Rob Watson
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Rob Watson

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The best kept secret in music




"To Trade Hands"
Rob Watson
(Abray Records)


Two years ago, Chris Edge, then the program director at G105, told me there were two reasons he didn't play local music. First, Edge--a guy with a family and a day job--insisted he didn't know about it. Irritating, but excusable. Edge's second reservation with local releases was their apparent lack of production value. The stuff of local studios just didn't meet the rigors of his Clear Channeled platform.

Edge is gone, but, under its new leadership, G105 seems to be holding steady in its no-locals platform. And if those justifications remain, here's a request, G105: Play Rob Watson for a month, and see what happens.

If G105 is up for Watson, his songs are beyond par for the station's rather mundane playlists. His work is fueled by a nearly scholastic eclecticism, showing studies of Jeff Buckley, Joe Jackson and some dozen classic soul and rock singers. Watson attaches a genuine country charm to the rock of his debut, To Trade Hands. That appeal blooms when Watson booms through meaty choruses and coddles around sweet verses. Impressively, it manages to transcend Watson's former nice guy, one-guitar solo act while retaining all of its best characteristics: sincerity, honesty and an unforgettable, homespun voice.

G105 would do well to note that Five For Fighting's John Ondrasek has yet to conceive a single with the passion of Watson's "You Were Wrong," and Gavin Degraw--a longtime darling of the station--needs to do some living to reconcile himself with Watson's poignant piano ballad "In This World."

But there's no reason to pick on G105 exclusively: Fans of James Taylor--ahem 101.5, 93.9, et al. --would swoon at the sound of the gorgeous title track, a gentle number sublimating beneath Watson's lived-in falsetto, his knack for been-there storytelling and Caitlin Cary's violin and vocal contributions. WBBB 96.1 says it plays "Rock that knows no boundaries!" Oh, really? Try Watson's "Baby," a Scott Weiland-nostalgia barnstormer that plows through a chorus with howling distortion and booming snares 'n' cymbals on the back of Dave Bartolomew's expertly high-test production.

Come on, see what your station can do.

- Independent Weekly

"INDY WEEK Band of the Month"

Band of the Month for April 2006 - Independent Weekly

"Watching Watson"

Caitlin Cary will be lending violin work to Raleigh singer/songwriter Rob Watson's debut effort, due out sometime in February. Watson (of Kenny Roby and The New Electric Combo and Troy Smith's Kennebec) will head back into the studio during the middle of this week to finish tracking the record with Cary's drummer, Dave Bartholomew. The remainder of The Nickel Slots back Watson for the album, and Watson's girlfriend--Joanna Capps--lends backup vocals. Watson capitalizes on his memorably light guitar touch with an endearing, sincere voice, laying out acoustic pop ditties not too far removed from Howie Day's most provocative moments or Rufus Wainwright's loneliest tunes. But don't expect entirely sad songs about cold-hearted women here: Watson doubles as the occasional melodic trickster, full of ideas culled from the funkier fields of hip-hop and the "modern" side of radio rock.

Watson spent Thanksgiving Day eating lunch with his girlfriend's family and his preacher before playing a solo set at The Brewery, opening for an all-acoustic Weekend Excursion. "Yeah, it's funny. We even found out that we're neighbors. They live right down the street, and I never knew it," Watson says of the holiday gig.

For more on Watson, check out his website at
- Crayson Currin for Independent Weekly-Raleigh, NC

"Remember Me?"

Well we have seen him before. Several years back we saw Rob Watson offer a song to us for our first compilation album, The Addiction V.1, then... well nothing.
Now out of nowhere a press kit is tossed in my lap of this incredible solo artist backed by one hell of a band. Only 2 words are included with the package...Remember Me? Thats right, it's Rob Watson, and he is back in a big way. We will feature some of his music here in the coming months as he releases his new album which in my opinion, is one of the best new albums by an indie we have heard so far in 2005.
Best of Luck to ya! -

"CD Review"

CD Review
Rob Watson
To Trade Hands
Rating: ««« (2.5 stars of 4)

North Carolina-based multi-instrumentalist, songwriter & vocalist Rob Watson’s first full-length solo album To Trade Hands is an ambitious effort that covers lots of latitude – maybe too much. Watson’s talent is undeniable, but the sheer range will leave you feeling like this performer is still searching for a defining sound.

Jumping from hooky pop overdrive to all out rock numbers, classic ballads to country-influenced idylls, To Trade Hands showcases Watson’s ability to switch gears (and instruments) easily. Even his songwriting vacillates between seriousness and silliness. The bitter, sarcasm-laden, “Lead Chlorine and Ammonia” and “Save My Son” have the energy of Cowboy Mouth (ironically, Watson, who is known for his drum skills, doesn’t play drums on either of these two tracks – unlike Mouth’s LeBlanc). Influences of classic rock spot the effort in songs like “Baby” and “No More Games,” which rings with overtones of Queen.

At his strongest on slower, steadily paced numbers, like “You Were Wrong” and “Runaway,” Watson is clear and concise, with songwriting to be taken seriously. Kudos for sentimental value on “Reasons,” on which Watson duets with his wife Joanna. It’s touching and real…perhaps that what’s makes it one of the strongest tracks on the album.

Watson would do well to pare down his offerings – there’s enough here for three very different albums. However, if you’re an adventurous listener, To Trade Hands may be just your cup of tea.


To Trade Hands, Rob Watson-2005

Carolina Music Compilation, Abray-2004
The Addiction V.1 Compilation,


Feeling a bit camera shy


If you mix John Mayer, Curtis Mayfield and Ryan Adams, you will come up with Rob Watson. Not one to be classified, Rob spans just about all genres of music but his talent tends to lead him to radio quality modern rock, with a live show not to miss! Singer, songwriter, pianist, drummer and guitarist Rob Watson is one of North Carolina’s best kept musical secrets. Hailing from Raleigh, NC, Rob Watson is a pure soul singer. In his voice, you can hear traces of U2’s Bono, the late Jeff Buckley and damn, even Curtis Mayfield. He also plays the @#$% out of his guitar. Watson is a rarity. While others folks are content screaming their bloody heads off about, well, nothing, he pours his heart out and he actually has something to say. Watson’s voice oozes originality, texture and a dash of pain. Watson first caused a stir a few years back with his band Abby 6, for which he played drums and sang lead vocals and sold out the cities music venue, The Brewery, nearly every month. Now Watson is back fronting his new venture and once again tuning heads... not just his home city but the state as well. With his new album (To Trade Hands,2005) Rob is hitting the road as well as the radio to spread the word that people still do make great music, still write great songs and if you can believe it, some even still play their own instruments!