Willie Watson has announced his self-titled debut solo album, set for release on Sept. 13 via Little Operation Records and More (Thirty Tigers). Though Watson’s career as a singer, songwriter, and poet has spanned over 30 years and countless projects, this is the multi-instrumentalist’s first solo record of original material. In anticipation of the eponymous set, the folk musician released the effort’s first single, “Real Love,” as a preview of his new sound, and an accompanying music video directed by Joseph Wasilewski.

With the impending set, Watson chose to put together a band that would assist in self-exploration while recontextualizing a new era. Recorded in Los Angeles and produced by Gabe Witcher and Kenneth Pattengale, Willie Watson features a number of talented musicians from various moments in the founding member of Old Crow Medicine Show’s personal history, including Benmont Tench on keys, Paul Kowert on bass, Dylan Day on guitar, Jason Boesel on drums and Sami Braman on fiddle.

“Real Love” previews the totality of the impending project. Written for his wife, Mindy, the single is a testament to their partnership’s endurance across mundane and spectacular moments, with the line “this is the only real love that I have ever known” operating as both refrain and affirmation. The Wasilewski-led video calls attention to both Watson’s project of self-exploration and past alike, as clips of Watson playing guitar by himself in various locations are juxtaposed alongside footage of the pair slow dancing in those same places. “This record is me beating the devil, or the story of what finally did it anyway. I didn’t make any specific pact or anything but I know we’ve been tangled up most of my life. Now that he’s gone I can love myself again,” Watson stated.

Alongside the reveal of his upcoming record, Watson also unveiled a series of North American tour dates with stops across the continent—everywhere from New York to British Columbia, Tennessee and Los Angeles, before heading back to his home state of New York to close out the lengthy run. Between solo dates, Watson will support Old Crow Medicine Show for a July 19 performance at Portland, Maine’s State Theater, as well as a number of midwestern dates in late November. He is also set for several festival appearances, including The Trails End Music Festival in Etna, Calif., on June 28 and 29, Trumansberg, N.Y.’s Finger Lakes GrassRoots Festival on July 20 and Ossipee Valley Music Festival in Hiram, Maine, on July 26. 

Fans can purchase tickets for and find more information about Willie Watson’s tour here and pre-order Willie Watson. Read on for a complete list of upcoming tour dates.

Upcoming Willie Watson Tour Dates

June 28-29The Trails End Music FestivalEtna, Calif. 

 July 18The Word BarnExeter, N.H.

July 19State TheaterPortland, Maine*

July 20Finger Lakes GrassRoots FestivalTrumansberg, N.Y.

July 23Caffe LenaSaratoga Springs, N.Y.

July 25Nectar’sBurlington, Vt.

July 26Ossipee Valley Music FestivalHiram, Maine

Aug. 22Pitchfork SocialSalt Spring Island, British Columbia

Aug. 23The Orillia Street Music HallVictoria, British Columbia

 Sept. 21Planet BluegrassLyons, Colo.

Sept. 25Bijou TheaterKnoxville, Tenn

Sept. 28The BurLexington, Ky.

Sept. 29The ArkAnn Arbor, Mich 

Oct. 1HI-Fi AnnexIndianapolis

Oct. 2SPACEEvanston, Ill. 

Oct. 4Stoughton Opera HouseStoughton, Wisc.

Oct. 5Thrasher Opera HouseGreen Lake, Wisc.

Oct. 6DakotaMinneapolis   

Oct. 30Pico Union ProjectLos Angeles

Nov. 1Felton Music HallFelton, Calif.

Nov. 2Mystic Theater & Music HallPetaluma, Calif.

Nov. 3Freight & SalvageBerkeley, Calif.

Nov. 6Tractor TavernSeattle, Wash. 

Nov. 7Wild BuffaloBellingham, Wash.  

Nov. 8Mississippi StudiosPortland, Ore. 

Nov. 9Biltmore CabaretVancouver, British Columbia

Nov. 11Top Hat LoungeMissoula, Mont.

Nov. 12The RialtoBozeman, Mont.  

Nov. 15The CoastFort Collins, Colo.

Nov. 16Globe HallDenver  

Nov. 19KnuckleheadsKansas City, Mo. 

Nov. 20The PageantSt Louis*  

Nov. 21Val Air Ballroom WestDes Moines, Iowa*

Nov. 22Riverside TheaterMilwaukee*

Nov. 23Hancher AuditoriumIowa City, Iowa*

Dec. 3Basement EastNashville, Tenn.

Dec. 4The Grey Eagle Music HallAsheville, N.C.

Dec. 6Union StageWashington

Dec. 7 – The SouthernCharlottesville, Va. 

Dec. 8Ardmore Music HallArdmore, Pa.

Dec. 10The SinclairBoston

Dec. 12Bowery BallroomNew York 

Dec. 13Levon Helm StudiosWoodstock, N.Y.  

Dec. 14Hangar TheatreIthaca, N.Y. 

* supporting Old Crow Medicine Show