By Molly Atchison | Editor-in-chief
The Walmart on Hewitt Drive was buzzing with activity Saturday morning as fans awaited the arrival of country music singer Aaron Watson. Watson held a meet and greet from 10:45-11:30 a.m. on Saturday, allowing country music lovers to flock with guitars in hand and CD’s off the stand for the star to sign.
Watson’s most recently released album, “Live at the World’s Largest Rodeo,” was recorded in March 2017 at the Houston Rodeo. Watson was so excited to have the opportunity to perform at the rodeo, and he wanted to record the experience for himself and for his fans.
“For a Texas boy to be able to play at the Houston Rodeo is one of the greatest honors,” Watson said. “It’s like a golfer winning that green jacket at the Masters.”
Just before his newest hit record was set to release in August of that year, disaster struck Houston in the form of Hurricane Harvey. Watson was deeply affected by the devastation that occurred in his home state, and decided to postpone his album’s release for an entire year.
“Houston was just getting hammered by that hurricane, and so we put it off. We put it on the back shelf,” Watson said. “I thought maybe it would never come out, but then we decided to put it out on the one year anniversary of the hurricane to help raise funds for these people who are still really struggling with the devastation that the hurricane caused.”
Watson and his team partnered with the governor’s office and the Rebuild Texas fund to ensure that the money earned off through this record would go to relief efforts in the Houston area.
“Live at the World’s Biggest Rodeo Show, his 14th album and his first live album in nearly a decade, is set to release on August 24, 2018, marking the one year anniversary of Hurricane Harvey’s landfall,” Watson’s Public Relations Representative Heather Conley said in a press release. “$1.41 from each album sold will benefit the Rebuild Texas Fund, in recognition of the widespread devastation across Watson’s beloved home state.“
Watson’s passion for helping his fellow Texans comes from years of experiencing love and support in the Texas community. Born and raised in Amarillo, Watson moved to Abilene for college, where he met his wife Kim and began his music career. Although he travels all over the world to perform, much of his inspiration comes from the state of Texas, as well as his family.
According to his website, Watson’s love for his home state and the people he has met here can be seen in his most recent album, “Vaquero.” Released in late 2017, Watson’s most recent hit album tells many different stories, but centers on life in Texas.
“I draw inspiration from everyday life,” Watson said. “Things my kids say, moments with my wife … the last song on the record is called ‘Higher Ground’ and that song was inspired by just watching how all of these people came together across the south Texas coast during the hurricane to help each other out.” Watson said.
He believes that the people in the 41 counties affected by Hurricane Harvey are a great example of love and kindness, and his personal ties to the area make his work all-the-more meaningful.
“My mom’s from Houston, I have lots of family there …,” Watson said. “You know, lots of friends and lots of family, lots of fans down there.”
As a musician who defies trends, follows his heart and still tops the charts consistently, Watson is following in the footsteps of his musical inspiration. Artists such as Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard are some of the country legends Watson looks to when creating his own music.
Fans were treated to some of his newest music on Saturday night at the Margarita and Salsa Festival in downtown Waco, and can purchase his music in stores across the country, with proceeds from his rodeo recording still going to hurricane relief efforts.