Since the late 1990s, Aaron Watson has cranked out high-quality, no-frills country music, growing a considerable following and eventually racking up major sales despite never being signed to a record label. By the early 2010s, the Texas-bred singer-songwriter broke through to the mainstream, with 2015's aptly titled The Underdog becoming the first album by an independent male artist to top Billboard's Top Country Albums chart in its debut week. On American Soul, Watson adopts an "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" mentality, delivering another solid collection of honest, narrative country songs steeped in tradition and tempered by modern sensibilities.
Opening track "Silverado Saturday Night" is red-dirt gold, with Watson inviting a love interest to "climb on up and slide on in" his Silverado, somehow breaking new ground in well-trod territory. "Long Live Cowboys" is a quintessential light-night jukebox jaunt, followed by the poppy groove of "Stay." "Best Friend," which Watson wrote in tribute to his late dog, is an unexpected tearjerker, declaring, "A dog will never break your heart." And closer "Dog Tags" is a tribute to troops that finds emotional resonance without treacly jingoism.