I write a lot,” says American roots artist Dale Watson.

“It doesn’t mean I write good songs, but I do write a lot of songs. So I think as with anything, you keep at it and you get better at it.”

And after 30 years of writing, and playing, he has honed his craft as a honky tonk country musician into a fine art.

“As for writing just a simple country song, I can accept that I’m good at that,” he says. “I’m just really, really grateful to be able to do what I do for a living, for as long as I’ve been doing it.”

He may have called his most recent album Call Me Lucky, but there’s more than just chance at play in Dale’s adoration by the Texas country world. His music comes from the heart and soul, and his songs are the result of life well lived. As Rolling Stone said of his tune The Dumb Song: “It mixes a devilish charm with a touch of smarm as he rattles off the bad habits he won’t quit, from drinking and smoking to eating Southern fried chicken.”

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Recorded at historic Sam Phillips Recording in Memphis, the track channels early Johnny Cash and features Carl Perkins and Cash’s former drummer, W.C. Holland, to nail the vintage sound (you can hear Holland shouting “Yes!” at the end of the song).

Tonight Dale drops into Oxford for a show at The Bullingdon, in Cowley Road, alongside his band The Lonestars.

The Grand Ol’ Opry favourite has a loyal following, with fans including Willie Nelson. And like Willie, Dale lives the life he sings about.

A fixture of the Austin, Texas, music scene for years, he now divides his time between there and Memphis, selling bars he owned in Texas to buy Memphis nightclub Hernando’s Hideaway in an effort to provide a hospitable place for touring musicians to perform.

Taking his cue from such legends as Hank Williams, he keeps his short – most clocking in at roughly three minutes long – sometimes less.

“I’ve always been a fan of keeping songs short,” he says. “Long ago, I went to a library and checked out Tom T. Hall’s How I Write Songs, and in there, he said it’s not about keeping the songs short, it’s keeping the point. Make your point and get out. That’s always been my way of writing. There are some songs I’ve written that go on a bit more like a story, but I guess it’s probably my ADD [attention deficit disorder] that I don’t drag it out too much.”

Dale Watson and The Lonestars play The Bullingdon, Oxford, tonight. For tickets, go to wegottickets.com