[ABILENE REPORTER-NEWS] Abilene's Aaron Watson back home, still keepin' it 100 percent Texas

"The Underdog" may have been the album that got Aaron Watson over the hump, but he's not in that role as a musician anymore.

Watson, the Abilene Christian University graduate who calls Abilene home, debuted at No. 1 on Billboard's country music chart with that album in 2015, and followed with the far-ranging, musically and lyrically, "Vaquero," which produced his first national hit.

He's no longer under the radar but flying high, returning home Friday night to perform for the first time at the Taylor County Coliseum. Joining him are Texas music favorite Pat Green and Abilene native and Wylie High graduate Hunter Hutchinson, who's riding his album "Keep Rollin' On."

"Always home," he said last week from way up the road — Grand Rapids, Michigan.

With "my wife and momma living here," he said, "I think they got me anchored. It's been a while since we were in town."

He made a point to invite families to the show.

"This is an opportunity to bring the kids," he said. "That's important to me."

The Watsons, after all, have three children of their own.

His time is now

Success is a bit late coming for Watson, who turned 40 last year. He has been making music since 1999 but the success of his past two albums has gotten gigs such as an after-game show at the Texas Rangers' stadium in Arlington.

Which is great because that's in the former ballplayer's wheelhouse.

"I'd rather talk about Jesus and baseball," he'll say. The self-described "small-town guy" is just "doing it for our fans."

Like fine wine — a topic that comes up a time or two in his songs — he seems to be aging to perfection. He is not playing the young man's game in music, but rather sticking with a catchy tune with honest lyrics his fans can identify with. And, of course, keeping it Texas.

The cover depicts Watson holding his guitar one-handed in a rebellious pose. He's standing in front of the white wall of a building in Coleman, 50 or so miles down the road from Abilene. "VAQUERO" and "aaron watson" were painted on the wall atop a downward hanging Texas flag.

How Texas is that?

Read the full story at Abilene Reporter-News.

What: Aaron Watson, Pat Green and Hunter Hutchinson concert
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday
Where: Taylor County Coliseum
Tickets: $20 to $42.50. Go to www.taylorcountyexpocenter.com/events to buy tickets.