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 2010, 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 Dawn Sears, which she submitted to this site on Thursday 4 February 2010.
Sean Brady would like to take this opportunity to say ‘thank you’ to Dawn Sears who made a special contribution to this unique part of this online ‘celebration of a Lone Star Hero’.
This quote was submitted on Thursday 4 February 2010.
‘I am more than happy to offer a quote for Gene Watson’s website, and I thank you for asking!
I have always been a huge fan of Mr. Gene Watson.
He is a singer’s singer and he’s as good as it gets, in my opinion!
I recently had the pleasure of singing with Gene on an Opry Cruise (the above photo was taken on Saturday 30 January 2010) and every note he sang was as true and as pure as you could ever imagine!
I kept pinching myself to be sure it was really happening – and I was really there! Wow!
Larry Gatlin was in attendance as an artist for the Opry Cruise as well – and part of the guitar pull.
He played the guitar while Gene sang ‘Bitter They Are, Harder They Fall’…and Gene knocked it out of the park!
Larry was knocked out!
I looked at my husband, Kenny, and we were both crying like babies – as was most of the crowd. He tore us all up!
I have to quote my friend, Eddie Stubbs (650AM WSM), when someone knocks him out musically…’Are there any questions?’ To me…Gene Watson is the best there is regarding pure country music. Game over!’
Thank you, Dawn Sears, for your support of Gene Watson.
About Dawn Sears…
Dawn Sears‘ heart was raised on a number of country music greats, including George Jones (Saturday 12 September 1931 – Friday 26 April 2013), Merle Haggard (Tuesday 6 April 1937 – Wednesday 6 April 2016), Lefty Frizzell (Saturday 31 March 1928 – Saturday 19 July 1975), Connie Smith and Dolly Parton.
Listening to her parents’ collection of classic country music, Dawn Sears formed her own ideals of what truly is country music.
By the age of eleven, Dawn Sears got her first guitar. Deciding to try her luck in public, she sang the classic country song, ‘Satin Sheets’, which was written by John Volinkaty (), in a talent contest in Grand Forks, North Dakota VFW hall at the age of fourteen. It was the first time Dawn Sears ever stood before a microphone. Dawn Sears shook off her nerves, though, started singing again and won the contest.
Winning more contests, Dawn Sears moved on to the local club scene in Minnesota and, when the time seemed right, she made her move out on her own. Dawn Sears left home fresh out of school and was lucky enough to get a band gig on the road. Dawn Sears’ Mum and Dad were undoubtedly her biggest fans and they did everything they knew to do in order to help Dawn achieve a dream she so desperately wanted.
It proved to be a great education and experience. Those dreams led Dawn Sears to fronting her own band and touring the American West and Midwest. Dreams again are what led Dawn Sears to Nashville in 1987.
In 1986, Dawn Sears met Kenny Sears in Las Vegas; she was playing in The Sahara Lounge with her band and Kenny was playing the showroom with Mel Tillis (Monday 8 August 1932 – Sunday 19 November 2017).
Dawn Sears knew that she had found her ‘knight in shining armour’ from the first moment she saw Kenny Sears.
Dawn and Kenny were married six months after they met.
Dawn Sears’ first major break was on ‘Nashville Now’ on The Nashville Network (TNN). Ralph Emery (Friday 10 March 1933 – Saturday 15 January 2022) liked her enough to call her at work the next day and asked if she’d come and sing on his morning show.
Dawn Sears performed on three of Ralph Emery’s shows and he then asked if she’d like to be a regular. Dawn Sears immediately agreed to do so.
In 1990, Dawn Sears saw the rlease of ‘San Antone’, a non-album single, which did not chart.
Dawn Sears’ television exposure led to her first major recording contract; she signed with Warner Brothers Records in 1991 and saw the release, on Tuesday 15 October 1991, of her debut album, ‘What A Woman Wants To Hear’ (Warner Bros. Records, 1991), which included two tracks, which were released as singles on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks Chart:
‘Til You Come Back To Me’ (written by Mike Reid and Troy Seals) / this track was released as a single in 1991, but it did not chart
‘Good Goodbye’ (written by Paulette Carlson, Bob DiPiero and Pat McManus) / this track was released as a single in 1991, but it did not chart
Dawn Sears’ debut album, ‘What A Woman Wants To Hear’ (Warner Bros. Records, 1991), also included the following tracks:
‘What A Woman Wants To Hear’ (written by Lisa Silver, Mark D. Sanders and Linda Davis)
‘Half As Much’, which was written by Curley Williams (Wednesday 3 June 1914 – Saturday 5 September 1970)
‘Tell Me I’m Crazy’ (written by Mike Reid and Rory Bourke)
‘Old-Fashioned Broken Heart’ (written by Donny Kees and Terri Sharp)
‘He’s In Dallas’, which was written by Donny Kees, Richard Ross and Johnny MacRae (1929 – Wednesday 3 July 2013)
‘No More Tears’ (written by Vip Vipperman, Ted Hewitt and Buddy Blackmon)
‘Could Be The Mississippi’, which was written by Susan Longacre and Russell Smith (Friday 17 June 1949 – Friday 12 July 2019)
‘Odds & Ends (Bits & Pieces)’, which was written by Harlan Howard (Thursday 8 September 1927 – Sunday 3 March 2002)
Personnel involved in the recording of Dawn Sears’ debut album, ‘What A Woman Wants To Hear’ (Warner Bros. Records, 1991), included the following:
Eddie Bayers (drums)
Barry Beckett, Mitch Humphries, Mike Lawler and Matt Rollings (keyboards)
Paul Franklin and Sonny Garrish (steel guitar)
Steve Gibson, Dann Huff, Danny Parks, Brent Rowan and Reggie Young (Saturday 12 December 1936 – Thursday 17 January 2019) (electric guitar)
Dave Pomeroy and Jack Williams (bass guitar)
Don Potter (acoustic guitar)
Dawn Sears (vocals)
Kenny Sears (fiddle)
Dennis Wilson and Curtis Young (background vocals)
Despite the well-received singles, ‘Til You Come Back To Me’ (written by Mike Reid and Troy Seals) and ‘Good Goodbye’ (written by Paulette Carlson, Bob DiPiero and Pat McManus), which were both released in 1991, Warner Bros. Records were unable to break Dawn Sears nationally.
Dawn Sears then gave serious thought to leaving country music behind to attend college and begin med-school (another interest of hers), after having had a first-hand look at the realities of a major record deal.
Before she had the chance to enrol in school, Vince Gill called and asked if she wanted to sing backup vocals for him on the road. Vince Gill had sung background vocals on one of the songs she had recorded.
Vince Gill later called Dawn Sears to sing background vocals on ‘Say Hello’ (written by Vince Gill and Pete Wasner), a track which was included on his highly acclaimed album, ‘I Still Believe In You’ (MCA Records, 1992).
The call from Vince Gill is something which caused Dawn Sears to shake her head; she was just so shocked that he was interested, that he even remembered who she was.
Initially, Dawn Sears started with Vince Gill for a two-week trial period, but it turned into a long relationship which she was very proud of. Dawn Sears considered working with Vince Gill as the chance of a lifetime.
Dawn Sears also provided exquisite background vocals on the Vince Gill albums ‘When Love Finds You’ (MCA Records, 1994), ‘The Key’ (MCA Records, 1998), which included a duet vocal on the track, ‘Don’t Come Cryin’ To Me’, which was written by Vince Gill and Reed Neilsen (1950 – Saturday 15 November 2014) (No.27, 1999), and ‘Next Big Thing’ (MCA Records, 2003).
Dawn Sears also provided duet vocals on ‘An Out of Control Raging Fire’ (written by Kostas and Melba Montgomery), a track which was included on ‘Tracy Byrd’ (MCA Records, 1993), Tracy Byrd’s self-titled debut album.
In 1994, Dawn Sears was signed as the first act on Decca Records’ newly-revived country music branch and saw the release of her second album, ‘Nothin’ But Good’ (Decca Records, 1994), on Tuesday 30 August 1994.
Dawn Sears’ second album, ‘Nothin’ But Good’ (Decca Records, 1994), included two tracks, which were released as singles on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks Chart:
‘Runaway Train’ (written by Kim Richey and Terry Burns) (No.62, 1994)
‘Nothin’ But Good’ (written by Kostas and Will Robinson) / this track was released as a single in 1994, but it did not chart
Dawn Sears’ second album, ‘Nothin’ But Good’ (Decca Records, 1994), also included the following tracks:
‘Close Up The Honky Tonks’, which was written by Red Simpson (Tuesday 6 March 1934 – Friday 8 January 2016)
‘That’s Where I Wanna Take Our Love’, which was written by Dean Dillon and Hank Cochran (Friday 2 August 1935 – Thursday 15 July 2010)
‘No Relief In Sight’, which was written by Rory Bourke, Eugene David Dobbins (Monday 19 March 1934 – Sunday 23 November 2008) and Johnny Wilson
‘Uh Oh (Here Comes Love)’, which was written by Robert Ellis Orrall, Carlene Carter and Howard ‘Howie’ Norman Epstein (Thursday 21 July 1955 – Sunday 23 February 2003)
‘Planet of Love’ (written by Jim Lauderdale and John Leventhal)
‘It Was Too Late’ (written by Joy Swinea, Jerry Taylor and Toni Dae)
‘If I Didn’t Have You In My World’, which was written by Vince Gill and Jim Weatherly (Wednesday 17 March 1943 – Wednesday 3 February 2021)
‘Little Orphan Annie’ (written by Dawn Sears)
Personnel involved in the recording of Dawn Sears’ second album, ‘Nothin’ But Good’ (Decca Records, 1994), included the following:
Mike Brignardello (bass guitar)
Mark Casstevens, Pat Flynn, B. James Lowry and Biff Watson (acoustic guitar)
Stuart Duncan, Rob Hajacos, Kenny Sears and Willie Weeks (fiddle)
Paul Franklin, John Hughey (Wednesday 27 December 1933 – Sunday 18 November 2007) and Russ Pahl (steel guitar)
Owen Hale (drums)
Nashville String Machine (strings)
Steve Nathan (keyboards)
Brent Rowan (electric guitar, gut string guitar)
Dana McVicker on ‘Nothin’ But Good’
Vince Gill and Jonell Mosser on ‘If I Didn’t Have You In My World’
Mary Ann Kennedy and Pam Rose on ‘Runaway Train’
Patty Loveless on ‘Close Up The Honky Tonks’
Cindy Walker (Saturday 20 July 1918 – Thursday 23 March 2006)
On Tuesday 23 January 1996, Merle Haggard (Tuesday 6 April 1937 – Wednesday 6 April 2016) saw the release of ‘Merle Haggard: 1996’ (Curb Records, 1996), which included the following tracks:
‘Sin City Blues’, which was written by Merle Haggard (Tuesday 6 April 1937 – Wednesday 6 April 2016), Theresa Lane Haggard and Joe Manuel
‘No Time To Cry’ (written by Iris Dement)
‘Beer Can Hill’, which was written by Merle Haggard (Tuesday 6 April 1937 – Wednesday 6 April 2016) and Abe Manuel Jr.
‘Truck Drivers’ Blues’, which was written by Merle Haggard (Tuesday 6 April 1937 – Wednesday 6 April 2016) and Tim Howard
‘Too Many Highways’, which was written by Merle Haggard (Tuesday 6 April 1937 – Wednesday 6 April 2016) and Max D. Barnes (Friday 24 July 1936 – Sunday 11 January 2004)
‘Five Days A Week’, which was written by Merle Haggard (Tuesday 6 April 1937 – Wednesday 6 April 2016)
‘Kids Get Lonesome Too’, which was written by Merle Haggard (Tuesday 6 April 1937 – Wednesday 6 April 2016) and Lou Bradley
‘If Anyone Ought To Know’, which was written by Merle Haggard (Tuesday 6 April 1937 – Wednesday 6 April 2016) and Bonnie Owens (Tuesday 1 October 1929 – Monday 24 April 2006)
‘Untanglin’ My Mind’, which was written by Merle Haggard (Tuesday 6 April 1937 – Wednesday 6 April 2016) and Clint Black) (No.4, 1994)
‘Winds of Change’, which was written by Merle Haggard (Tuesday 6 April 1937 – Wednesday 6 April 2016) and Terry Hardesty
Personnel involved in the recording of Merle Haggard‘s ‘Merle Haggard: 1996’ (Curb Records, 1996) included the following:
Merle Haggard (Tuesday 6 April 1937 – Wednesday 6 April 2016) (vocals, guitar)
Norman Hamlet (steel guitar, dobro)
Biff Adams (drums)
John Anderson, Dwight Yoakam, Buck Owens (Monday 12 August 1929 – Saturday 25 March 2006), Johnny Paycheck (Tuesday 31 May 1938 – Wednesday 19 February 2003) and Bob Teague (vocals)
Seymour Duncan and Clint Strong (guitar)
Eddie Curtis (bass)
Iris DeMent, Oleg Schramm and Mark Yeary (Saturday 9 February 1952 – Friday 17 January 2020) (piano)
Don Markham (trumpet, saxophone, penny whistle)
Hilton Reed (guitar, bass, background vocals)
Dawn Sears (background vocals)
Leland Sklar (bass)
Bobby Wood (electric piano)
Terry Hardesty and Tim Howard (guitar)
Abe Manuel Jr. (guitar, fiddle, percussion, accordion, harmony vocals)
Joe Manuel (guitar, background vocals)
Jim Belkins (violin)
In 1999, Dawn Sears provided exquisite backing vocals on Benny Berry’s ‘Things I Want To Sing About’ (Acoustic Revival Records, 1999).
In 2002, Dawn Sears saw the independent release, on her own record label, of ‘Dawn Sears’ (Dawn Sears Records, 2002). While this album release may not have had a major record label attached to it, there was nothing lacking for the listener.
‘Dawn Sears’ (Dawn Sears Records, 2002) was a quality production, featuring exceptional musicians and vocalists (Connie Smith sang a duet with Dawn Sears, while Vince Gill sang background vocals), supreme examples of song-writing and a voice so eloquent that it spoke for itself.
As well as continuing to play the music she loved, Daw Sears went after her second interest of medicine and was a licensed clinical aesthetician, with her own clinical skin care practice; Skinsation was located at 801 Meadowlark Lane, in Goodlettsville, Tennessee.
Kenny Sears and Dawn Sears aboard Cruise Ship Valor during The Opry Country Classics Cruise in January 2010
Dawn Sears’ life was full of love and life with her music, her second career, her husband, the highly acclaimed fiddle player Kenny Sears, and her daughter Tess (Kenny and Dawn are pictured above onboard Cruise Ship Valor during The Opry Country Classics Cruise, which took place in January 2010).
Dawn Sears was also a member of The Time Jumpers, a Western swing ensemble, which was formed in Nashville in 1998.
The Time Jumpers are an award winning Western Swing band from Nashville, with two awards from the Association of Western Artists, one from the Western Music Association and two Grammy Award nominations.
This group of Nashville’s studio elite has evolved from casual jam sessions at The Grand Ole Opry to performing on the main stage, and becoming the Monday night destination in Nashville.
As a band, they’ve been sought out to record with artists, including Vince Gill, Amy Grant Gill and John Anderson.
Their individual recording and performing credits cover virtually the entire history of country music, ranging from Slim Whitman (Saturday 20 January 1923 – Wednesday 19 June 2013) to Carrie Underwood, and their members have recorded extensively with artists in other genres as well, from Barbra Streisand to Megadeth.
Their combination of tight arrangements, soulful singers, brilliant soloists and an irresistibly swinging rhythm section have packed their weekly performances at Nashville’s legendary Station Inn for close to ten years, drawing not only their peers, such as fellow recording musicians Glen Worf, Brent Mason, Reggie Young (Saturday 12 December 1936 – Thursday 17 January 2019), Bob Moore and countless others, but an amazingly diverse array of stars, including Jimmy Dean (Friday 10 August 1928 – Sunday 13 June 2010), Vince Gill, Amy Grant Gill, Jimmy Buffet, Reba McEntire, Robert Plant, BJ Thomas (Friday 7 August 1942 – Saturday 29 May 2021), The White Stripes, Kings of Leon, Luna Halo, Norah Jones, John Rich, Ronnie Dunn, Bonnie Raitt, Ronnie Milsap and Kelly Clarkson.
Gene Watson and Dawn Sears backstage at The Grand Ole Opry in Nashville on Thursday 2 April 2009
Gene Watson with Dawn Sears and Vince Gill backstage at The Grand Ole Opry in Nashville on Friday 19 March 2010
In 2011, Joe Paul Nichols saw the release of ‘Friends In High Places’ (Heart of Texas Records, 2011); one of the included tracks was ‘Old Fashioned Love’ (written by C. Mack and J. Johnson); the track was a duet with Dawn Sears.
In February 2012, Dawn Sears was diagnosed with Stage 3B lung cancer.
Dawn Sears continued to perform at The Time Jumpers’ weekly gigs in Nashville during her treatment, as long as she was feeling up to it.
Dawn Sears fought the disease ferociously and championed efforts for lung cancer research.
On Sunday 30 November 2014, Dawn Sears attended a fundraising concert, ‘Dawn Sears & Friends‘, which was held in her name, in Gallatin, Tennessee and featured Reba McEntire, The Time Jumpers and Riders in The Sky.
The event brought in more than $100,000 for The Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center.
On Thursday 11 December 2014, Dawn Sears passed away; she is survived by her husband, The Time Jumpers’ fiddler Kenny Sears, and her daughter Tess.