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In 2002 Watson released his first album, Shutupanddance, which was a major success in Texas, spawning the hit singles "Off the Record," "I Don't Want You to Go (But I Need You to Leave)," and the title tune. The album also earned him airplay and media attention nationwide, and Watson followed up his debut in 2004 with The Honky Tonk Kid, which was produced by Ray Benson of Asleep at the Wheel and featured guest vocals from Watson's hero, Willie Nelson. Watson and his band the Orphans of the Brazos captured their energetic live set on tape with their 2005 release Live at the Texas Hall of Fame, and Watson returned to the studio in 2006 for his fourth album, San Angelo.
In 2008 Watson began transforming his sound -- albeit subtly and without leaving his Texas roots behind -- toward a more contemporary country radio-friendly one on the reflective Angels & Outlaws. In 2010 he released The Road & the Rodeo, returning to more uptempo material, while smoothing his edges further. The result was more airplay, higher-profile touring engagements, and charting inside Billboard's Top 200. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi