The country music industry finally recognised Gene Watson for his immense vocal talent and his distinctive contribution to the country music genre, by awarding him with the 'Male Golden Voice' Award at the 2nd Annual Golden Voice Awards.
The Annual Golden Voice Awards salute 'men and women who have given country music their voice'.
The 2nd Annual Golden Voice Awards, which were held on Monday 12 June 2000 at Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Centre in Nashville, was hosted by Bill Anderson and Jan Howard.
Ralph Emery, with Gene Watson, as he proudly displays his 'Golden Voice Award' trophy in Nashville on Monday 12 June 2000
More than seven hundred people attended the brunch event at Opryland Hotel, with proceeds going to the Performers Benefit Fund, which provided adequate health care for qualifying members of The Grand Ole Opry and was administered through a board of directors elected by Opry members.
On Friday 1 September 2000, during a conversation prior to appearing on the hallowed stage of The Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Gene Watson had the following to say:
'I feel disappointment at the fact that most country music radio stations in the United States do not play my music and I wish that I could do something about it.
I feel that The Grand Ole Opry is so special because it was where country music began. I put it above all other places and feel privileged when I play on its hallowed stage.
The first time I played at The Grand Ole Opry was in the 1960s, when I played at The Ryman with The Wilburn Brothers (Doyle Wilburn: Monday 7 July 1930 - Saturday 16 October 1982 and Teddy Wilburn: Monday 30 November 1931 - Monday 24 November 2003). I performed one song and received a standing ovation. I then had to perform a second song, which was ‘It is no Secret’.
I am working on a box set of material and hope to go back to the early labels and others that cannot be found. I would love to record an album of Christmas material.
I feel that Merle Haggard (Merle Haggard (Tuesday 6 April 1937 - Wednesday 6 April 2016)) can get more out of a phrase than anyone else and I would like to record with him one day'.
During the course of his country music career, Gene Watson has recorded two Merle Haggard (Tuesday 6 April 1937 - Wednesday 6 April 2016) compositions; 'I Must be Somebody Else' was included on Gene Watson's 'Heartaches, Love & Stuff' (MCA Records, 1984), while 'Today I Started Loving You Again', which was written by Merle Haggard and Bonnie Owens (Tuesday 1 October 1929 - Monday 24 April 2006), featured vocal harmonies from Lee Ann Womack and was included on Gene Watson's 'In a Perfect World' (Shanachie Records, 2008).
Merle Haggard (Tuesday 6 April 1937 - Wednesday 6 April 2016) recorded 'I Must be Somebody Else' and included the track on 'Swinging Doors & The Bottle Let Me Down' (Capitol Records, 1966).
Merle Haggard (Tuesday 6 April 1937 - Wednesday 6 April 2016) recorded 'Today I Started Loving You Again', which was written by Merle Haggard and Bonnie Owens (Tuesday 1 October 1929 - Monday 24 April 2006), and included the track on 'The Legend of Bonnie & Clyde' (Capitol Records, 1968).
In October 2000, Gene Watson was diagnosed with colon cancer. Gene was, in fact, in Nashville performing on the hallowed stage of The Grand Ole Opry when he got the symptoms. The guys in his Farewell Party Band got him on the bus and rushed him back to his home state of Texas.
Gene Watson went to the hospital in his hometown of Paris, Texas and went through a series of tests. It was in Houston, Texas where he received a full diagnosis. Gene Watson had his cancer removed surgically and spen t some time in hospital recuperating.
The type of surgery performed on Gene Watson was laparoscopic surgery, a procedure where Gene didn't have to be cut open; the surgeon simply went in through a hole in him and removed the cancer surgically.
For insurance purposes, Gene Watson underwent six months of chemotherapy, which made him feel quite ill to say the least.
• Biography - 2001