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Aaron Watson Reinvents Dolly Parton, Lady Gaga Songs (Review)

It’s a tall order to cover both Dolly Parton and Lady Gaga. Aaron Watson manages to step up to the plate and hit home runs. He flips Parton’s iconic, coffee-swilling “9 to 5” and Gaga’s piano ballad “Million Reasons” on their heads, turning in evocative reinventions. In each case, Watson flexes his vocal chops, while enlisting two rising women of country music.

With “9 to 5,” Kylie Frey lends her vocals to delivering a performance worthy of such a legendary country song. “In the same boat with a lot of your friends / Waitin’ for the day your ship’ll come in,” she sings, a bit of a snarl in her approach. “And the tide’s gonna turn / And it’s all gonna roll you away.”

Conversely, Morgan Myles brings a light and smooth vocal tone to “Million Reasons,” etched with acoustic guitar and crescendoing production. “Head stuck in a cycle, I look off and I stare,” she sings with a caramel thickness. “It’s like that I’ve stopped breathing, but completely aware / ‘Cause you’re giving me a million reasons.”

“9 to 5” and “Million Reasons” sample a forthcoming record called Cover Girl, on which Watson covers songs by women and is joined by bright newcomers. The set also features songs by Taylor Swift, Emmylou Harris, Rosanne Cash, Cyndi Lauper, and The Pretenders.

Listen to “9 to 5” and “Million Reasons” below.

The record, featuring 11 songs, finds Watson handing over the microphone to strong, incredibly talent women. “I’ve gotten the chance to share the stage with a number of incredibly talented female artists who are hustling the independent game just like I am,” he explains in a press statement “When I decided to do [this] record, I knew I wanted to find females that I believed in and knew would be an asset to the song.”

As far as new music goes, he’s “very far along” on the next all-original studio record. “Between Covid and being on bed rest and having to have surgery on my vocal cords last year it has made me even more appreciative of what I do,” he tells Entertainment Focus. “There’s nothing better than being given the opportunity to make music for a living. I’m also very inspired to do better right now; I have a real fire inside me.”

Cover Girl releases later this year.

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