Watermelon Slim - Escape From the Chicken Coop
13 Tracks 44 min 01 sec
Style: Truck Driver’s Country
William “Bill aka Watermelon Slim” Homans is his name and trucking is his game. And it seems the long hours and years of ‘life on the road’ have not only driven this “wheel man’ down highways suited for crafting his blues singing and songwriting but now also to another dream come true: to record a country music CD, dedicated to Dave Dudley, ‘the father of truck driving county music’.
I have to say I was somewhat surprised after I stuck the CD into my car’s player (and admittedly, I’d not done any homework on Watermelon’s newest release prior to my first listen). I sat back and waited for the unique story telling blues and slide guitar playing tunes that only a 6-time BMA winner can produce. Yet, the next thing I heard come out of my mouth as I was driving down the road, was ‘this ain’t blues! It’s country.”
And then something nostalgic and familiar was aroused within my musical memory of country, the likes of David Allan Coe, Waylon Jennings, Hank Williams (Sr and Jr). And I know you remember the Outlaw to Urban Cowboy Craze of the 70’s and 80’s. It then hit me how fitting it was that I had just embarked on a 6 hour drive for the Thanksgiving holidays to go home to family with a bluesman’s truck-driver’s CD. Perfect!
So if you want to see another side of an extremely creative musician who can do it all, get your copy of Escape from the Chicken Coop because you’ll enjoy it as much as any blues CD of Watermelon’s—a man who no one can claim is one-dimensional.
Of the 13 tracks, all songs were written by Watermelon, except for collaborations on Track 3 “You See Me Like I See You” and Track 6 “Should Have Done More”, both co-written with Gary Nicholson (Delbert McClinton songwriter); and Track 4 Roy Acuff’s “Wreck on the Highway”; Track 7 Hank Williams “You Wrote My Life” and Track 9 Sonny Throckmorton’s “The Way I Am”.
You’ll be rocking out country crunk style to Track 1’s “Caterpillar Whine”, laughing at the lyrics of Track 2’s “Skinny Women and Fat Cigars” and Track 10’s “It’s Never Too Hard to be Humble”, two-stepping to the sweet harmonic vocals of Watermelon and Jenny Littleton on Track 3’s “You See Me Like I See You”; and touched by the “Should Have Done More” ballad. Hank Williams lovers will enjoy Slim’s rendition of “You Wrote My Life” and you’ll wrap in true trucker style to Track 12 and 13’s “Truck Drivin’ Songs” and “18, 18 Wheeler”.
Really, blues and country aren’t far apart in the truest sense. They are both early American root music forms whether immigrating from traditional folk, Celtic or Gospel--with country music often thought of as a subgenre of blues. And the talents of Nashville players, producers and songwriters obviously saw what a gem we already knew we had in our own Watermelon Slim. We’re happy to share him because we know Watermelon lives ‘true’ to self and that’s what makes one a blessed and enriched blues or country music jewel. It’s an honor when that person then wants to share their internal joy through their musical and creative gifts. Thank you Watermelon and see you in Nashville (or Clarksdale) real soon.
Reviewer Belinda Foster is a Columnist and Contributing Writer for Greenville SC Magazine “Industry Mag” and former manager of Mac Arnold & Plate Full O’Blues. She currently books blues-rock-jam musicians and is a devoted promoter and supporter of live blues root music and history, making frequent trips to “The Crossroads” and Clarksdale Mississippi, birthplace of the blues. Her column “The Upstate Blues Report” can be found on line at www.industrymag.net.