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 2019, 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 Leslie Tom, which she submitted to this site on Monday 28 January 2019.
Sean Brady would like to take this opportunity to say ‘thank you’ to Leslie Tom who made a special contribution to this unique part of this online ‘celebration of a Lone Star Hero’.
This quote was submitted on Monday 28 January 2019.
‘I had the pleasure of playing with Gene at the 2008 Scandinavian Country Music Festival in Gavle, Sweden.
He has one of the most recognizable voices in country music and is a loyalist, which I love and respect in an artist.
He gives his fans a great show and sings the kind of songs I wish more modern ‘country’ artists would learn to write and sing’
Thank you, Leslie Tom, for your support of Gene Watson.
About Leslie Tom…
Leslie Tom was born on Sunday 19 December 1976 in San Antonio, Texas, and was raised in Corpus Christi, Texas, by her mom and step-dad, but spent weekends with her father and step-mother ninety miles away.
On the drives to and from her father’s house on Friday nights, Bobby (Leslie’s father), would put on his cassette tapes of Patsy Cline (Thursday 8 September 1932 – Tuesday 5 March 1963), Tammy Wynette (Tuesday 5 May 1942 – Monday 6 April 1998), George Jones (Saturday 12 September 1931 – Friday 26 April 2013), Hank Williams (Monday 17 September 1923 – Thursday 1 January 1953), and eventually The Judds – Wynonna Judd and Naomi Judd (Friday 11 January 1946 – Saturday 30 April 2022) – and Reba McEntire.
Leslie Tom loved the old songs and singing along with them on those long car rides.
After being exposed to country music classics, Leslie Tom was accepted to a private art and music academy in Corpus Christi, Texas where she chose to play the violin. After changing schools and losing touch with her violin teacher, Leslie Tom soon learned to play piano and clarinet in her new town. Though none of the instrument playing stuck with her, Leslie Tom found choir, and subsequently her voice in high school, and knew she found her place in the music world.
Following graduation from Texas A&M in 1998 and settling into a corporate job, Leslie Tom knew something was missing in her life. ‘The Today Show’ on NBC was hosting a singing competition and Leslie Tom decided she was going to enter.
Leslie Tom worked one-on-one with a voice coach in San Antonio, Texas in order to prepare for the competition and sang her first solo performance in front of 10,000 people in the AT&T Center in 2004.
Though her goal of trying out for the ‘American Idol’-type competition didn’t come to fruition, Leslie Tom was chosen as a contestant on ‘Gimme The Mike’ and made her first television debut in a singing competition that same year (2004).
On Tuesday 3 October 2006, Leslie Tom saw the release of her debut album, ‘High Maintenance’ (Electric Cactus Records, 2006), which included the following tracks:
‘I’ll Take The Fifth’
‘I Love Texas More Than You’ / this track featured guest vocals from Ray Benson
‘Boys In The Band’ (written by Becky Hobbs) / this track was Leslie Tom’s first single, which spent 10 weeks on the Texas Country Chart
‘What Do I Do With Me Now’
‘Bless This Barbeque’
‘Don’t Call Him A Cowboy’
‘Devil On The Left’
‘What’s Wrong With This Picture’
From her early singing days in 2004, Leslie Tom has entertained audiences across the United States and Europe.
Leslie Tom was also invited to audition for the producers of ‘Nashville Star’, for which she was thankful for the ‘awesome experience’, which gave her visibility to a more mainstream audience.
After making the Texas music rounds and playing in honky tonks around the Lone Star state, Leslie Tom decided to chase her dream in Nashvile.
In August 2008, Leslie Tom moved to Nashville to fulfill her childhood dream of becoming a fully-fledged country music singer.
After spending a few years in Nashville playing writers-rounds, and collaborating with other Nashville-based songwriters, Leslie Tom decided that Texas was truly her home, and returned to Austin, Texas in 2010.
In 2012, Leslie Tom saw the release of ‘The Second Act’ (Leslie Tom Independent Release, 2012), an autobiographical story of Leslie Tom’s life, following the release of her debut album, ‘High Maintenance’ (Electric Cactus Records, 2006).
Through heartbreak, pain and learning to love again, Leslie Tom’s ‘The Second Act’ (Leslie Tom Independent Release, 2012) truly encompassed the Leslie Tom of 2012; the EP (extended play) included the following tracks:
‘I’m Together Again’
‘Ain’t Had No Lovin’
‘That Someone Else’
‘You Never Can Tell (C’est La Vie)’
‘Big Girl Panties’
In 2014, Leslie Tom settled in Denver, Colorado.
Since her move to Denver, Colorado Leslie Tom saw a fresh surge in her music career, as her genuine style and heartfelt lyrics connected with a whole new audience.
On Friday 11 November 2016, Leslie Tom, with Pete Scobell, saw the release of ‘Didn’t Think Twice’ (Coastal Bend Music, 2016).
‘Within a few days of D-Day, on Tuesday 6 June 1944, Milton Smallwood Alexander, a 26-year-old Texan and Leslie Tom’s grandfather, landed on the shores of Normandy with a tank regiment of the Third Armored Division.
As a tank driver, Milton Smallwood Alexander was one of the brave Americans who liberated France, Belgium, and then Germany, before returning home to resume a ‘normal life’.
Like many of the Veterans of WWII, nightmares must have wrestled in his head of that horrific war, especially those of fighting in the Battle of the Bulge, and watching his best friend die beside him as a deuce-and-a-half accidentally rolled over him, ultimately saving Milton Smallwood Alexander’s life.
For that generation of men, war was not discussed, though we can only surmise that the experiences they had were with the ‘Greatest Generation’ for a lifetime.
When Leslie Tom began working on her third studio project, a tribute to her grandfather and his service to the United States was important to document in a song. Leslie Tom wanted to write a song loosely based on Milton Smallwood Alexander’s experience with WWII. With this generation of men and women quickly passing away, Leslie Tom wanted to write a song that told their story but that other Veterans and active-duty service men and women could relate to as well.
As Leslie Tom and Billy O’Rourke began working on the song, the theme that kept coming back during the songwriting process was the thought that those men and most soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen ‘Didn’t Think Twice’ about their sacrifices and would do it all over again a hundred times over if given the chance.
Not all aspects of the song are solely biographical of Milton Smallwood Alexander’s life; however, most Veterans will relate to the story.
John Macy began producing ‘Didn’t Think Twice’ (Coastal Bend Music, 2016) and had an idea to include Pete Scobell in the project. Pete Scobell is a Naval Academy graduate and an ex-Navy SEAL, who proudly served the United States with multiple tours of duty. After leaving the military, Pete Scobell also became a musician and had an iTunes chart-topping song, ‘Hearts I Leave Behind’, which featured in the film ‘American Sniper’ (about Chris Kyle’s life) with vocals from country music royalty Wynonna Judd.
Pete Scobell graciously agreed to sing a duet with Leslie Tom on ‘Didn’t Think Twice’ (Coastal Bend Music, 2016), which was released, complete with a full national publicity campaign, on Veterans Day, Friday 11 November 2016.
The most important part of the ‘Didn’t Think Twice’ (Coastal Bend Music, 2016) project from Leslie Tom and Pete Scobell is the benefit veterans will receive from its proceeds. One hundred percent of sales from the song will go to the Travis Manion Foundation, a non-profit organization whose mission is to empower veterans and families of fallen heroes to develop character in future generations’
In 2017, Leslie Tom saw the release of her self-titled EP (extended play) disc, ‘Leslie Tom’ (Coastal Bend Music, 2017), which was produced by John Macy, and included the following tracks:
‘Hank You Very Much’
‘Every Other Friday’
‘Breakin’ My Own Heart’
‘My Only Addiction’ / this track was a duet with Kevin Moon, who appeared courtesy of Dirt Road Records
‘Didn’t Think Twice’
‘Hardest Thing I’ll Ever Do’
‘Leavin’ On Your Mind’, which was written by Wayne Walker and Webb Pierce (Monday 8 August 1921 – Sunday 24 February 1991) / the original version of this track was recorded by Patsy Cline (Thursday 8 September 1932 – Tuesday 5 March 1963), and was intended to be included on ‘Faded Love’, Patsy Cline’s fourth album for Decca Records
However, ‘Faded Love’, Patsy Cline’s intended fourth album for Decca Records, was never released, as a result of the tragic event that ended her life, which was a plane crash that occurred near Camden, Tennessee on Tuesday 5 March 1963.
Patsy Cline’s ‘Faded Love’ was intended to be released by Decca Records at the end of March 1963; the album was instead released as a double compilation album, ‘The Patsy Cline Story’ (Decca Records, 1963), in 1963 and, when Decca Records was taken over by MCA Records, it was re-issued, on MCA Records, in 1973.
In 1988, ‘The Patsy Cline Story’ (Decca Records, 1963) was released for the first time on CD.
Patsy Cline’s original version of ‘Leavin’ On Your Mind’, which was written by Wayne Walker and Webb Pierce (Monday 8 August 1921 – Sunday 24 February 1991), reached No.8 on the Billboard country music singles chart in 1963, and No.83 on the Billboard Hot 100 pop music singles chart in 1963.
Personnel involved in the recording of Leslie Tom’s self-titled EP (extended play) disc, ‘Leslie Tom’ (Coastal Bend Music, 2017), included the following:
Leslie Tom (lead vocals)
Kevin Moon (duet vocal)
Chris Leuzinger and Kerry Conner (acoustic guitar)
Eugene Moles, Steve Hinson and Chris Leuzinger (electric guitar)
Lloyd Green and John Macy (steel guitar)
Hargus ‘Pig’ Robbins (Tuesday 18 January 1938 – Sunday 30 January 2022) and Matt Weezner (keyboards)
Hank Singer (fiddle)
John Gardner and Dennis Holt (drums)
David Smith and Kenny Passarelli (bass)
Todd Moore (percussion)
Kerry Conner and Lindsey Brown (background vocals)
On Friday 23 March 2018, Leslie Tom saw the release of ‘Ain’t It Something, Hank Williams’ (Coastal Bend Music, 2018), an album dedicated to the music, and spirit, of Hank Williams (Monday 17 September 1923 – Thursday 1 January 1953), which was produced by John Macy, and included the following tracks:
‘Born Too Late’
‘Hey, Good Lookin’ (written by Hank Williams) / the original version of this track was recorded by Hank Williams, whose version reached No.1 on the Billboard country music singles chart in 1951
‘Ain’t It Something, Hank Williams’
‘Are You Ready For Some Hanky Panky’ (written by Leslie Tom and Dean Miller) / this track featured guest vocals from Dean Miller
‘I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry’ (written by Hank Williams) / the original version of this track was recorded by Hank Williams, whose version reached No.2 on the Billboard country music singles chart in 1949
‘Still Love You (Audrey’s Song)’, which was written by Andy Wren, Sean Gasaway and Leslie Tom / this track was dedicated to Hank Williams’ first wife, Audrey Mae Sheppard Williams (Wednesday 28 February 1923 – Tuesday 4 November 1975)
‘Angel of Death’
‘Hank You Very Much’
Personnel involved in the recording of Leslie Tom’s ‘Ain’t It Something, Hank Williams’ (Coastal Bend Music, 2018) included the following:
Lloyd Green (steel guitar)
Andy Hall (Dobro on ‘Angel of Death’)
Walter Hartman (drums)
Joe Reed and Lindsey Brown (bass)
Eugene Moles (guitar)
Todd Moore (drums)
Ben Waligoske (acoustic guitar)
Matt Weesner (Wurlitzer)
Larry Nix (harmony vocals)
Leslie Tom’s ‘Ain’t It Something, Hank Williams’ (Coastal Bend Music, 2018) established her as a major voice in traditional country music.
Leslie Tom’s ‘Ain’t It Something, Hank Williams’ (Coastal Bend Music, 2018) is not your typical tribute record. It’s a 10-track reflection of Leslie Tom’s own journey in life, thoughtfully – and often playfully – intertwined with Hank Williams-inspired tales of addiction, love, heartache and loss.
Leading with her irresistible vocals and proclivity for grounded storytelling, Leslie Tom has worked extensively with some of country music’s finest players, from honky-tonk piano veteran and Country Music Hall of Famer, Hargus ‘Pig’ Robbins (Tuesday 18 January 1938 – Sunday 30 January 2022), who has played on records from (amongst others), Merle Haggard (Tuesday 6 April 1937 – Wednesday 6 April 2016), Loretta Lynn (Thursday 14 April 1932 – Tuesday 4 October 2022) and Sturgill Simpson, and pedal-steel genius, Lloyd Green, who has played on records from (amongst others), George Jones (Saturday 12 September 1931 – Friday 26 April 2013), Johnny Paycheck (Tuesday 31 May 1938 – Wednesday 19 February 2003) and Charley Pride (Friday 18 March 1934 – Saturday 12 December 2020), to Asleep At The Wheel frontman Ray Benson.
Leslie Tom has also had the honour of sharing stages with Lee Roy Parnell, Gene Watson (Fan Site & Official Site), Josh Turner, Jeff Bates and Kevin Fowler, and played ZiegenBock Music Festival in 2017, alongside acts such as Aaron Lewis, Josh Abbott Band, Blackberry Smoke, Whiskey Myers and Jamestown Revival.
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