Gene Watson And 40 Years Of “Farewell Party”

The 13-track album featuring Watson’s renditions of all-time Gospel classics was released last year and recently produced its third No. 1 single in a row, “Build My Mansion (Next Door to Jesus).” The song, featuring Christian family group The Isaacs, topped the Cashbox Country Christian and Christian Servant Radio charts. The string of No. 1s was recently celebrated with a special ceremony on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry.

“Can you believe that?” Watson exhorts, seated inside the office of his Nashville publicist. “I’m so thrilled. You know, I began singing in church. The first memories I have are of singing in church and I certainly love good Christian music. But I never would have thought that this album would achieve what it had. A lot of people really love it, and I was real satisfied with it.”

Watson recorded “My Gospel Roots” as a tribute to his mother and father, who introduced him to gospel singing. “I wanted to do some of the songs my mom and dad would sing in church,”Gene Watson explains. “One of the songs on there, ‘Swing Wide Them Golden Gates,’ I first heard through my mom and dad. My brothers and sisters and I would do some of those, too.” Watson adds that he was often told by fans and fellow artists that they always heard a touch of gospel in that hardcore country voice. “That never bothered me,” he smiles. “I was proud of that. I just love good country Christian music.”

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