Keith Bilbrey and Nadine from Larry’s Country Diner on the Cruise
Gene laughs at Larry Black’s joke on the cruise
Hello Friends- Back from the great Country’s Family Reunion cruise and looking forward to my February 9th show in Mission, TX with the Farewell Party Band. There’s a newsletter going out this week with a lot of cruise pictures so be looking for that and if you aren’t signed up to get our free newsletter, just look over in the right, upper corner of this page on my website and there’s a little sign up thing for that. We’ll keep you updated on news and contests, etc so just sign up there.
We really haven’t had too much of a winter but I’ve gotta say I’m already itching for Spring to return. Don’t you just love that feeling of riding with the window down and the sun coming in. Makes me feel like I’m 16 again with a brand new driver’s license. Well truth be told, maybe I was driving around a little before I was 16 . But I do love it when I’ve got a truck or a car I’ve fixed up and I’m taking it for its first spin down the road. Love that feeling.
So here are a few photos that didn’t make the newsletter but thought you might enjoy. We cruised the Western Caribbean and made stops at Belize and Cozumel. It was great fun when my cousin Donnie and his wife Barbara met up with me at Cozumel because their Carnival cruise ship docked there at the exact same day. Donnie ( I call him Drop) and I grew up together so we’re more like brothers than cousins and he’s played in my band and now helps me out on the road.
That’s all for now but please check back here for more news and I’ll find some more photos I’m sure. Take care, Gene
Hi Friends – Been up in Nashville this week finding out what the word winter means. We don’t get it quite that cold in Houston. But just like life , we have to have the lows to fully appreciate the good times and good weather. I sure did enjoy singing on the Eddie Stubbs tribute this week. Loved hearing all the great talent and catching up backstage with folks I don’t usually get to spend much time with. Enjoyed visiting a long time with Ray Price and with Ricky Skaggs and Duane Allen. Also talked with Josh Turner, Ronnie Bowman, Jean Shepherd, Shawn Camp, Bill Anderson, Cheryl and Buck White, Bill Cody and all the great musicians that were led by Jimmy Capps and his lovely wife, Michele (who sang harmony ).
Now about to get on the Country Family Reunion cruise and head to the Western Caribbean! Please don’t let there be any cold weather there. We stop in Belize and Cozumel. Oddly enough my cousin, Drop, and his wife are on another cruise but will be in Cozumel at the exact same time so I hope to meet up for lunch with them. Drop is a great guitar player and was in my band for awhile, then had his own band and now is back helping me out on the road. If you see him at the show, be sure to say hello to him. Rhonda Vincent and I are going to do a couple of duets on the cruise (see photo below ) . Rhonda’s such a character – no telling what she’ll do on this show. Not to mention what a great vocalist she is. I have to stay on my toes to keep up with her.
I was just talking to someone about these huge cruise ships. They’re like a floating city with a “main street” and shops on both sides of the “street”. They’ve got little cafes and a pub. Then there’s a library, a casino, a full spa and a variety of clubs for all types of musical tastes. Our group will take over the big theater for our shows. If you’re not able to make it on this one, I’ll take a lot of pictures for the newsletter which my office tells me should be go out around the first of February.
Stay in touch and I’ll be back here after the cruise with some cruise stories and photos. Til then, Gene
Is it just me or has this year flown by – seems like just yesterday we were releasing the new Best of the Best, 25 Greatest Hits. And celebrating 50 Years in the Music Business – that time has flown by too. I still remember those days working at the Dynasty Club in Houston and dreaming of maybe having a little hit on the charts around Texas. They always tell you to dream big but sometimes a person just can’t imagine where life can take you. I don’t know that I could have imagined traveling all over the world singing but life has been good and I’m still traveling around. The band and I are going to Norway this summer for a festival called Norsk Country in Breim. We’re looking forward to that and to continuing to travel all around our favorite spots in the USA and Canada too. Never know where we may be before the new year is over. Recently, I was looking at some old photos and saw this one below. I was probably a little nervous back then talking to Ralph Emery. Ralph was the big star and I was just happy he wanted me on the show! Guess that’s about all for today. Stay in touch, Gene
Ralph Emery and Gene Watson 1976
What a great night it was in Music City last night. I was very honored to be asked to sing “Fourteen Carat Mind” for the Hall of Fame ceremony honoring Mr. Hargus “Pig” Robbins, one of THE greatest piano players in the world. In the old days, I wouldn’t have a session if Pig wasn’t available to play piano. I believe that he is on every single of mine that made it to # 1, 2 or 3. For the Country Music Hall of Fame Medallion ceremony , the piano part originally played by Pig was performed by Dirk Johnson who was personally asked to play by Pig last night so that tells you just how great Dirk is! Also being inducted was the wonderful Connie Smith and Garth Brooks. They had some great music from Ronnie Dunn, Lee Ann Womack, Ronnie Milsap, Crystal Gayle, Vince Gill, George Strait, The Quebe Sisters, The Whites, James Taylor , Bob Seeger and more. Merle Haggard was there to induct Connie, fellow musician Charlie McCoy inducted Pig and George Strait inducted Garth Brooks. I wish you could have been there with us to enjoy the night and hear all the stories told. It was great to also see many of the previously inducted members who were in the audience such as Barbara Mandrell, Roy Clark, Brenda Lee, Sonny James, Ralph Emery, Ray Walker of the Jordonnaires, Emmylou Harris, songwriter Bobby Braddock, Jimmy Fortune and others. I had a great visit backstage with Brenda Lee, Sonny James, Lee Ann Womack and enjoyed talking at length to Trisha Yearwood. I love Trisha’s song “The Song Remembers When.” The folks at the Hall of Fame & Museum always do a beautiful job with their presentations and music. I had a great time performing there earlier this year and I know some of you were able to be there for that. If you are in Nashville be sure you take the time to go see the exhibits. Trying to take it easy today after all the excitement yesterday but tomorrow I’ll be taping a show with Wade Jessen of Sirius XM Radio. I’ll let you know when that will air. Hope you’re having a great week, Gene
with Trisha Yearwood and Garth Brooks after Garth was inducted into the Hall of Fame
I’m in Louisiana, just finished soundcheck for our West Monroe show and looking forward to seeing a bunch of you out tonight. Tomorrow (Saturday, October 20th) we’ll be at the Wind Festival in Roscoe, TX and folks, that’s a FREE festival! So if you’re anywhere in the state of Texas you might want to come on out! Don’t get much these days that is absolutely free! Only thing you need to remember is to bring a lawn chair ! Going to be in Nashville this coming week for some business. One thing I’m doing on Tuesday is a show for Sirius XM with host, Wade Jessen. Always love to talk to Wade. He’s a walking encyclopedia on country music and he loves some real country. Gotta run and get this show going soon but thanks for checking in and hope you enjoy a great week,