Personnel: Dale Watson (vocals, electric guitar); Lloyd Maines (acoustic guitar); Don Pawlak (pedal steel guitar); Joey Colarusso (saxophone); Ricky White (trumpet); Jon Blondell (trombone); Danny Levin (piano); Chris Crepps (upright bass, background vocals); Mike Bernal (drums, percussion).
Audio Mixer: Cris Burns.
Recording information: Bismeaux Studios, Austin, Texas.
Photographer: Leann Mueller.
Dale Watson has been been making records for 25 years, which makes him as much of a veteran as any of the honky tonk legends who inspired him in the first place, and like many music biz lifers, Watson is a smart guy who knows how to give his fans what they want while keeping thing fresh so he doesn't get bored. Released in 2015, Call Me Insane may not sound like a major creative breakthrough (and ultimately it isn't), but there are just enough countrypolitan accents in tunes like "Forever Valentine," "Crocodile Tears," and the title track to show Watson isn't just a honky tonk man, and his way with a weeper is every bit as strong as his knack for tunes about beer drinking and good times. Watson's band -- including Danny Levin on piano, Don Pawlak on pedal steel, and Lloyd Maines joining Watson on guitar -- is in typically superb form on Call Me Insane, capturing the nuances of the intimate numbers and delivering the right amount of revved-up energy when Watson turns it up on his tribute to the Ol' Possum, "Jonesin' for Jones," and his celebration of true love, "Hot Dang." Watson is as strong a songwriter as he is a singer, and he can tell the tale of a working man ("A Day at a Time"), describe a romance gone bad South of the Border ("Tienes Cabeza de Palo"), or ponder his own idea of paradise ("Heaven's Gonna Have a Honky Tonk") with down-to-earth smarts and a real gift for wordplay. In the grand tradition of Merle Haggard and Buck Owens, Dale Watson may not crank out masterpieces on a regular basis, but he never fails to deliver the goods when he goes into the studio, and Call Me Insane shows the honky tonk man can still write 'em and sing 'em as well as you could hope, and he's not slowing down a quarter-century into his career. ~ Mark Deming