Gene Watson

Gary Gene Watson (born October 11, 1943) is an American country singer. He is most famous for his 1975 hit “Love in the Hot Afternoon,” his 1981 #1 hit “Fourteen Carat Mind,” and his signature 1979 song “Farewell Party.” Watson’s long career has notched five number ones, 23 top tens and over 76 charted singles.

If you ask any number of country singers who their favorite singer is, a large number of them will respond: Gene Watson. His music peers even named him “The Singer’s Singer” for his octave jumping range and smooth tone. Gene Watson has 34 studio albums, scored over 72 charted songs, including 23 Top Tens and 6 #1 hits over his Sixty-year career. Watson’s first single, the self- penned, “If It’s That Easy” was released on Sun Valley Records in 1962.

It is safe to say that most knowledgeable country fans would point to Gene Watson as one of country music’s best ballad singers in the same league as country icons George Jones, Merle Haggard, Ray Price and others who are the standard bearers for honest, traditional country music. It’s no surprise to anyone but Gene that the Grand Ole Opry asked him to be a member and inducted him into that iconic group in March of 2020, just before the world shut down for the pandemic.

It’s also no surprise that such artists as Vince Gill, Lee Ann Womack, Trace Adkins, Connie Smith, Joe Nichols, Alison Krauss, and many others are not only happy, but eager to record with Gene. It’s a stunning truth that at nearly 78 years of age, that Gene still sings with his clear, pure tone intact, an unmatched soulful delivery and in the same key as 30 years ago. And that is good news for fans of real country music rooted in the timeless values of one of America’s bedrock musical genres.

“I think I’m working harder on each album to perfect what I do and still always working to be better,” Gene notes. “I don’t want anything to be so technically slick that we lose the emotion or the electricity of the moment. Each song is very personal to me and I always want the people listening to feel the emotion. Each song has a special meaning to me or I wouldn’t record it.”

Indeed Gene records the old-school way, live in the studio with a set of great musicians, and often singing literally in the same room as the musicians, eschewing the isolation booths normally used by vocalists. Gene

picks all the songs for his albums and works side by side with his longtime producer, Dirk Johnson.

“I feel very fortunate,” Gene says, “that when I start to make an album I can call on the brilliant Nashville songwriting community and most of the songwriters there know my style and what type of songs to pitch to me. That makes my job easier. I try to choose songs I feel all people can relate to while at the same time trying to find a song that’s a little bit different and unique.”

Gene’s life story is a classic country life scenario. He is truly a humble man of the soil who has no idea of his own greatness. When he sings at the Grand Ole Opry, other artists gather at the side of the stage to watch him. But Gene himself seems incapable of pride or self-congratulation. Indeed despite all his success he has never totally abandoned his auto repair business.

“I can remember singing before I can remember talking,” he relates. “Even when I was a kid, if I heard a song twice, I knew it. But I never planned to be an entertainer. I knew I could sing, but that wasn’t out of

the ordinary. My whole family could.” In fact, Watson doesn’t even think he was the best singer in the seven-child household. Make that “bus-hold”. The itinerant Watson family moved from shack to shack until his father customized an old school bus for living quarters and transportation from job to job.

“Yeah, we were poor,” says the singer. “Today, people live in motor homes. Ours was yellow. We traveled to Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas until one day my dad came in and decided we were going to Phoenix, Arizona. We didn’t have the money to go to Phoenix, so we worked our way out there, stopped to pick crops and all that stuff. My dad was kind of a gypsy. He always said, ‘I’m fixin’ to leave in the morning. If there’s a dollar out there, I’m going to get 50 cents of it.’ I always kept that in mind. My dad worked hard at whatever it took to put food on the table. He worked in the log woods. He worked at the tire shops. He was a crop worker. We would cut spinach. We would pull radishes. We would dig potatoes. We would pick cotton. Whatever it took, we did it. That’s the only life I knew. I was a poor boy. But I wouldn’t take nothing for my raising–as far as my teachings, the way my mother raised me, the way my dad worked and everything. We were a happy family. No one else around us had anything more, so we didn’t know we were poor. I think it took all that to get all this.

Born in Palestine, Texas in 1943, Gene Watson was singing in holiness churches with his family at an early age. His father played blues harmonica and guitar alongside African-American field laborers. Watson grew up loving both bluesman Jimmy Reed and honky-tonk king Lefty Frizzell. His earliest public country performance came when he was just 12 years old.


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Learn More About Gene Watson

Who is Gene Watson

Gene Watson is an American country music singer. He began his career in the 1970s and has released multiple albums throughout his career. Watson is known for his distinctive voice and his ability to convey the emotion in his songs. Some of his most popular songs include “Love in the Hot Afternoon,” “Fourteen Carat Mind,” and “Farewell Party.” He continues to tour and perform today.

Gene Watson Bio

Gene Watson is an American country music singer and songwriter. He was born in Palestine, Texas, and began his career in the 1970s. Watson released his debut album, “Love in the Hot Afternoon,” in 1975, which featured the hit title track. He went on to release several more albums throughout the 1970s and 1980s, with hit songs such as “Fourteen Carat Mind,” “Farewell Party,” and “Should I Come Home (Or Should I Go Crazy).” Watson continues to tour and perform today, and has been praised for his distinctive voice and ability to convey emotion in his music.

Gene Watson's Music

Gene Watson is known for his traditional country music style, which is heavily influenced by the honky-tonk sound of the 1970s and 1980s. He has a strong, distinctive voice and is known for his emotive performances. He has released several albums throughout his career, with many of his songs reaching the top of the country music charts. Some of his most popular songs include “Love in the Hot Afternoon,” “Fourteen Carat Mind,” “Farewell Party,” “Should I Come Home (Or Should I Go Crazy),” and “Paper Rosie”. His songs typically deal with themes of love, heartbreak and rural life. Watson’s music is considered as traditional country and he is regarded as one of the best traditional country singers of his time

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