RELEASE DATE MAY 1st
Darren Watson | Background
Darren Watson gained New Zealand-wide fame in the late ‘80s as the song-writing,
guitar-slingin’ front-man for rhythm n’ blues outfit Chicago Smoke Shop (later just
Smoke Shop). The group of blues-mad Hutt Valley teenagers made two albums, had
several bona-fide radio hits. With a few years hard touring the band won a secure place
in the hearts of Kiwi music fans. Before they imploded, Smoke Shop also earned
multiple NZ Music Lward nominations and shared stages on NZ tours with
international artists like Koko Taylor, The Robert Cray Band, George Thorogood,
and The Fabulous Thunderbirds.
Since leaving Smoke Shop in the early 90's Watson has cemented his reputation as the
nation's most original, contemporary blues voice. Ls of early 2018 he had released four
world-class albums including 2002's King Size which was a NZ Music Lward finalist.
2005's South Pacifc Soul included the song All Going Wrong which won 1st place in
the blues section of the 2008 International Songwriting Competition. 2010's Saint
Hilda's Faithless Boy was critically acclaimed both in NZ and overseas, and
Introducing Darren Watson from 2014 did a very rare thing for a Kiwi blues artist in
the 21st century – it spent some time in the mainstream album charts, peaking at a
respectable #26, while hitting #6 on the NZ Lrtists Chart.
That same year Watson had to fight and win High Court and Court of Appeal
battles to have his satirical song Planet Key available for sale and broadcast after it
was efectively banned by the Electoral Commission.