When posed with the question of who their preferred vocalist is, a significant portion of country singers will undoubtedly mention Gene Watson. His peers in the music industry have even bestowed upon him the title of “The Singer’s Singer” due to his remarkable ability to effortlessly transition between octaves and his velvety smooth vocal tone. Throughout his impressive six-decade-long career, Gene Watson has released a total of 34 studio albums and has achieved chart success with over 72 songs, including 23 Top Ten hits and 6 number one singles. In 1962, Watson made his debut with the release of his self-written track, “If It’s That Easy,” under the record label Sun Valley Records.
Gene Watson is widely regarded by well-informed country music enthusiasts as one of the finest ballad singers in the genre, alongside legendary figures such as George Jones, Merle Haggard, and Ray Price, who epitomize the authenticity and integrity of traditional country music. In a testament to his exceptional talent, Gene was invited to join the esteemed ranks of the Grand Ole Opry and was formally inducted into this esteemed institution in March of 2020, shortly before the onset of the global pandemic.
It comes as no shock that renowned musicians like Vince Gill, Lee Ann Womack, Trace Adkins, Connie Smith, Joe Nichols, Alison Krauss, and numerous others are not just content but enthusiastic about collaborating with Gene. It is an astounding fact that, even at the ripe age of almost 78, Gene continues to sing with his distinct, unblemished tone, an unparalleled heartfelt performance, and in the exact key as he did three decades ago. This is undoubtedly a source of delight for fans of authentic country music, deeply rooted in the timeless principles of one of America’s foundational musical genres.
According to Gene, he believes that with each album, he puts in more effort to refine his craft and continuously strive for improvement. He emphasizes the importance of maintaining the raw emotion and electrifying energy in his music, rather than focusing solely on technical perfection. Every song holds a personal significance for him, and he aims to evoke that same emotional connection in his listeners. Each song is carefully chosen and recorded because of its special meaning to Gene.
Gene takes a traditional approach to recording, opting to capture the music in real-time with a talented group of musicians. He goes against the norm by choosing to sing alongside the musicians, rather than utilizing separate isolation booths commonly used by vocalists.
The selection of songs for his albums and the collaboration with his longtime producer, Dirk Johnson, are tasks that he personally undertakes.
Gene expresses his gratitude, stating that he considers himself extremely fortunate. He explains that when he embarks on the process of creating an album, he has the privilege of reaching out to the exceptionally talented Nashville songwriting community. As a result, the songwriters are well aware of his musical style and the kind of songs that would resonate with him. This understanding makes his job significantly easier. Gene strives to select songs that have a universal appeal, ones that people from all walks of life can connect with. However, he also seeks out songs that possess a distinctiveness and uniqueness, setting them apart from the rest.
Gene’s life narrative embodies the quintessential rural lifestyle. He exemplifies a modest individual deeply connected to the land, yet remains blissfully unaware of his own exceptional talents. Whenever he takes the stage at the esteemed Grand Ole Opry, fellow musicians gather at the wings, captivated by his performance. Remarkably, Gene remains impervious to pride or self-adulation. In fact, despite achieving remarkable success, he steadfastly maintains his auto repair business, refusing to sever ties with his roots.