Darren Watson Announces New Album And NZ Tour This October

Published: Sun 2 Aug 2020 05:13 PM
One of Aotearoa New Zealand’s most beloved folk-blues musicians, Darren Watson, is launching his seventh album - Getting Sober For The End Of The World – in October and taking it around the country!
On the 1st of October 2020 Getting Sober For The End Of The World will be available digitally and on CD from, from good record stores, and Darren’s Watson’s NZ-wide album release shows. Tickets for shows will be on sale from 10 August at
Getting Sober For The End Of The World tells a diverse range of stories in song – from the upbeat, harmonica-laden Self Made to the dark, poignant ballad Ernie Abbott. In 1984 Abbott, Wellington Trades’ Hall caretaker, was murdered in one of New Zealand’s most infamous acts of domestic terrorism. The Trades’ Hall bombing is still unsolved and Watson exquisitely asks “…somebody’s got to know who put Ernie Abbott’s soul in God’s hands?” (There’s a music video for Ernie Abbott due to drop very soon.)
The album begins with the title track – a brassy, stomping singalong about ironically giving up partying just as life on Earth looks likely to end. Although this song was penned before the Covid-19 crisis, it is strangely prescient.
Watson says “ I wrote the song last year about the world we’re leaving my mokos. Climate change was on my mind. You know, we’d better get our shit together kind of thing. Nothing to do with Covid-19, but it totally speaks to these times for everyone around the world.”
The lock-down wiped-out the original album release and tour dates but Watson kept moving forward. He used his time at home to make a cheeky DIY video for the song Getting Sober For The End Of The World and released it as an early album taster. It got a great response, particularly from some notable fellow artists:
“If Ry Cooder had a long-lost New Zealand cousin, it would be Darren Watson. In Getting Sober For the End of the World you can smell the crawfish étouffée bubbling on the stove while a New Orleans first line shuffles and slinks past the window, the lyrics carrying you along with the unifying connection of music and humanity.”Tami Neilson
“I’m digging Getting Sober For The End Of The World. It’s not easy writing catchy tunes that carry a message, but Darren pulls it off easily, singing in his big, soulful voice: “ can hold folks up, you can knock folks down, it matters what we do and what we say.” Right on!”Rick Holmstrom (Mavis Staples Band)
Rick Holmstrom, long-time musical director for soul music legend Mavis Staples, and legendary blues guitar man, has become a fan of Watson’s work over the years. So when Darren asked him to play on a track he shouted “Oh yeah!’ and laid down his swampy trademark Telecaster sound on the catchy, back-porch funk of Alison Jane.
The new record is the long-awaited follow up to 2018’s critically acclaimed Too Many Millionaires. It is Darren Watson’s most ambitious project yet, being entirely self-recorded and produced.
Watson says “I was stoked with Millionaires and how it was received – but I reckon Getting Sober is big step up. I literally poured blood sweat and tears into every part - the lyrics, the arrangements, and the recording and mixing. Then there’s the bands’ playing! Everyone played their asses off. We captured some really dynamic performances. This one breathes, it really does. ”
The album release tour covers all main centres from Auckland to Dunedin in October, including two shows at the 2020 Wellington Folk Festival.
Visit for the full tour and ticket information.
Thursday 1 October San Fran Wellington
Friday 2 October Globe Theatre # Palmerston North
Saturday 3 October 4th Wall Theatre * New Plymouth
Thursday 8 October Paisley Stage Napier
Friday 9 October Biddy Milligans Hamilton
Saturday 10 October The Wine Cellar Auckland
Thursday 15 October Dog With Two Tails Dunedin
Friday 16 October 12 Bar Christchurch
Saturday 24 October Wellington Folk Festival + Wellington
Sunday 25 October Wellington Folk Festival + Wellington
Friday 30 October St. Peters’ Hall Paekakariki
Tickets are on sale from August 10 @ except:
+ through Wellington Folk Festival
# *
Media resources and downloads:
If you would like to request a review or broadcast digital copy of the album please email
Download press-ready photographs here
WikipediaDarren Watson – Background
Darren Watson gained New Zealand-wide fame in the late eighties as the fresh-faced principal songwriter and front-man for rhythm and blues outfit Chicago Smoke Shop. The group of blues-mad Hutt Valley teenagers made two albums, had several bona-fide radio hits, and with a few years of hard touring won a secure place in the hearts of Kiwi music fans. Before they imploded Smoke Shop earned multiple NZ Music Award nominations, and shared stages on 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-based voice. He's released six albums to date including 2002's King Size (which was nominated for a NZ Music Award), 2005's South Pacific Soul, 2010's internationally acclaimed Saint Hilda's Faithless Boy, Introducing Darren Watson from 2014. 2018's Too Many Millionaires represented a major shift in direction for the veteran musician. Recorded 'live-to-tape' at Wellington's Surgery Studios by award-winning engineer Lee Prebble (Black Seeds, Phoenix Foundation, Dave Dobbyn) the record features all acoustic performances and has received rave reviews in local and international media, including in the prestigious Downbeat (USA), and Blues Matters (UK) magazines.
Too Many Millionaires debuted at number three on the Official NZ Top 20 Album Chart and stayed in the charts for five weeks. It is by far Darren Watson's most successful album to date.
The new album Getting Sober For The End Of The World, mines similar territory to Millionaires and will be released on Thursday 1 October, 2020 and Darren will be touring to promote the record from Auckland to Dunedin and points in between - all October long. The album features seven new Watson-penned tracks, a song by local Wellington stalwart Matt Hay, and a cover of a classic Robert Johnson tune. Joining Watson on the album is a supporting cast of great musicians including Steve Moodie on double bass, Terry Casey on harmonica, Delia Shanly on percussion, Dayle Jellyman on piano, Craig Denham on accordion. Longtime Watson fan, and Mavis Staples musical director, Rick Holmstrom even joins for a track with his inimitable Pops Staples-influenced guitar style.
Album credits
Darren Watson
Getting Sober For The End Of The World
1 Getting Sober For The End Of The World 2 Self Made
3 Love That I Had*
4 Another Day
5 Ernie Abbott
6 Alison Jane 7 One Evil Man
8 Broken
9 Preachin’ Blues (Up Jumped The Devil)**
All songs written by Darren Watson (C)2020 (APRA/Control)
** by Robert Johnson (Handle Bar Music o/b/o Standing Ovation Music)
* by Matt Hay (APRA/Control)
Produced, recorded, and mixed by Darren Watson at Lamington Recording, Wellington, Aotearoa between November 2019-July 2020.
Mastered by Mike Gibson at Munki Mastering (
Darren Watson – guitar, vocals, percussion, bass guitar on Alison Jane, organ on Ernie Abbott
Delia Shanly – drums, percussion
Steve Moodie – double bass
Terry Casey – harmonica
Dayle Jellyman – piano
Craig Denham - accordion
Rick Holmstrom – electric guitar on Alison Jane
The Cold City Horns
Jacob Wynne – trumpet
Nolan Plunkett – trombone
(C) Copyright 2020 Darren Watson. All rights reserved.
(P) Real Deal Productions Ltd. T/A Lamington Records

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