Dale Watson's forthcoming new album, The Memphians, is unlike anything he's done before. The all-instrumental record takes its cues from its title city, Memphis, Tenn., with the Ameripolitan singer-songwriter finding his inspiration in the southern city's culture and history, and in the guitar greats of decades past.

In particular, the song "Deep Eddy" -- premiering exclusively on The Boot -- honors Rock and Roll Hall of Fame guitarist Duane Eddy, a Corning, N.Y., native known for his twangy, Lee Hazlewood-produced records in the 1950s and early '60s. Though Eddy spent his life and career largely in Arizona, Watson explains that the artist's "big-note guitar sound was influential in my guitar playing as much or more than anyone."

""Deep Eddy,” as the title suggests, is my tip of the hat to Duane Eddy," Watson tells The Boot. "Recording th[is album] album live, no overdubs and all in the same room in Memphis gave it the right vibe. That’s the vibe that has always drawn me to Memphis, and eventually drew me to move there. It’s still a raw, independent city of musical history, and I think it comes through on this record."

"Deep Eddy" is one of 10 vocalless tracks on The Memphians, Watson's first instrumental-only album in a career that spans three decades and more than 20 albums. The artist spent the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic at his home in Memphis, which includes a basement analog studio, dubbed Wat-Sun Studios, a play off Watson's name and the city's famed Sun Studio; he'd long considered an instrumental record to be a "if I ever got round to it" project, and, finally, the timing was right.

"Instrumentals were much more prevalent when I was growing up, and from all genres.
I miss that," Watson explains. "I decided, what the heck ... I’d make an instrumental record."

Watson wrote all 10 songs on The Memphians, including four with Mario Monterosso, who also plays electric guitar on the album. In addition to Monterosso, Watson used the band of Memphis-based musicians he'd been playing with on his livestreams as his studio band. They rehearsed at his bar, Hernando's Hideaway, then recorded the project in two days.

Watson splits his time between Memphis and Austin, Texas, and owns honky-tonks in both cities, as well as in San Antonio, Texas. He's the forefather of the Ameripolitan subgenre of country music -- a home for honky-tonk, outlaw and more traditional styles -- and runs the annual Ameripolitan Music Awards.

The Memphians is due out on Friday (Feb. 26). It's available to pre-order and pre-save now.

Listen to Dale Watson's "Deep Eddy":

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