This article has me up at the wee hours of the morning with a box of tissues drying up my tears. There is nobody that I adore more ardently then Mr. Gene Watson in Country Music PERIOD..nobody. Aside from Mr. Vern Gosdin or Mr. Don Williams, the voice of Mr. Gene Watson resonates so deeply within my heart that you cannot EVER remove his music from my soul. His voice and his demeanor brings honor and integrity to both Country Music as a genre, and to the Opry as the heart and soul of that genre.
I understand many of you are very articulate in your negative sentiments about the direction of the Opry, and I only partially agree with you. If you remember last year I made a good point that the Opry IS FINALLY LISTENING TO US, and has been featuring more traditional artists we know and love.
It’s my hope and my onus to see to it that the Grand Ol Opry continues to maintain to not just be an outlet for Pop Country , but and outlet for Traditional Country as well, and it’s doing that by recently inviting Mr. James Carothers to perform his Opry debut very soon. ( MORE on that later).
As I listened to the Opry last night online I was simply in absolute AWE from what was transpiring at my desk here. It involved Mr. Vince Gill, another Country Music artist I consider to be a Legend in his own right. This is how last night went:
“They’ve got me down for two more songs, but I’d love to give you one of those songs. I’ll make you a deal. I’m a wheeler-dealer guy. If you do ‘Farewell Party,’ we’ll invite you to become the next member of the Grand Ole Opry.”
Of course, Mr. Gene Watson accepted and then Mr. Gene said, “In 2019, we celebrated the 40th anniversary of the release of this song. And after 40 years it’s still the most requested song. And then you pull this on me, I’m not sure I’ve got anything left.”
Mr. Gene Watson is a prominent part of the history of Texas music as well, not only Traditional Country Music overall. You know, he has been around for many years, and he has been gracing the Opry stage for so many of those years even NOT being a member of it. He has never ONCE put the Opry down because of that, or complained about being overlooked as much as the fans have…now we FINALLY have that prize.
I’m going to also include this press release here, and also this review of his show at the Nashville Palace.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Country music legend Gene Watson was surprised on stage at the Ryman Auditorium during the Grand Ole Opry tonight by Opry member Vince Gill with an invitation to become an official Opry member. Watson, whose hits including “Fourteen Carat Mind” and “Farewell Party” have become country standards, made his Opry debut 55 years ago at age 21 on the Ryman stage.
“He’s one of the greatest country singers that’s walked the earth,” Gill said, introducing Watson on stage to perform. After Watson performed “Sometimes I Get Lucky and Forget” and “Nothing Sure Looked Good On You” Gill asked, “Would you mind singing ‘Farewell Party’? The Opry told me if you would, you could be the next member of the Grand Ole Opry.” A nearly speechless Gene replied, “I’m not sure I have anything left after that kind of surprise” and then gave an outstanding performance that kept the sold-out crowd on its feet.
“The Opry strives to showcase an array of musical styles in every show,” said Dan Rogers, Vice President and Executive Producer, Grand Ole Opry. “When Gene Watson steps onto the Opry stage, fans know they are going to hear one of the most respected traditional country singers of all time. For years, we’ve watched him wow audiences in the crowd and fellow artists backstage. He’s been committed to the Opry for decades, and we look forward to him becoming an official member of the family. Plus, when all is said and done, you just can’t beat that last note of ‘Farewell Party.’”
About Gene Watson:
This masterful country stylist from Houston, Texas has been thrilling audiences for more than 50 years. Gene Watson’s tally of 75 charted titles, 23 Top 10 hits, six No. 1 country records and three No. 1 gospel hits has led to membership in the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame and the Houston, TX Music Hall of Fame. Radio listeners are still transfixed whenever classics like “Farewell Party,” “Fourteen Carat Mind” or “Love in the Hot Afternoon” are played. Considered one of the finest pure-country singers of his generation and known as “The Singer’s Singer,” Watson offers up one of the best traditional country shows in the business.