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 2018, 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 Dick McVey, which he submitted to this site on Saturday 1 September 2018.
Sean Brady would like to take this opportunity to say ‘thank you’ to Dick McVey who made a special contribution to this unique part of this online ‘celebration of a Lone Star Hero’.
This quote was submitted on Saturday 1 September 2018.
‘There is probably no other country music artist better equipped to deliver a country song than Gene Watson.
I overheard an artist, who was asked to follow Gene on a show, that said ‘nobody in their right mind’ would follow Gene Watson after he does ‘Farewell Party‘, which was written by Lawton Williams (Monday 24 July 1922 – Thursday 26 July 2007).
That pretty much sums it up!’
Thank you, Dick McVey, for your support of Gene Watson.
About Dick McVey…
Dick McVey was born and raised in the Appalachian Mountains, in the tiny town of Pemberton, West Virginia (near Beckley).
Dick McVey’s father, mother, and uncle, sang in a gospel trio, with his father accompanying them on guitar. Dick McVey was raised around country music and gospel music and always ‘fooled around’ with the guitar
In 1963, Dick McVey and his family moved to Amigo, West Virginia and, shortly afterwards, The Beatles showed up in the United States. Dick McVey was heavily influenced by The Beatles and other English groups that followed.
Dick McVey’s desire to play their songs on guitar led him to take the instrument seriously.
Dick McVey’s father showed him some chords and, within a year, Dick McVey had taught himself a number of pop songs and started his own band, initially called ‘The Offbeats’ and later changed to ‘The Rondeaus’.
Dick McVey played area school functions and community events and built the band into a regional favourite. It was during those early years that Dick McVey so loved performing that he handled all the affairs for the band. Dick McVey scheduled the rehearsals, booked the band, prepared all the publicity, acquired financial backing, arranged for transportation and equipment and handled all the problems.
These experiences prepared Dick McVey for a career, not only as an entertainer, but also as a businessman in the business of music. Throughout his lifetime, Dick McVey held several ‘day’ jobs, but always had a working band. Dick McVey played lead guitar and sang in groups in the late 1960s, and switched to playing bass guitar in the early 1970s.
In 1978, Dick McVey and his band decided to hang up their regular jobs and go on the road full time. The band was called ‘Visions’, and they were an immediate success on the road, primarily due to their versatility and showmanship.
They traveled all over the United States, and eventually, in 1981, played five weeks in Nashville at The Holiday Inn on Briley Parkway.
During the band’s time in Nashville, Dick McVey was thrilled when an old friend invited him to go backstage at The Grand Ole Opry. It was then and there that Dick McVey made the decision to make Nashville his permanent home and establish himself as a musician and a music business executive.
Dick McVey has always been a goal-oriented person and his first and foremost goal was to seek a job playing with a major artist and get a spot on The Grand Ole Opry. His plan was to write letters to everyone in Nashville from his home area in West Virginia. Those people included Grand Ole Opry star Little Jimmy Dickens (Sunday 19 December 1920 – Friday 2 January 2015).
Dick McVey’s first goal in Nashville had been achieved, and much faster than he expected. From then on, Dick McVey worked as bass player, road manager and frontman for Little Jimmy Dickens (Sunday 19 December 1920 – Friday 2 January 2015), Leroy Van Dyke, Jean Shepard (Tuesday 21 November 1933 – Sunday 25 September 2016), Nat Stuckey (Sunday 17 December 1933 – Wednesday 24 August 1988), Stonewall Jackson (Sunday 6 November 1932 – Saturday 4 December 2021) and Holly Dunn (Thursday 22 August 1957 – Tuesday 15 November 2016).
Dick McVey played The Grand Ole Opry at different times with different stars throughout the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s, including the 1988 Grand Ole Opry Birthday Celebration on national television with host Tom T. Hall (Monday 25 May 1936 – Friday 20 August 2021).
Dick McVey worked as an opening act for nearly every major country music artist in the business, including several months with Merle Haggard (Tuesday 6 April 1937 – Wednesday 6 April 2016) in 1982 – 1983, and a few months in 1983 opening for Jerry Lee Lewis (Sunday 29 September 1935 – Friday 28 October 2022).
Dick McVey has worked in nearly every aspect of the music business, including selling t-shirts, setting up sound, driving the bus, recording and engineering sound, both ‘live’ and in the studio.
Dick McVey also had extra parts in two major motion pictures which were filmed in Nashville; ‘Marie’, which starred Sissy Spacek, and ‘What Comes Around’, which starred Jerry Reed Hubbard (Saturday 20 March 1937 – Monday 1 September 2008).
In 1986, Dick McVey founded The Musician’s Referral Service in Nashville, with the goal of helping Nashville musicians find work; the service has been used by artists as Randy Travis, Alan Jackson, Chely Wright, Holly Dunn (Thursday 22 August 1957 – Tuesday 15 November 2016), Tracy Lawrence, George Jones (Saturday 12 September 1931 – Friday 26 April 2013), Billy Dean and Tanya Tucker, and shows such as Opryland, Disney World, Euro-Disney and several Branson, Gatlinburg and Myrtle Beach Theatres.
In 1988, Dick McVey founded D&T Records and produced sixteen national (United States) chart records in a row. Several records reached No.1 on the independent charts and one hit No.52 on the national (United States) charts – quite a feat for a small record label. One of the records Dick McVey produced was a pick hit in Billboard, three records were pick hits in Cash Box Magazine, sixteen were Top 20 on the (United States) national independent charts, with fourteen reaching the Top 10.
In October 1989, Dick McVey started handling publicity and promotion work for the legendary George Jones (Saturday 12 September 1931 – Friday 26 April 2013). As a result of his efforts, George Jones (Saturday 12 September 1931 – Friday 26 April 2013) was featured on the cover of ‘Music City News’ the very next month (November 1989 issue), with a two-page article inside.
Dick McVey received a ‘Gold’ album from George Jones (Saturday 12 September 1931 – Friday 26 April 2013) for his publicity work. Dick McVey continued to co-ordinate special projects for George Jones (Saturday 12 September 1931 – Friday 26 April 2013), including a showcase for his guitarist DeWayne Phillips. Eight major record labels were in attendance.
Dick McVey and George Jones (Saturday 12 September 1931 – Friday 26 April 2013) co-produced the recording session for DeWayne Philips, and the tape was submitted to the major record labels. Every act Dick McVey has represented has had their publicity published in one form or another in fan and trade magazines. Many of Dick McVey’s publicity clients have been featured in ‘Music City News’, ‘Music Row’ and ‘Country Weekly’.
Since 1993, Dick McVey has had his own recording studios. However, in 1996, Dick McVey realised a lifelong dream by acquiring a 24-track digital, master quality recording studio in the heart of Music Row in Nashville. The studio was installed to record and work with singers in a state-of-the-art facility that was both comfortable and affordable. With studio costs rising daily, it gave acts the opportunity of getting first hand recording studio experience under Dick McVey’s direction without the added pressure of paying high hourly studio costs. Dick McVey has also recorded master quality band albums and award-winning songwriter and singer demos in his studios.
In June 1993, Dick McVey was selected the 1993 ‘Independent Producer of The Year’ by Tracker Magazine in Nashville, based on a poll the magazine took of country music radio disc jockeys; he was nominated for the award again in 1998.
In July 1993, Dick McVey was offered, and accepted, the position as Bureau Chief for The Nashville Office of Performance Magazine, an international trade magazine with offices in New York, Los Angeles, London, Tampa, Florida and Fort Worth, Texas.
In April 1997, Dick McVey was promoted to the position of Senior Editor, a position which afforded him the luxury of being invited to every major music function in Nashville and the ability to ‘rub elbows’ with decision-makers in every facet of the music industry, including the major record labels. By being able to talk with these people and discuss the business, Dick McVey gained an edge in knowing what the major record labels were looking for with regard to new acts.
In 1994, Dick McVey produced an album, ‘Rodeo Lady’ (Lynett Records, 1994), for Cissie Lynn, daughter of Loretta Lynn (Thursday 14 April 1932 – Tuesday 4 October 2022).
Early in the project, Loretta Lynn (Thursday 14 April 1932 – Tuesday 4 October 2022) heard Dick McVey’s production on the first three songs, liked what she heard, and agreed to sing a duet with Cissie Lynn on the album under Dick McVey’s direction. This was the first, and only, time that Loretta Lynn (Thursday 14 April 1932 – Tuesday 4 October 2022) had recorded with any of her children in the studio and is one of the highlights of Dick McVey’s career as a producer.
Cissie Lynn’s ‘Rodeo Lady’ (Lynett Records, 1994) included the following tracks:
‘Should I Stop Dreaming’
‘Love Or Whiskey Talking’
‘Everytime You Go To Bed’
‘Letter To Loretta’
‘I Know How’
In April 1994, Dick McVey was selected as one of ‘Music Row’s Decision Makers’ by Music Row Magazine, and was included in the 1994 edition of ‘In Charge – Music Row’s Decision Makers’.
On display in Dick McVey’s studio are ‘Gold’ and ‘Platinum’ record awards from Vince Gill, Tracy Lawrence and John Berry for his publicity contributions to their careers.
In June 1995, Dick McVey received an award for producing and arranging the first place song in the 9th Annual St. Louis Music Contest. Another song he produced and arranged was placed in the Top 5 of the same competition. Dick McVey has also recorded songs, which won awards in Atlanta and the state of Wisconsin. All the songs were recorded in his studio.
In 1995, Dick McVey played bass guitar with country superstar Trace Adkins at ‘Tillie & Lucy’s’ nightclub in Nashville, just prior to his signing with Capitol Records.
In 1996, Dick McVey produced and arranged an album of country songs for children, Bob Schneider & The Rainbow Kids’ ‘Country Kiddie Boogie’ (DPM, 1996), which was picked up by Sony Music, and included the following tracks:
‘Sing A Country Song’
‘Country Kitty’s Song’
‘Listen To The Water’
‘School Day Blues’
‘Be-Believe In You’
‘Country Kiddie Boogie’
‘Got A Hat Hat‘
‘Listen To The Raindrops‘
‘Music Is The Language of The World’
‘Music In Their Soul, Country In Their Heart’
‘Give A Little Cuddle’
Since 1996, Dick McVey had such notable artists as Hal Ketchum (Thursday 9 April 1953 – Monday 23 November 2020), Mark Collie, Danny Shirley (of Confederate Railroad), Lacy J. Dalton and Judy Rodman record in his studio.
Dick McVey’s studio was also selected to mix a special acoustic project for Trisha Yearwood, which was originally recorded in Australia.
In 1997, Dick McVey was selected by The Nashville Network as an expert on the country music concert industry and appeared on ‘Today’s Country’ with Crook & Chase, a television show which was available to over 50 million households. Dick McVey was interviewed along with Alan Jackson, Garth Brooks, Tracy Lawrence and Mark Miller (of Sawyer Brown).
In April 1998, Dick McVey was selected as a ‘Lifetime Member’ of the prestigious National Registry of Who’s Who in America’.
In May 1998, Dick McVey hosted a round-table discussion, which featured such notable Nashville music figures as Bruce Hinton (CEO of MCA Records, Nashville) and Rick Shipp (President of William Morris Agency, Nashville).
In June 1998, Dick McVey’s liner notes were featured in the best-selling book, ‘Chicken Soup For The Country Soul’, on the very first page.
In August 1998, Dick McVey was hired to handle publicity and promotion for The Bellamy Brothers and their annual ‘Snake Rattle & Roll Jam’, which was held near their home town in San Antonio, Florida.
In 1998, Dick McVey’s company, All Star Publicity, was named ‘Public Relations Firm of The Year’ at The Golden Music Awards, which was held in Nashville.
From January 1999 through to September 1999, Dick McVey hosted a weekly radio show on one of his hometown radio stations, WPMW-FM 92.7, in Mullens, West Virginia. The show covered virtually all of southern West Virginia. Dick McVey reported Nashville news and held interviews with many special guests, including Trace Adkins, country music legends Charley Pride (Friday 18 March 1934 – Saturday 12 December 2020) and Little Jimmy Dickens (Sunday 19 December 1920 – Friday 2 January 2015), along with rock artists, including John Kay (lead singer with Steppenwolf).
In late 1999, Dick McVey constructed a 24-track recording studio in his home. With increasing crime and traffic problems in Nashville, Dick McVey felt the studio in his home would allow him more time to devote to his family and his music and less wear and tear on his vehicle and body. Having the studio in his home also meant lower prices for his clients.
In 2000, Dick McVey’s love of playing music and performing on stage was satisfied as he was named music director, bandleader and bass guitarist with The Music City Showband that backed a touring package of Opry legends.
Dick McVey performed with a host of country music legends, including Kitty Wells (Saturday 30 August 1919 – Monday 16 July 2012), Jack Greene (Tuesday 7 January 1930 – Thursday 15 March 2013), Little Jimmy Dickens (Sunday 19 December 1920 – Friday 2 January 2015), Stonewall Jackson (Sunday 6 November 1932 – Saturday 4 December 2021), Jeanne Pruett, Jeannie Seely, Hank Thompson (Thursday 3 September 1925 – Tuesday 6 November 2007), David Frizzell, Bobby Bare, Johnny Rodriguez, Dave Dudley (Thursday 3 May 1928 – Monday 22 December 2003), Jean Shepard (Tuesday 21 November 1933 – Sunday 25 September 2016), along with many others.
In 2001, Dick McVey signed a management deal with Travis LeDoyt, who was touted as the ‘world’s best young Elvis’.
Travis LeDoyt was featured in a New York Times photo shoot as the person most naturally resembling young Elvis Presley (Tuesday 8 January 1935 – Tuesday 16 August 1977), and Dominic Joseph (D.J.) Fontana (Sunday 15 March 1931 – Wednesday 13 June 2018), Elvis’ original drummer, stated that Travis’s show was as close as you would get to seeing an actual Elvis Presley concert from the 1950s.
In June 2002, Dick McVey took the position of bass guitarist with award-winning artist Holly Dunn (Thursday 22 August 1957 – Tuesday 15 November 2016), and played shows across the United States and on the hallowed stage of The Grand Ole Opry in Nashville with Holly Dunn until her retirement in November 2003.
In October 2002 and February 2003, Dick McVey recorded audio for the syndicated television series, ‘Nashville Country Connection’, for UPN Television Network. Over the following few years, Dick McVey recorded and mixed television shows for GAC (Great American Country) and The Gospel Music Channel.
In May 2003, Dick McVey recorded, mixed and mastered Holly Dunn‘s final album, ‘Full Circle’ (OMS Records, 2003), which was released in June 2003, and included the following tracks:
‘Sweet Hour of Prayer’
‘Devil Stand Back’
‘I Know It’s Heaven’
‘I Come To The Garden Alone’
‘There’s A Call Comes Ringing’
‘On The Wings of An Angel’
‘Where You Are’
‘Softly & Tenderly’
‘Revive Us Again’
Since 2003, Dick McVey dedicated most of his time to managing the career of Travis LeDoyt, and continued to be one of the most respected people in Nashville as a consultant, producer and publicist.
Dick McVey was still driven, and continued to make contributions to Nashville’s music scene.
At the time of the acquisition of this ‘Peer’s Quote’ about Gene Watson, in September 2018, Dick McVey was handling career development and publicity for several promising unsigned acts, and was looking toward to each new year with increasing optimism.
Dick McVey always had one goal in sight while looking for another to achieve.
On Wednesday 14 September 2022, Dick McVey passed away.
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