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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 Billy Arr, which he submitted to this site on Wednesday 2 June 2010.
Sean Brady would like to take this opportunity to say 'thank you' to Billy Arr who made a special contribution to this unique part of this online 'celebration of a Lone Star Hero'.
This quote was submitted on Wednesday 2 June 2010.
'I have worked fulltime in the Nashville music industry since 1967, as a songwriter, a recording artist, a music publisher and as a travelling entertainer on the road, playing piano and opening shows for the stars.
I have seen and heard most of the country music stars and heard many great voices, and in my opinion, Gene Watson is absolutely one of the best country music singers ever in the business, probably in the Top 5 of all time.
One of my proudest moments in the business was the day I picked up a copy of my song 'The Minds Of Lonely Men', recorded by Gene Watson. It was never released as a record and finally wound up in the 'demo' publishing files of Surefire Music, a company owned by Doyle and Teddy Wilburn, but I think I will cherish that moment forever'.
Thank you, Billy Arr, for your support of Gene Watson.
About Billy Arr...
Billy Arr was born and raised on traditional country music in Dixon, Missouri.
Billy joined the United States Army where he served eleven years until he finally realised that he was spending a lot more time playing music in Army Clubs than he was soldiering.
Billy Arr resigned from the United States Army and stayed in Germany, playing music for a year before returning to the United States. Once he was back home in Missouri, Billy Arr put a band together immediately and played the same club for a year and a half. He then hit the road with the band, playing Indianapolis, Peoria, Kansas City and St. Louis.
Billy Arr signed on and worked as a frontman for Cristy Lane in Peoria for about a year before he finally settled in Topeka, Kansas. A bass-playing army buddy and Billy bought two clubs there; one was a 300-seater with live music six nights a week, while the other was a 'Surf and Turf' restaurant with a piano bar.
Billy Arr made his first three-day trip to Nashville in early 1970 and took with him only eleven of his 300-plus songs. Luckily, he was able to play all eleven of those songs for Curly Putman, noted songwriter of many classic country music hits, including 'D.I.V.O.R.C.E' and 'Green, Green Grass Of Home'.
Curly Putman owned Green Grass Music at the time and Tree Publishing Company was handling his catalogue. Curly Putman listened to all eleven tracks, selected nine for his publishing company, called a demo session for the next day and asked Billy Arr to sing the demos, which were recorded in Tree Publishing's small 4-track studio. (Later hit songwriters) Dave Kirby (Sunday 10 July 1938 - Saturday 17 April 2004) and Bobby Braddock were two of the musicians who participated on the recording session.
After the recording session, Billy Arr returned to Topeka and waited. Four weeks later, Curly Putman called to say that Charlie Walker (Tuesday 2 November 1926 - Friday 12 September 2008) had recorded one of the songs, 'Let's Go Fishin' Boys, The Girls Are Biting' as his next single; the track was subsequently included on Charlie Walker's 'Honky Tonkin' (Epic Records, 1971).
Curly Putman called Billy Arr the night Charlie Walker first sang 'Let's Go Fishin' Boys, The Girls Are Biting' on the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. The song hit the Top 20 on the Billboard country music singles chart, so Billy Arr moved permanently to Nashville.
Things in Nashville were a little bit slow initially for Billy, so he put another band together and toured the club circuit, booked by Nashville's Buddy Lee Agency. It was also at this time that Billy Arr recorded for both Rice Records and GRT Records.
After a year on his own, Billy Arr signed on as frontman/keyboard player for Dave Dudley (Thursday 3 May 1928 - Monday 22 December 2003) and also acted as his road manager for a couple of years. Billy Arr then worked the same gig for Billie Jo Spears (Friday 14 January 1938 - Wednesday 14 December 2011), Wayne Kemp, Dicky Lee and Del Reeves.
It was fortunate during this period that Billy Arr saw his songs being recorded by some of the biggest names in country music including Mel Tillis, Faron Young (Thursday 25 February 1932 - Tuesday 10 December 1996), Loretta Lynn, Wilburn Brothers, The Kendalls, Freddie Hart, Mickey Gilley, Gene Watson, Dave Dudley (Thursday 3 May 1928 - Monday 22 December 2003), Billie Jo Spears (Friday 14 January 1938 - Wednesday 14 December 2011) and Roy Rogers (Sunday 5 November 1911 - Monday 6 July 1998).
Faron Young (Thursday 25 February 1932 - Tuesday 10 December 1996) recorded Billy Arr's 'Left To Right Or Right To Wrong' (co-written with Faron Young and Bill Rigsby) and included the track on 'This Little Girl Of Mine' (Mercury Records, 1972).
Loretta Lynn recorded Billy Arr's 'Love's On The Loose' and included the track on 'One's On The Way' (Decca Records, 1972).
Wilburn Bros recorded Billy Arr's 'The Minds Of Lonely Men' and included the track on 'Portrait' (MCA Records, 1973).
Mel Tillis recorded Billy Arr's 'Lookin' For Tomorrow (And Finding Yesterday)' (co-written with David Allds) and included the track on 'M-M-Mel' (MGM Records, 1975).
Mickey Gilley recorded Billy Arr's 'What Is It' and included the track on 'Smokin' (Playboy Records, 1976).
The Kendalls recorded Billy Arr's 'You're My Man' and included the track on 'Let The Music Play/Heaven's Just A Sin Away' (Ovation Records, 1977).
Billy Arr is also very proud of his songs which have been recorded by country music artists in Denmark, Germany, Norway, Canada, Brazil, Asia and South Africa.
Billy Arr lives in Nashville with his wife, Wanda Kay. He loves to produce records, publish music and play dates, both in and outside of Tennessee. Billy works with a band out of Nashville called 'Roadhouse' and a band out of Missouri called 'The Jazzabillies' when he plays west of the Mississippi, while Wanda Kay's band is called 'The Arrangers'.