“I didn’t know what I was doing,” Watson chuckled, remembering himself as a 19-year-old.
“I think maybe I was dreaming a little bit. Who knows what’s going through your mind back then? I was playing nightclubs here and there and decided it might be good if I could record a song.”
A few years later, he had his first major hit, “Love in the Hot Afternoon,” in 1975.
And over his long and storied career, he’s had six No. 1’s, 23 Top 10 hits and 75 charted singles.
His successes continued on the 2000s with his 2009 album A Taste of the Truth, which critics hailed as “Album of the Year.”
On Aug. 6, 2013, he was inducted into the inaugural class for the Houston, Texas Music Hall of Fame, which adds to his membership in the state Country Music Hall of Fame.
William Michael Smith of the Houston Press wrote, “With the recent passing of George Jones, it is actually possible to say — with no disrespect to Ray Price, Willie Nelson or Johnny Bush — that Watson, known in the industry as “The Singer’s Singer,” is now the greatest pure vocalist left among working, Auto-Tune-free country singers.”
Watson, despite his successful career in country music, never moved to Nashville. He’s remained in Humble, where he owns a local body shop.
He still tours around the U.S. – despite already being in his 70s – and released his last album of original tunes in 2011, Your Money and My Good Looks and his Best of the Best: 25 Greatest Hits record in 2012.
“Every time I step out on that stage and see that audience, it’s a new beginning,” Watson said.
“Even though I’ve sung these songs millions of times, I look at each one like it’s brand new to me. Every night, I try to deliver that song the best that I can.
“Being called a ‘Singer’s Singer’ humbles me. It’s flattering, but what I do is just what I do. The good Lord just gave me the voice.”
Gene Watson and the Farewell Party Band will be playing at Schroeder Hall, 12516 FM 622 in Goliad County, on Saturday, Aug. 24.
For more information on the show and pre-sale tickets, visit www.SchroederDanceHall.com.