 21 he will perform at New York City's Mercury Lounge. View the tour dates below.
4/26 Indio, CA @ Stagecoach Festival
4/27 San Diego, CA @ Adams Avenue Unplugged
5/1 Decatur, GA @ Eddie's Attic *
5/2 Lawndale, NC @ Five String Fest
5/3 Asheville, NC @ The Grey Eagle *
5/6 Nashville, TN @ Grimey's In-Store - Record Release
5/7 Nashville, TN @ Music City Roots @ Loveless Café
5/8 Nashville, TN @ Station Inn *
5/9 Louisville, KY @ Zanzabar *
5/10 Columbus, OH @ Woodlands *
5/11 Ann Arbor, MI @ The Ark *
5/13 Evanston, IL @ SPACE *
5/15 Pittsburgh, PA @ Club Café *
5/16 Charlottesville, VA @ The Southern *
5/17 Washington DC @ Gypsy Sally *
5/18 Annapolis, MD @ Rams Head on Stage **
5/21 New York, NY @ Mercury Lounge *
5/22 Philadelphia, PA @ World Café Live *
5/23 Northampton, MA @ Iron Horse Music Hall *
5/24 Ithaca, NY@ The Haunt *
5/28 Los Angeles, CA @ The Bootleg Theater
5/30 Berkeley, CA @ Freight & Salvage
6/15 Palisade, CO @ Palisade Bluegrass & Roots Festival
6/18 Boulder, CO @ DRM @ Boulder Theatre +
6/20 Telluride, CO @ DRM @ Telluride Bluegrass Festival +
6/24 Kansas City, MO @ DRM @ Uptown Theater +
6/25 St. Louis, MO @ DRM @ The Sheldon +
6/26 Louisville, KY @ DRM @ Brown Theater +
6/27 Nashville, TN @ DRM @ Ryman Auditorium +
7/11 Somerset, KY @ Master Musicians Festival
7/12 Sugar Grove, NC @ MusicFest 'n Sugar Grove
7/13 Mount Solon, VA @ Red Wing Roots Music Festival
7/15 Ashland, VA @ Ashland Coffee & Tea
7/16 Carrboro, NC @ Cat's Cradle - Back Room
7/17 Abingdon, VA @ Abingdon Music Experience
7/18 Louisville, KY @ Forecastle Festival
7/20 Princeton, WV @ Mountain Stage @ Chuck Mathena Center
7/25 Cornish, ME @ Ossippee Valley Bluegrass Festival
7/26-7/27 Newport, RI @ Newport Folk Festival
8/1-8/3 Happy Valley, OR @ Pickathon
8/28- 8/30 Fayetteville, AR @ Fayetteville Roots Festival
8/31 Steelville, MO @ Steelfest
9/18 Nashville, TN @ Americana Music Festival
*Mandolin Orange supports
** With Chatham County Line and Mandolin Orange (May 18)
+ DRM/Dave Rawlings Machine = Dave Rawlings, Gillian Welch, Willie Watson, John Paul Jones & Paul Kowert of Punch Brothers (June 18-27)
Keep up with Willie Watson at williewatson.com.