Gene Watson's Peers within the country music industry believe in the sheer talent of this unassuming man from east Texas, so much so that Gene is regarded by many of them as 'the singer's singer' - and rightly so!
All of Gene Watson's Peers, who were contacted during 2011, were most gracious with their time and words.
It is here, within this special part of The Gene Watson Fan Site, that you have an opportunity to read a quote from Valerie Smith, which she submitted to this site on Thursday 7 April 2011.
Sean Brady would like to take this opportunity to say 'thank you' to Valerie Smith who made a special contribution to this unique part of this online 'celebration of a Lone Star Hero'.
This quote was submitted on Thursday 7 April 2011.
'Gene Watson is an artist that every artist would like to be.
He has his own unique phrasing and sound that reaches the soul.
No one sings country like he does'.
Thank you, Valerie Smith, for your support of Gene Watson.
About Valerie Smith...
Valerie Smith was born (Valerie Jean Smith) at North Kansas City Hospital in Kansas City, MO and her hometown is Holt, MO.
The appearance and success during the 1980s of headliners like Laurie Lewis, Alison Krauss and Lynn Morris began a trend of wider acceptance of women fronting their own bands and, as bluegrass moved on toward the end of the century, more and more bright, new talents like Valerie Smith began to emerge.
Although jazz and pop fans may be familiar with another woman of the same name who sang and recorded with the likes of Natalie Cole (Monday 6 February 1950 - Thursday 31 December 2015), this Missouri native who exploded onto the bluegrass scene in the late 1990s won a devoted following among even the most die-hard fans of the music of Bill Monroe (Wednesday 13 September 1911 - Monday 9 September 1996).
Located in the heartland of western Missouri, some twenty-five miles northeast of Kansas City, the small farming community of Holt was hometown to Valerie Smith, daughter of musical parents David and Jean Stevens.
A natural performer, Valerie Smith was about five years old when she began singing in church and developing a passion for music, particularly the country music on the radio that ranged from the classic sounds of The Carter Family to the contemporary fare of artists like Emmylou Harris.
As a teenager, Valerie Smith suffered a severe allergy attack that robbed her of her voice for a time, so she took up the fiddle as an added outlet for her talents, but she was eventually able to sing again. After graduating from high school, she was dead set on trying her luck right away in Nashville, but was convinced by her parents that college would be a wiser course.
Valerie Smith enrolled at Conservatory of Music at the Kansas City campus of University of Missouri and experienced a widening of her musical horizons beyond country and bluegrass, into the realms of jazz, opera, Broadway and other genres. She received her B.A. in vocal music education and further broadened her musical horizons.
While attending school, Valerie Smith was to meet her future husband, Kraig Smith and, as fate would have it, a chance opportunity led Kraig to a job in Nashville shortly after they were married. By then, Valerie Smith had been teaching school in her hometown for two years and even though she knew she would miss teaching, she felt fate was pulling her toward Tennessee. In 1992, Valerie and Kraig Smith arrived in Nashville and settled into their new life.
It didn't take Valerie Smith long to get into the Nashville music scene, even while holding down a job with an advertising agency and then teaching middle school music. She formed the acoustic country group 'Fresh Cactus' and played extensively in Nashville while honing her song-writing and performance skills.
Valerie Smith's love for bluegrass music never waned and, while attending a festival in Franklin, she met old-time musicians Junior and Betty Parker. The Parkers quickly adopted Valerie Smith and invited her to play with them in the tiny Tennessee hamlet of Bell Buckle.
It was in Bell Buckle, Tennessee that Valerie Smith met local entrepreneur J. Gregry Heinike, owner of Bell Buckle Café.
Valerie Smith, J. Gregory and Kraig Smith founded Bell Buckle Records, and Valerie Smith recorded her first highly acclaimed album, 'Patchwork Heart' (Rebel Records, 1998), and formed her band, which she called Liberty Pike.
Valerie Smith's Liberty Pike comprised Becky Buller (vocals / fiddle / claw-hammer banjo / guitar / songwriter), Rebekah Long (bass / mandolin / fiddle / guitar) and Ernie Evans (vocals / guitar / mandolin / banjo).
For her debut recording, 'Patchwork Heart' (Rebel Records, 1998), Valerie Smith enlisted banjo player (and experienced bluegrass producer) Alan O'Bryant of The Nashville Bluegrass Band to produce the album, as well as an impressive cast of session players and vocalists, which included Ronnie McCoury, Jerry Douglas, Roland White, Charlie Louvin (Thursday 7 July 1927 - Wednesday 26 January 2011) and fellow 'new wave' female bluegrass stars Claire Lynch and Kathy Chiavola.
Released on Tuesday 15 September 1998, Valerie Smith's 'Patchwork Heart' (Rebel Records, 1998) met with immediate critical acclaim as a well-rounded album by an exciting new talent, but it was Valerie's breezy, wistful treatment of Gillian Welch's 'Red Clay Halo' that accumulated airplay on bluegrass radio shows in the United States and as far away as Estonia and Australia.
Valerie Smith's 'Patchwork Heart' (Rebel Records, 1998) was distributed widely by Virginia-based Rebel Records and, well into 1999, 'Red Clay Halo' remained a fixture on the monthly Top 30 survey, which was published by Bluegrass Unlimited Magazine.
Valerie Smith's 'Patchwork Heart' (Rebel Records, 1998) included the following tracks:
'Red Clay Halo' (written by Gillian Welch)
'Lonesome Midnight Train' (written by Sara Majors)
'My Heart Won't Let Your Memory Go Away' (written by Sara Majors and Robin Roller)
'The Man in The Middle' (written by Tom 'Harley' Campbell)
'Second Fiddle (to an Old Guitar)' (written by Betty Amos)
'Summer's Last Dance' (written by Sara Majors)
'Bittersweet' (written by Tom Roznowski and Valerie Smith)
'Fast Train Through Arkansas' (written by Wayne Raney)
'My Baby's Gone' (written by Hazel Houser) / this track featured guest vocals from Charlie Louvin (Thursday 7 July 1927 - Wednesday 26 January 2011)
'Greener Pastures' (written by Gretchen Peters)
'Life's Rough & Rocky Road' (written by Gretchen Peters)
'Patchwork Heart' (written by Cindy Fee and Kin Vassy)
On Tuesday 30 May 2000, Valerie Smith saw the release of 'Turtle Wings' (Rebel Records, 2000), which included the following tracks:
'I Feel the Blues Moving In' (written by Del McCoury)
'Oh, Mandolin, which was written by Herb McCullough (Thursday 18 May 1944 - Tuesday 5 May 2015), Debbie Nims and Taylor Pie / this track featured guest vocals from Tim O'Brien
'Sweeter Field of Clover' (written by Alan O'Bryant and Valerie Smith)
'Big Ol' Train' (written by Bob Regan and Kimmie Rhodes)
'Times Like These' (written by Sara Majors and Sarah Majors)
'Simpson's Holler' (written by Larry McNeely and Jack Skinner)
'Dancin' by The River' (written by Chris Gantry and Alan Shipston)
'Turtle Wings' (written by Tom Roznowski)
'Hand Me Down' (written by Alan O'Bryant and Valerie Smith)
'Someday Came Today' (written by Sara Majors and Sarah Majors)
'Good Man' (written by Linda J. Thornton)
'Now He's Gone' (written by Dick Staber)
'Mama's Roses' (written by Raymond C. Davis Junior)
In 2001, Valerie Smith was nominated for a Grammy Award when she participated in the Ralph Stanley (Friday 25 February 1927 - Thursday 23 June 2016) & Friends' 'Clinch Mountain Sweethearts' (Rebel Records, 2001), for which she recorded a stunning version of 'I'll Remember You Love in My Prayers', which was written by William Shakespeare Hays (19 July 1837 - 23 July 1907).
In 2002, Valerie Smith saw the release of 'No Summer Storm' (Rebel Records, 2002), which included the following tracks:
'Sarah', which was written by Herb McCullough (Thursday 18 May 1944 - Tuesday 5 May 2015) and David Schnaufer
'No Summer Storm' (written by Lisa Aschmann and Mark Simos)
'Jacob Spence' (written by Becky Buller)
'Love Wagon' (written by Chapin Hartford)
'Let's Let It Go', which was written by Herb McCullough (Thursday 18 May 1944 - Tuesday 5 May 2015) and Valerie Smith
'Sit Down & Cry' (written by Tom T. Hall)
'Lord, I'm Ready Now' (written by Lisa Aschmann and Richard Fleming)
'I'm Looking for a Man' (written by Lisa Aschmann and Mark Simos)
'Where The Blue Bells Grow' (written by Valerie Smith)
On Wednesday 6 July 2005, Valerie Smith & Liberty Pike saw the release of 'That's What Love Can Do' (Belt Buckle Records, 2005), which included the following tracks:
'Heaven is Waiting' (written by Becky Buller)
'Fill My Every Need' (written by Megan McCormick)
'In Those Mines' (written by Becky Buller)
'Engineer' (written by Becky Buller)
'Healing Hills' (written by Chris Crawford and Sarah Majors)
'Buzzed' (written by Lisa Aschmann and Joni Bishop)
'Falling' (written by Brad Davis and Gary Scruggs)
'Sarah Hogan' (written by John Lowell)
'Rocky Island / Sally Goodin' (Public Domain)
'Planet or a Star' (written by Lisa Aschmann and Tom Kimmel)
'That's What Love Can Do' (written by Kraig Smith and Valerie Smith)
'Thunder Clouds of Love' (written by Jimmy Headrick)
'Peace of The River' (written by Lisa Aschmann and John Smith)
On Friday 8 September 2006, Valerie Smith & Liberty Pike saw the release of 'Wash Away Your Troubles' (Bell Buckle Records, 2006), which included the following tracks:
'The Rain' (written by Becky Buller)
'Music to My Ears' (written by Lisa Aschmann, Becky Buller and Mark Simos)
'Blossoms on The Almond Tree' (written by Lisa Aschmann and Mark Simos)
'Wings to Fly' (written by Cindy Greene and Claire Lynch)
'Soul Phone' (written by Christi Baker, Shari Baker and Sarah Majors)
'Getting Ready For Sunday' (written by Becky Buller)
'Seeds' (written by Lisa Aschmann and Mark Simos)
'My Jesus' (written by Becky Buller)
'God's Refrigerator' (written by Lisa Aschmann and Karen Taylor-Good)
'Make Him a Soldier', which was written by Charlie Louvin (Thursday 7 July 1927 - Wednesday 26 January 2011) and Ira Louvin (Monday 21 April 1924 - Sunday 20 June 1965)
'Raise This River' (written by Lisa Aschmann and John Tirro)
In 2008, Valerie Smith & Bucky Buller (vocals / fiddle / claw-hammer banjo / guitar / songwriter) saw the release of 'Here's a Little Song' (Bell Buckle Records, 2008), which included the following tracks:
'I Got A Letter' (written by Robert Fraker)
'Life is Not a Guarantee' (written by Lynda Wittig)
'Heart of The House' (written by Becky Buller and Sarah Majors)
'Tennessee Courtin' Time', which was written by Hy Heath (1890 - 1965) and Fred Rose (Floyd Jenkins) (24 August 1898 - Wednesday 1 December 1954)
'Cottonmill' (written by Roberta Gordon and Holly Tashian)
'Whisper Baby' (written by Tom Roznowski)
'Hand of Help' (written by Becky Buller)
'There is a Time' (written by Rodney Dillard and Mitch Jayne)
'The River' (written by Becky Buller)
'Hot Grease at Midnight' (written by Tom Roznowski)
'Four Wet Pigs & The Ham Chorus' (written by Greg Brown and Becky Buller)
'Your Goodnight is My Good-bye' (written by Katie Nunez)
Valerie Smith's music has taken her from coast to coast in the United States and around the world. She has become an ambassador of bluegrass music and has entertained music lovers in New York, London, Berlin, Dublin, Amsterdam, Copenhagen and hundreds of other venues throughout the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Europe.
Valerie Smith has been the recipient of IBMA (International Bluegrass Music Association) Awards.
Valerie Smith has also appeared on the famous Grand Ole Opry in Nashville as guest of Hall of Famer Charlie Louvin (Thursday 7 July 1927 - Wednesday 26 January 2011).
Valerie Smith, her husband Kraig and daughter Josie now reside in their adopted hometown of Bell Buckle, Tennessee.
• Visit Valerie Smith's Official Site at valeriesmith.net