Country musician Duane Watson takes the stage at Gabby’s on Sept. 26. (Duane Watson/Langley Advance Times)

Country musician Duane Watson takes the stage at Gabby’s on Sept. 26. (Duane Watson/Langley Advance Times)

Self-professed B.C. long-haired redneck takes centre stage

Duane Watson performs in Langley at Gabby’s Country Cabaret Sept. 26

Duane Watson, an upcoming performer at Gabby’s Country Cabaret, is one of those guys who’s career in country music sounds comparable to the lives of icons Johnny Cash or Waylon Jennings.

With an on-again-off-again career for five decades, the gruff and bearded country-western artist said he’s only now finding out what both he and music are capable of.

“It’s like therapy – I’m just getting back into it,” Watson explained.

Now 61 years of age and living in Mission, Watson recalled that his transient childhood spent in remote northern towns liked Fort St. Johns and Watson Lake, Yukon started it all for him musically.

“There was no power, no running water, nothing. We used to say ‘running water? Run and get it!’,” Watson laughed. “So I started playing music for something to do when I was seven or eight.”

Watson said he started bouncing around the coffee houses in town when he was 11 years old, laughing that he most likely butchered classics like “Harvest” and “Heart of Gold” by Neil Young.

Then there was the Rumsy Hotel, which he described as being about as big as a cigar box. Watson started playing outside the bar until getting invited in to play.

Watson laughed as he recalled being paid in drinks before the owner realized it would be cheaper just to give him the cash.

From then on, it was non-stop touring through B.C. and the prairies with with a three-peice-band and a set-list of classic cover tunes from giants like Hank Williams.

“I was living the rock and roll life and all the money I was making went up my nose,” Watson said. A particular low point for the musician was a stint in jail after an altercation turned violent.

Watson said he soon got himself clean and hasn’t touched drugs or alcohol since 2000, the same year he met “love of his life,” Karen McKenzie.

It was at that same point he put away the guitar and left the music business all together.

Watson said it was the death of Eagles front-man Glenn Frey in 2016 that rekindled something musically inside of him.

Read More: Langley country artist’s career gets sparked on local radio

For the first time in his life, Watson found himself penning original tunes – all taken from and inspired by his own life.

“I don’t know what that says about me, but I can only write about things that have happened to me or that I know,” he explained.

Twangy tunes like “Son of a War Vet” dive into his family’s past while others like “Billy Miner” explore the western history of places he’s lived.

Watson has since assembled a four-peice-group with bass player John Saunders, drummer Steve Lindsay, and guitarist Willie B. Sober. He’s recorded seventeen original works, wrote more than forty songs, and even earned himself an Artist of the Year Award through a New Zealand radio station, Galaxy FM.

“Never give up. I’m doing something original now and living my dream,” Watson said, “and I’ve never had so much fun. It’s incredible…I’m on cloud nine…wow…what a life!”

When it came to his impending performance in Langley, Watson said he laughed when was initially given a 45 minute set, insisting he could easily do double that time since many of his songs run long.

Duane Watson got his wish and will be playing late into the night starting at 8 p.m., Thursday, Sept 26, at Gabby’s Country Cabaret, 20297 Fraser Hwy.

$10 tickets available on eventbrite. People can follow Watson on his Facebook page.

_________________________________

Is there more to this story?

Email: ryan.uytdewilligen@langleyadvancetimes.com

Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter

_________________________________

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Motorists breaking travel rules can be fined $230 for failing to follow instructions or $575 if the reason for travel violates the essential travel health order, at this Highway 3 check area near Manning Park. Photo RCMP
RCMP begin stopping drivers on BC highways – check point at Manning Park

Four check points are set up Thursday May 6 around the province

The Aquilini Investment Group has agreed to a proposed contract of five years to run the Abbotsford Centre. (File photo)
Proposal to run Abbotsford Centre offered to Canucks ownership group

Planned five-year contract to cost city $750K annually, starting Jan. 1, 2022

Integrated Homicide Investigation Team Sgt. Frank Jang said outside of Langley Sportsplex at 91a Ave and 200 Street after a man was fatally shot in April 2021. (Black Press Media file)
LETTER: Casual drug users have link to gang killings, says Langley letter writer

The Lower Mainland is in the midst of another gang war and the illicit drug market is part of it

Dr. Bonnie Henry B.C.’s provincial health officer, updates the COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
BREAKING: Willoughby added to list of high-transmission COVID zones

Anyone 30 and over in the area can now register for a vaccine

RCMP were called to collision in the area of 200th Street and 44th Avenue on Tuesday, May 4, 2021 around 4:30 p.m. (Anngela Bayer/Special to Langley Advance Times)
PHOTOS: Langley RCMP called to crash after car turns in front of Jeep

The incident happened on Tuesday and resulted in minor injuries

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O’Connell photo)
VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

Surrey RCMP is investigating after a serious three-vehicle crash at the intersection of King George Boulevard and 128th Street Thursday afternoon (May 6, 2021). (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
VIDEO: Serious crash in Surrey sends 1 to hospital

Surrey RCMP say one of the drivers fled on foot, but was later found at an area hospital

Starting Tuesday, May 11, B.C. adults born in 1981 and earlier will be able to register for a vaccine dose. (Haley Ritchie/Black Press Media)
BC adults 40+ eligible to book COVID-19 vaccinations next week

Starting Tuesday, people born in 1981 and earlier will be able to schedule their inoculation against the virus

John Paul Fraser, executive director of the BC Salmon Farmers Association. (Screen shot)
Salmon farmers warn Surrey jobs on line as feds end Discovery Islands operations

344 full-time jobs at risk in Surrey and 1,189 B.C.-wide

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Parks Canada and Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks dig the washed up Princess M out from sand along the south shore of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Rescue attempt costs man his boat off Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Coast Guard response questioned after volunteer responder’s speedboat capsizes in heavy swells

Al Kowalko shows off the province’s first electric school bus, running kids to three elementary and two secondary schools on the West Shore. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
B.C.’s first electric school bus making the rounds in Victoria suburbs

No emissions, no fuel costs and less maintenance will offset the $750K upfront expense

Road sign on Highway 1 west of Hope warns drivers of COVID-19 essential travel road checks on the highways into the B.C. Interior. (Jessica Peters/Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. residents want travel checks at Alberta border, MLA says

Police road checks in place at highways out of Vancouver area

Victoria police say the photo they circulated of an alleged cat thief was actually a woman taking her own cat to the vet. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Photo of suspected cat thief released by Victoria police actually just woman with her pet

Police learned the she didn’t steal Penelope the cat, and was actually taking her cat to the vet

Most Read