Call Me Lucky
On the easy-rolling “Tupelo Mississippi and a ’57 Fairlane,” Dale Watson declares, “They don’t make ‘em like that no more.”
You could say the same about Watson himself. He’s an unrepentant country throwback who nevertheless has stood the test of time. Possessor of a classic baritone and smooth drawl, the Alabama-born, Texas-bred singer and songwriter likes to pay tribute to the greats who inspired him. On “The Dumb Song,” he not only replicates Johnny Cash’s boom-chicka rhythm, he also employs Cash’s original drummer, W.S. “Fluke” Holland. And he invokes the Man in Black himself directly on the ballad “Johnny and June,” a terrific duet with cowriter Celine Lee.
But Watson’s main appeal is that he is thoroughly himself. Throughout Call Me Lucky, with its honky-tonkers and shuffles and hints of R&B and mariachi, Watson again puts his own stamp on traditional country forms and shows that, like a ’57 Fairlane, in the right hands they still have plenty of mileage left in them. — Nick Cristiano
With Kinky Friedman, 7:30 p.m. March 18 at the Locks at Sona, 4417 Main St., Manayunk. Tickets: $39 to $49. 484-373-0481
Father of 4
(Quality Control/Motown/Capitol ***½)
As one-third of Migos, Atlanta’s flashiest mumble-rap trio, Offset has been an active participant in the ups and downs of sex, drugs, love, trap, and hip-hop. So much so that it made him an absentee dad and very nearly single when his new wife — fellow superstar Cardi B — dumped him for infidelity. Now that they are reunited — along with their 7-month-old daugther, Kulture — Offset has grown wearily ruminative and focused on the man he could have been to his other kids, Jordan, Kody, and Kalea. Father of 4, his debut solo album, moves away from his pricey product-placement raps and looks back on his life facing time for crimes against the law and the heart.
When Offset raps, “Have you ever done time / Lookin’ at my kids through the blinds / Confinement mind / How you feelin’ when you face a dime?,” he’s never sounded as hard or sincere. Same goes for the woozily timed “How Did I Get Here.” Atop a haunting ambient whirr, Offset mixes vivid pictures of a playful childhood with jail time and the past of an enslaved black America. On that track and others, like “After Dark,” Offset uses the line “That’s just how it go” to signal a numbness to the insistent proliferation of violence, incarceration, and death around him, and the hard-won lifestyle he’s made for himself with Migos. But there has to be more. So in the fashion of 4:44 — Jay Z’s recent confessional opus — Offset looks to love and the promise of loyalty as the answer on “Don’t Lose Me.” The true power of Father is the hope that he and his friends — Cardi, J Cole, and more perform guest features — share regarding fidelity and the future. — A.D. Amorosi
(Extreme Eating ***)
Sleaford Mods come on with the impudence and intelligence of classic British working-class punk rock. But with a difference: the Nottingham band that has been kicking around for more than a decade are a duo, consisting of vocalist and lyric writer Jason Williamson and musician beat-maker Andrew Feam. The often abrasive attack is consciously in the lineage of first-wave punk — the title track of their 2007 album The Mekon sampled the Sex Pistols’ “Pretty Vacant” — but they’re a band for the digital, hip-hop age.