This World Would Be All Sunshine
Review from Raleigh News & Observer December 14, 2008
By Jack Bernhardt
Triangle audiences enjoyed Jim Watson's soaring high tenor when he performed as a founding member of Red Clay Ramblers, bassist with Robin and Linda Williams' Fine Group, and in numerous combinations of bluegrass and old-time music bands.
From time to time, Watson takes center stage in a solo recording, and the results are always among high points in the Triangle's traditional music scene. Just in time for the holidays' embrace of heart and hearth, "This World Would Be All Sunshine," on Watson's own Barker Records, celebrates family and home with a 16-song CD that's as brilliant in execution as it is timely.
Backed by local pickers and singers -- including former Ramblers Bill Hicks and Mike Craver, Tony and Gary Williamson, LeRoy Savage, Joe Newberry and Alice Gerrard -- Watson casts his gaze homeward "Somewhere Down Below the Dixon Line" to the "Sweet Sunny South."
He draws from the repertoires of such Southern luminaries as Jimmie Rodgers, Charlie Poole, the Carter Family and the Stanley Brothers. He sings wistfully of "Daddy and Home" and "A Vision of Mother," and wonders whether his absence has made her heart grow fond of another in "Have I Stayed Away Too Long."
Watson's tales of prodigal sons and redemption, orphans and isolation, loneliness and reunion, and home sweet home are insightful reminders that kinship is the thread that binds us through the holidays and always.
December 14, 2008