Lovin’ My Music
A Journey With One of the
Best Voices in the Business!
The Music of Gene Watson
It’s not about the type of song he sings but how he delivers it to an audience that has kept this fan-favorite singer in the music business for more than half a century. Gene Watson built and maintains his style in the tradition of classic country music. While he says singing came natural, it’s the way he marries his voice to the music that fans (and peers alike) appreciate. And there’s no doubt he remains loyal to that tradition.
Known as the “Singer’s Singer” Watson’s songs have charted numerous times with multiple songs on the charts at the same time. But it was the 1981 release of “14 Carat Mind” that climbed to the top of the charts giving him his first #1 hit on US charts.
Watson says: ”It was climbing up the charts and then Santa Claus came – records always stalled through the holidays. But when I woke up on January 1st you fans had made it my first #1 hit!”
In 1977 “Paper Rosie” reached #1 on Canadian charts, and over his lengthy career he has had dozens of songs in the Top Ten.
Unassuming in his success, he told Inside Music Row he had not sought to make a career in music. He loved/loves cars, and custom body work was his job by day–playing clubs by night. “It didn’t matter how/where I worked because whatever I was doing they were going to hear me sing.”
Fifty-two years after beginning his career as a teenager in Houston TX, Watson is still singing his hits, touring more than 100 dates per year, and releasing a tribute album to his mentors entitled
“My Heroes Have Always Been Country”
On this CD, he salutes those he looked to during his career as the standard bearers and wanted to give a shot at those powerful songs becoming a “Gene Watson Song.” All 11 tracks of “My Heroes Have Always Been Country” are worthy of top billing although I picked my favorites the first time I played it.
One of my favorites is a tribute to the late and talented Dottie West (10/11/32 – 9/4/91). He puts his soulful touch on “Here Comes My Baby Back Again” – which won Dottie a Grammy in 1965.
Saying he felt he must include a Merle Haggard song on this album, he makes “I Forget You Everyday” not just a song to remember but adds his no-one-sounds-like-Gene-sounds to the words
“..for a little while / I forget you / everyday”
The haunting “Long Black Veil” gained folksong status when first recorded by Lefty Frizzell in the 50s. The song was recorded by Johnny Cash and ultimately covered by numerous artists from a wide range of genres. Gene uniquely interprets the song making it his own.
With a nod to Johnny Paycheck’s “Slide Off of Your Satin Sheets,” Gene additionally pays tribute to George Jones with “Walk Through This World With Me” as well as the Eddy Arnold hit (written by Hank Cochran) “Make the World Go Away.”
Watson states he had been singing “Make the World Go Away” in shows years before it was a hit for Arnold – “doing it my way – different than other singers performed that song.”
Including the Marty Robbins song “Count Me Out,” Willie Nelson’s “Turn Out the Lights (The Party’s Over¹),” and Merle’s “It’s Not Love (But It’s Not Bad)” enhanced by Gene’s special touch rekindles the listener’s memory of music from a bygone era.
¹Fans may remember that song’s opening line was associated with the famous “Dandy Don” Meredith on Monday Night Football in the 70s & 80s.
Listen to Gene’s own introduction to the songs selected for this collection at his website. Get tour dates and other information about the “Singer’s Singer” at:
You can connect with him on Twitter @GeneWatsonMusic
Gene’s ability to wrap his words around the note and produce a sensual sound touches my heart & soul. You would never mistake a song by him as anyone else’s voice! His still-strong (and maybe better than ever) voice, that unique sound, and the ability to hold a note long beyond its normal shelf-life is what keeps me coming back for more.
His sound takes me back to the 1970s & 80s when he was enjoying radio air play on country stations and we were dancing in clubs to his music. Lucky for us fans he hasn’t stopped producing new music & appearing in concert. Unique is only good if the uniqueness works. And it works for Gene Watson who has built a career & life-long fans based on his quality & quantity of music.
LIVE IN CONCERT!
If Gene Watson and his Farewell Party Band come to a location near you, don’t miss it. The Band is a collection of talented & entertaining musicians who draw you into the fun on stage. You know they’ve performed that song thousands of times, but they make it feel brand new at that moment.
Gene certainly doesn’t disappoint on stage. A journey through his catalog of songs seems to never end – and that’s a reward for his fans.
When you are in Gene’s audience and he announces
“The most requested song I ever recorded”
you know for the next 4 minutes you will be spellbound–from the first steel guitar riff to the most famous of all endings. You’ll only regret one thing when he and his Farewell Party Band begin the buildup for
“I know you’ll be glad when I’m gone!”
You’ll say it’s too soon for the concert to come to an end. It’s only fitting he closes with his hit “Farewell Party” because it does feel like a party when you see his performance. Whether onstage or on recorded music, Gene Watson leaves you wanting more.
He has been honored by the industry and recognized with induction into the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame in 2002 and the inaugural class of the Houston Music Hall of Fame in August 2013.
Watson sums up his lengthy career in a recent CMT review:
I think a lot of it is because there’s not too much of what I do around anymore. I think there is still such a hunger out there for traditional country music. So I’d like to stay out there as long as I’m able to do the job and do it well.”
And fans agree.
Notes: Quotes from 1) Watson during live show 7/5/14, Weatherford TX 2) "Inside Music Row"Interview 6/11/14 (& posted on Genewatsonmusic.com) 3) Career review:http://www.cmt.com/artists/gene-watson/biography/ (& posted on Genewatsonmusic.com) Photos by Van ‘14 1) Van with Gene Watson, July 5, 2014, Texas Opry Theater, Weatherford TX 2) Autographed CDs from the man who’s been doing this job of taking us on a journey of sounds for half a century. 3) Gene on stage Contacts: official site: genewatsonmusic.com Twitter: @Genewatson.com Facebook: www.facebook.com/genewatsonmusic Gene's Fan Site can be found @ http://gene-watson.com/ Write to Gene: Artist@Lytlemgmt.com Management & Media Contact: Sarah Brosmer at Lytle Management Group P.O. Box 128228 Nashville, TN 37212 Email: Artist@Lytlemgmt.com Phone: 615-770-2688 Booking: Rob Battle Battle Artist Agency Email: RBattleArtistAgent@United.Net Phone: (615) 368-7433
New on my CD Player :
B. J. Thomas – The Living Room Sessions
My generation has made many advancements in science, technology and travel…but there’s no other voice that can transport you across the miles and years like the honey-dripped voice of B. J. Thomas. It doesn’t matter if he’s backed by an orchestra, a lone guitar, or if he just steps up to the mike and lets his voice be the instrument.
I am lucky enough to have been listening to B. J. since a pre-teen. When he formed the Triumphs out of Richmond/Rosenberg TX, I lived near the Houston area so teenage girls waited for the radio to play one of the local boy’s fabulous songs.
When I was 12 and my sister 16, we were traveling from the Houston area to the Hill Country. We spotted a van marked with B. J. Thomas & The Triumphs on the road. We got so excited…but Daddy pulled around the van…and that was that. A little later when we stopped in Bastrop TX for lunch, you’ll never believe who parked beside us! Yes!! all those good looking guys with long hair and guitars. Swoon swoon…..
In 1980 I began working with a non-profit sponsor group who invited B. J. to celebrity golf tournaments and celebrity shows. At a Larry Gatlin* tournament, my 12-year old daughter and I went to watch the game, rub shoulders with the celebs, get photos and autographs. And then it happened. B. J. Thomas agreed to a picture with my 12-year old daughter and me…my swoon was on again.
There’s not one particular song I can say is my favorite of this hit-maker. “Most of All,” “Hooked on a Feeling,” and “Whatever Happened to Old Fashioned Love” fight for that top slot in my mind.
Now I can hear them all again in new arrangements and guest voices on the B. J. Thomas Duets Album – The Living Room Sessions. If you love the way B. J. can make a word endure and hang on through several notes and drip down like syrup, then you’ll enjoy “sitting in” on the session.
My autographed copy! ↑
Listen here to B. J. & Keb’ Mo’ sing “Most of All”:
Visit B. J.’s website: http://bjthomas.com/
As interesting as the arrangements are the guest voices on the project: Vince Gill, Etta Britt, Lyle Lovett, Keb’ Mo’, Isaac Slade, Richard Marx, Sara Niemietz and Steve Tyrell (you can find introductory segments on youtube for most of the selections). But you’ll want to hear them over and over, so the CD is a MUST for anyone who loves B. J.’s music.
* Larry Gatlin will be reviewed here later.
Here’s another fabulous singer & his music:1/19/14
I first saw Kenny Rogers in the early 1980s when he was on the lineup of the Stars for Children show in Dallas TX. The Stars for Children was a charity begun by the Oak Ridge Boys in cooperation with some businessmen in Dallas to raise funds for the prevention of child abuse. The Oaks headed that charity show for 5 years and invited their “friends” to join them. I had the honor of working with the local charity.
I continued to hear Kenny’s music for years on many radio stations– both on the country charts and the pop charts.
A few years ago I purchased his CD Timepiece (orchestral sessions with David Foster), and that became one of my favorite listening CDs. Coming from Houston jazz clubs, Rogers allows these great songs to spotlight his soulful sound in “Love is Here to Stay,” “My Funny Valentine,” and “My Romance.” A must have for anyone who loves his music because he treats these songs as “old friends.”
Just recently I was looking for an all-time-hits collection of Kenny’s and found Kenny Rogers – The Best of (original recordings-issued Jul 2006). This CD includes all his greatest story-telling hits like “Lucille,” “The Gambler,” and “Coward of the County”; but he does not forget to include the great love songs sung only the way he can deliver a romantic tune–“Lady,” “Through The Years,” and “She Believes in Me.”
As I loaded the CD and sat back to enjoy, I came to a group of his great duets. Widely remembered are his hits with Dolly Parton, Sheena Easton & Kim Carnes. But if you haven’t heard his songs with the late/great Dottie West, you’ve missed the highpoint of country ballads such as “Every Time Two Fools Collide,” “What Are We Doin’ in Love,” and “Together Again.”
Kenny’s a recipient of many well-deserved awards and recognitions. He allows a song to emit with power and emotion. He is still touring, and I hope to catch up with his live show this year. Find him below
Read on…there’s more…12/31/13
Here’s some of my current music list ~
One of my favorite CDs, and two of the videos in this blog, are from the CD
The Oak Ridge Boys – It’s Only Natural.
“Before I Die” moved me to launch this blog and live my dream of writing and sharing with others. That post is under the title of “Searching for Your Dream” – read that story here: http://wp.me/p466rU-3X
The “Louisiana Red Dirt Highway” is also a video posted under the title of “Traveling Home or Leaving Home” – click following link to read that post: http://wp.me/p466rU-6r This song speaks to my heart about turning corners, coming and going through your life’s journey.
If you haven’t heard the Oaks with their superb 4-part harmony in a while, you should get one of their CDs or download them to your device. It’s Only Natural is a co-project with Cracker Barrel Restaurants and you can find this CD at this link: http://www.crackerbarrel.com/music/artists-and-albums/oak-ridge-boys/
or at amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/Its-Only-Natural-Ridge-Boys/dp/B005PHFQAW.
You can purchase many of the Oak Ridge Boys CDs at their website: http://oakridgeboys.com/merch (and check out their tour schedule there, too)
The Oaks maintain a very active tour schedule, and I’m getting a chance to see them this year.
The comments on my blog are my opinion while trying to stay true to the information presented.
© New Journeys on Old Roads 2013-14