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 by The Gene Watson Fan Site, during 2021, 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 Don Cusic, which he submitted to this site on Wednesday 14 April 2021.
Sean Brady would like to take this opportunity to say ‘thank you’ to Don Cusic who has made a special contribution to a unique part of this online ‘celebration of a Lone Star Hero’.
This quote was submitted on Wednesday 14 April 2021.
‘Sean, thanks for asking me to be a part of this – I’m a huge Gene Watson fan.
How about this:
Hearing Gene Watson sing is like drinking good whisky.
His voice sounds like rough hands from hard work, country food and down home common sense’
Thank you, Don Cusic, for your support of Gene Watson.
About Don Cusic…
Don Cusic is one of the premier historians of country music and an internationally known scholar and writer.
As an author, teacher, historian, songwriter, producer and executive, Don Cusic has been actively involved in the music business since 1973.
Don Cusic is the author of twenty-five published books, including the biographies ‘Roger Miller: Dang Him’, ‘Elvis & Nashville’, ‘Eddy Arnold: I’ll Hold You In My Heart’, ‘The Life & Career of Gene Autry’, ‘The Cowboy Way: Riders In The Sky’, ‘James Weldon Johnson: Songwriter’, and ‘The Trials of Henry Flipper’.
Don Cusic has also written an encyclopedia of cowboys, ‘Cowboys & The Wild West: An A-Z Guide from the Chisholm Trail to the Silver Screen’, and edited (and was the primary writer of) ‘The Encyclopedia of Contemporary Christian Music’.
Other books from Don Cusic include ‘Johnny Cash: The Songs’, ‘The Sound of Light: A History of Gospel & Christian Music (which was republished as ‘Saved By Song’), ‘The Cowboy In Country Music’, ‘Music In The Market’, ‘Baseball & Country Music’, ‘Poet of The Common Man: Merle Haggard Lyrics’, ‘Willie Nelson: Lyrics 1959 – 1994’, ‘Hank Williams: The Complete Lyrics’, ‘Reba McEntire: Country Music’s Queen’, ‘Randy Travis: King of The New Traditionalists’, ‘The Poet As Performer’, and ‘Sandi Patti: The Voice of Gospel’.
Don Cusic is also the author of two novels: ‘Sharecropper’s Son’ and ‘Dressed In Grey & Blue’ (a Civil War novel).
As a record producer, Don Cusic has produced albums on Bobby Bare and Melinda Doolittle (with Mike Curb).
On Tuesday 13 November 2012, Plowboy Records released Bobby Bare‘s ‘Darker Than Light’ (Plowboy Records, 2012), his first album since 2005.
Bobby Bare‘s ‘Darker Than Light’ (Plowboy Records, 2012) was produced by Plowboy Records co-founder Don Cusic and tracked at the famed RCA Studio B in Nashville, with a band which included Buddy Miller and Randy Lynn Scruggs (Monday 3 August 1953 – Tuesday 17 April 2018) on guitar, Byron House on bass, Marco Giovino on drums, and other members of Robert Plant’s Band of Joy.
‘Darker Than Light’ (Plowboy Records, 2012) was Bobby Bare’s first release in seven years and featured his inspired interpretations of songs by Bob Dylan, Alejandro Escovedo (who also made a guest appearance), Huddie William Ledbetter (Lead Belly) (20 January 1889 – Tuesday 6 December 1949) and others, plus new originals.
Bobby Bare‘s ‘Darker Than Light’ (Plowboy Records, 2012) included the following tracks:
‘Going Down The Road Feeling Bad (I Ain’t Going To Be Treated This Way)’, which was written by Lee Hays (14 March 1914 – Wednesday 26 August 1981) and Woodrow ‘Woody’ Wilson Guthrie (Sunday 14 July 1912 – Tuesday 3 October 1967)
‘John Hardy’, which was written by Huddie William Ledbetter (Lead Belly) (20 January 1889 – Tuesday 6 December 1949)
‘Boll Weevil’ (traditional) (arranged by Bobby Bare)
‘Farewell Angelina’ (written by Bob Dylan)
‘House of The Rising Sun’ (traditional) (arranged by Bobby Bare)
‘Lookout Mountain’, which was written by Dennis Linde (Thursday 18 March 1943 – Friday 22 December 2006)
‘I Was Drunk’ (written by Alejandro Escovedo)
‘I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For’ (written by Adam Clayton, Dave Evans, Larry Mullen, Paul David Hewson and Victor Reina)
‘Dark As A Dungeon’, which was written by Merle Travis (Thursday 29 November 1917 – Thursday 20 October 1983)
‘I Was A Young Man Once’ (written by Bobby Bare and Don Cusic)
‘Banks of The Ohio’ (traditional) (arranged by Bobby Bare)
‘Shenandoah’ (traditional) (arranged by Bobby Bare)
‘Woody’ (written by Bobby Bare)
‘Tennesse Stud’, which was written by James Corbitt Morris (known professionally as Jimmy Driftwood / Jimmie Driftwood) (20 June 1907 – Sunday 12 July 1998)
‘Tom Dooley’, which was written by Frank Noah Proffitt (1 June 1913 – Wednesday 24 November 1965), Francis M. ‘Frank’ Warner (5 April 1903 – Monday 27 February 1978), John Lomax and Alan Lomax (31 January 1915 – Friday 19 July 2002)
‘The Devil & Billy Markham’, which was written by Bobby Bare and Shel Silverstein (Thursday 25 September 1930 – Saturday 8 May 1999 / Sunday 9 May 1999)
Don Cusic also co-produced, with Cheetah Chrome, the Eddy Arnold (Wednesday 15 May 1918 – Thursday 8 May 2008) tribute album, ‘You Don’t Know Me: Rediscovering Eddy Arnold’ (Plowboy Records, 2013).
Don Cusic has contributed entries to a number of encyclopedias, including ‘The Grove Dictionary of Music, ‘The Guinness Encyclopedia of Blues & Gospel’, ‘The Encyclopedia of United States Popular Culture’, ‘The Protestant Encyclopedia’, ‘The Tennessee Encyclopedia & The Country Music Encyclopedia’ published by the Country Music Foundation.
Don Cusic has two entries (‘Johnny Cash’ and ‘Loretta Lynn‘) in the three volume source book ‘Icons’, which was published by Greenwood Press. In addition, Don Cusic wrote a chapter, ‘Cowboys In Chicago’ in the book, ‘The Hayloft Gang: The Story of The National Barn Dance and ‘Johnny Cash & C.S. Lewis’ in Literary Cash.
Don Cusic has had over 500 articles published since he began writing. Don Cusic has been the Country and Gospel Editor for Record World and Cashbox, a columnist for Music City News, editor of The Western Way (the quarterly publication of the Western Music Association), album reviewer and special correspondent for Billboard and book reviewer for Music Row Magazine.
Don Cusic has written liner notes for albums by a number of distinguished country music artists, including the following:
• Dolly Parton
• Willie Nelson
• Ray Stevens
• Bobby Bare
• George Jones (Saturday 12 September 1931 – Friday 26 April 2013)
• Eddy Arnold (Wednesday 15 May 1918 – Thursday 8 May 2008)
• Sonny James (Wednesday 1 May 1929 – Monday 22 February 2016)
• Gary Paxton
• George Beverly Shea
• Sheb Wooley (Sunday 10 April 1921 – Tuesday 16 September 2003
• The Oak Ridge Boys
• Lulu Belle & Scotty
• Jimmy Long
• Skeeter Davis (Wednesday 30 December 1931 – Sunday 19 September 2004)
• Lynn Anderson (Friday 26 September 1947 – Thursday 30 July 2015)
• Roy Drusky (Sunday 22 June 1930 – Thursday 23 September 2004)
• Floyd Cramer (Friday 27 October 1933 – Wednesday 31 December 1997)
Don Cusic and Mike Curb produced the album, ‘Lift Every Voice: The Historic Songs of James Weldon Johnson, sung by Melinda Doolittle.
Don Cusic was Compilation Producer with Mike Curb, and wrote the liner notes to the Sun Records 60th Anniversary set, assisted with the Time-Life series on Country Music, and wrote the booklet notes on the songs for Tammy Wynette (Tuesday 5 May 1942 – Monday 6 April 1998). Don Cusic wrote the liner notes for the Reader’s Digest album on George Beverly Shea.
As a scholar, Don Cusic has presented academic papers for the Popular Culture Association, the Popular Culture Association of the South, the American Studies Association, the International Association for the Study of Popular Music, the International Country Music Conference, the International Popular Culture Conference (in Oxford, England), the Tennessee Philological Society, the Tennessee Folklore Society, the Western Music Association, the Baseball Symposium, the International Association for the Study of Popular Music and the Music Educators Industry and Entertainment Association (MEIEA).
In addition to his articles, liner notes and papers, Don Cusic has had songs recorded by the Lewis Family, Lynn Morris, Bobby Bare, Peter Noone, Linda Davis, Eve Goldberg, Pam Mark Hall, Carroll Baker, Darrell McCall and Chris LeDoux (Saturday 2 October 1948 – Wednesday 9 March 2005).
In 1973, Don Cusic’s photography won a Tennessee Press Association award, and Don Cusic did the cover and liner photography for a Word album by Teddy Huffam & The Gems.
Don Cusic has hosted a television show, ‘The Music Biz’, written for The Nashville Network, and appeared a number of times on Country Music Television (CMT) programs, including the ‘Controversy’ series, ‘Greatest Patriotic Songs’, ‘Waiting In The Wings’ and others.
Don Cusic appeared on a number of TNN (The Nashville Network) shows, including ‘Life & Times of Eddy Arnold’, and the A&E Biography Series (on Hank Williams).
Don Cusic also appeared on the BBC series, ‘Lost Highway: The History of Country Music’, and ‘White Gospel’.
Don Cusic has also had roles in two movies, ‘Country Gold’ (a CBS television movie) and ‘Wish Me Away’, the documentary on Chely Wright.
Don Cusic was born in St. Mary’s County, Maryland.
Don Cusic attended St. Mary’s College and the University of Maryland where he received a B.S. in Journalism.
In 1972, Don Cusic moved to Tennessee; his first job in the music industry was with the Country Music Association as a staff writer, then with Record World, a trade publication as Nashville editor. From there, Don Cusic joined Monument Records, where he served as head of Artist Development and International Liaison (Monument was distributed by CBS International).
After leaving Monument Records, Don Cusic and Dan Beck formed a management and public relations company, where they managed Riders In The Sky and Dickey Lee.
After the management / PR company, Don Cusic became the first Nashville editor for Contemporary Christian Music magazine, then joined Cashbox as Country and Gospel Editor. During this period, Don Cusic served for three years on the Gospel Music Association’s Board of Directors.
In 1982, Don Cusic joined the faculty at Middle Tennessee State University teaching courses in the music business. Don Cusic earned a Masters and Doctorate in English from Middle Tennessee State University.
Since August 1994, Don Cusic has been Professor of Music Business at Belmont University, and since 2006, has held the professorship of Curb Professor of Music Industry History, endowed by the Mike Curb Family Foundation.
Don Cusic is the founding member and Chair of the Belmont Book Award, given each year to the best book in country music. Don Cusic is editor of the International Country Music Journal, an outgrowth of the International Country Music Conference, of which he is co-chair with James Akenson.
Don Cusic is a member of the Country Music Association (Lifetime), Western Music Association (Lifetime), the Gospel Music Association (Lifetime), the Recording Academy (formerly the National Association of Recording Arts & Sciences-NARAS), the International Bluegrass Music Association and the Music Educators Industry & Entertainment Association (MEIEA).
Don Cusic is a Commissioner on the Metro Historical Commission in Nashville.
Don Cusic supports Free Burma Rangers, Heifer, International, W.O. Smith School, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.
On Tuesday 14 May 2014, Plowboy Records released the Eddy Arnold (Wednesday 15 May 1918 – Thursday 8 May 2008) tribute album, ‘You Don’t Know Me: Rediscovering Eddy Arnold’ (Plowboy Records, 2013), which was produced by Don Cusic and Cheetah Chrome; the album, which was released in order to celebrate the Country Music Hall of Famer’s 70 years in music, coincided with what would have been Eddy Arnold’s 95th birthday on 15 May.
The Eddy Arnold (Wednesday 15 May 1918 – Thursday 8 May 2008) tribute album, ‘You Don’t Know Me: Rediscovering Eddy Arnold’ (Plowboy Records, 2013), included the following tracks:
‘It’s A Sin’, which was written by Fred Rose (Floyd Jenkins) (24 August 1898 – Wednesday 1 December 1954) and Zeb Turner (23 June 1915 – Tuesday 10 January 1978) / this track featured Alejandro Escovedo
‘Anytime’ (written by Herbert ‘Happy’ Lawson) / this track featured Chuck Mead
‘Make The World Go Away’, which was written by Hank Cochran (Friday 2 August 1935 – Thursday 15 July 2010) / this track featured Bobby Bare Jr.
‘You Don’t Know Me’, which was written by Eddy Arnold (Wednesday 15 May 1918 – Thursday 8 May 2008) and Cindy Walker (Saturday 20 July 1918 – Thursday 23 March 2006) / this track featured Mary Gauthier
‘Something Old, Something New (Something Borrowed & Blue)’ / this track featured Peter Noone
‘Texarkana Baby’, which was written by Cottonseed Clark (12 April 1909 – Thursday 9 January 1992) and Fred Rose (Floyd Jenkins) (24 August 1898 – Wednesday 1 December 1954) / this track featured Jason Ringenberg
‘How’s The World Treating You’, which was written by Chet Atkins (Friday 20 June 1924 – Saturday 30 June 2001) and Boudleaux Bryant (Friday 13 February 1920 – Thursday 25 June 1987) / this track featured Mandy Barnett
‘Lovebug Itch’, which was written by Roy Bodkin and Jenny Lou Carson (Wednesday 13 January 1915 – Saturday 16 December 1978) / this track featured Pokey LaFarge
‘What Is Life Without Love’, which was written by Eddy Arnold (Wednesday 15 May 1918 – Thursday 8 May 2008), Owen Bradley (Thursday 21 October 1915 – Wednesday 7 January 1998) and Vic McAlpin (Monday 4 February 1918 – Friday 18 January 1980) / this track featured Cheetah Chrome
‘Johnny Reb, That’s Me’, which was written by Bill Cornelius Graham (Monday 26 August 1940 – Monday 21 October 2019) / this track featured Jason Isbell
‘Just A Little Lovin’ (Will Go A Long Way)’, which was written by Eddy Arnold (Wednesday 15 May 1918 – Thursday 8 May 2008) and Zeke Clements (6 September 1911 – Saturday 4 June 1994) / this track featured Chris Scruggs
‘Bouquet of Roses’, which was written by Bob Hilliard (Monday 28 January 1918 – Monday 1 February 1971) and Steve Edward Nelson (24 November 1907 – Friday 13 November 1981) / this track featured Melinda Doolittle
‘That’s How Much I Love You’, which was written by Eddy Arnold (Wednesday 15 May 1918 – Thursday 8 May 2008), Wally Fowler and J. Graydon Hall / this track featured The Bluefields
‘Cattle Call’, which was written by Tex Owens (15 June 1892 – Sunday 9 September 1962) / this track featured Pete Mroz
‘I’ll Hold You In My Heart’, which was written by Eddy Arnold (Wednesday 15 May 1918 – Thursday 8 May 2008) and Thomas Christopher Dilbeck (17 November 1905 – Thursday 30 June 1983) / this track featured Bebe Buell
‘Jim, I Wore A Tie Today’, which was written by Cindy Walker (Saturday 20 July 1918 – Thursday 23 March 2006) / this track featured Lambchop
‘That Do Make It Nice’, which was written by Eddy Arnold (Wednesday 15 May 1918 – Thursday 8 May 2008), Fred Ebb and Paul Klein / this track featured Sylvain Sylvain
‘Wreck of The Old ’97’, which was written by Gilliam Banmon Grayson (11 November 1887 – Saturday 16 August 1930) and Henry Whitter (6 April 1892 – Monday 17 November 1941) / this track featured Drivin’ ‘n’ Cryin’
‘Don’t Rob Another Man’s Castle’, which was written by Jenny Lou Carson (Wednesday 13 January 1915 – Saturday 16 December 1978) / this track featured Frank Black
On Friday 14 August 2020, Jeannie Seely saw the release of ‘An American Classic’ (Curb Records, 2020), which was produced by Don Cusic, and included thirteen tracks. The record was Jeannie Seely‘s 17th studio project and her first in three years. The album includes a mixture of new recordings, as well as re-recordings of Jeannie Seely‘s familiar tunes.
Jeannie Seely agreed after finding that Don Cusic was interested in recording her, later saying that she was ‘thrilled’ to work with him. ‘She is a favourite of fans, as well as country singers who admire and respect her talent and love her as a classy lady. The title of this album, ‘An American Classic’, fits her perfectly’, Don Cusic commented at the time. Jim Ed Norman also contributed a track, featuring Ray Stevens, to the record’s production.
Jeannie Seely‘s ‘An American Classic’ (Curb Records, 2020) included the following tracks:
‘So Far, So Good’ (written by Mitch Ballard and Penn Pennington) / this track featured guest vocals from The Whites
‘If You Could Call It That’, which was written by Bobby Tomberlin, Steve Wariner and Dottie West (Tuesday 11 October 1932 – Wednesday 4 September 1991) / this track featured guest vocals from Steve Wariner, and was written after a friend found an unfinished song journal from Jeannie Seely‘s friend and country music artist, Dottie West; songwriters Bobby Tomberlin and Steve Wariner adapted Dottie West’s journal notes into a song
‘To Make A Dream Come True’ (written by C.W. ‘Buddy Kalb’ Jr.)
‘Teach Me Tonight’, which was written by Sammy Cahn (Wednesday 18 June 1913 – Friday 15 January 1993) and Gene DePaul
‘Can I Sleep In Your Arms Tonight’, which was written by Hank Cochran (Friday 2 August 1935 – Thursday 15 July 2010) / this track was a re-recording / the original version of this track, which was recorded by Jeannie Seely and included on ‘Can I Sleep In Your Arms’ (MCA Records, 1973), reached No.6 on the Billboard country music singles chart in 1973
‘Not A Dry Eye In The House’ (written by Dallas Wayne) / this track featured guest vocals from Willie Nelson
‘Old Flames (Can’t Hold A Candle To You)’ (written by Hugh Moffat and Pebe Sebert) / this track featured guest vocals from Waylon Payne / the original version of this track, which was recorded by Dolly Parton, who included it on ‘Dolly Dolly Dolly’ (RCA Victor Records, 1980), was No.1 on the Billboard country music singles chart for one week in September / October 1980
‘That’s How I Roll’ (written by Tim Atwood and Brent Ronen) / this track featured guest vocals from Vince Gill and Lorrie Morgan
‘Don’t Touch Me’, which was written by Hank Cochran (Friday 2 August 1935 – Thursday 15 July 2010) / this track was a re-recording / the original version of this track was recorded by Jeannie Seely on Saturday 12 March 1966, and was included on Jeannie Seely‘s ‘The Seely Style’ (Monument Records, 1966); Jeannie Seely‘s version of the track was No.2 on the Billboard country music singles chart for three weeks in 1966, although it actually reached No.1 on all the other major charts, including Cashbox and Record World, and was also a crossover hit on the Billboard Hot 100 pop music singles chart in 1966
‘Dance Tonight’ (written by Paul McCartney) / this track featured guest vocals from Ray Stevens
‘Peaceful Waters’ (written by Don Cusic)
Personnel involved in the recording of Jeannie Seely‘s ‘An American Classic’ (Curb Records, 2020) included the following:
Bill Anderson, Vince Gill, Lorrie Morgan, Willie Nelson, Waylon Payne, Ray Stevens, Rhonda Vincent, Steve Wariner, and The Whites (guest vocals)
Jeannie Seely (lead vocals)
Don Cusic (producer)
Jim Ed Norman (executive producer)