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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 2009 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 Donna Ulisse, which she submitted to this site on Tuesday 11 August 2009.
Sean Brady would like to take this opportunity to say 'thank you' to Donna Ulisse who made a special contribution to this unique part of this online 'celebration of a Lone Star Hero'.
This quote was submitted on Tuesday 11 August 2009.
'As I was growing up and learning to hone my own country/bluegrass style of writing and singing, I leaned heavily on the greats, one of which is Gene Watson.
Gene approaches a country song the way any master of his craft would, with a passionate delivery to every tune he sinks his teeth into. He moves me every time I hear him!
When Gene Watson cuts a song, there is a real strong possibility it will live on through the ages...that's the stamp he places on a songwriter's creation.
I think part of me uses his voice in my head when I write a country song so...THANK YOU Gene!'
Thank you, Donna Ulisse, for your support of Gene Watson.
About Donna Ulisse...
Donna Ulisse (pronounced 'you-liss-ee') was born in Hampton, Virginia; surrounded by a musical family, she made her first appearance singing at the tender age of three when she wandered onto the stage with a bluegrass band and broke out into 'Take This Hammer'.
From that moment on, there was never any doubt that Donna would be creating music. She worked in a local western swing band where she met and married Rick Stanley, being fully indoctrinated into a bluegrass family when Rick's cousin, Ralph Stanley, along with the Clinch Mountain Boys, performed at their wedding reception.
In the 1980s, Donna Ulisse moved to Nashville and stayed busy singing demos for publishers and writers. She has had a busy life as a respected vocalist behind the scenes with her first session as a young background singer being for a Jerry Reed (Saturday 20 March 1937 - Sunday 31 August 2008) album and finding out at the last minute that Jerry Reed preferred to sing around the microphone with the singers. It was a wonderfully unnerving experience for the young Ulisse.
When renowned country songwriter Glenn Sutton (Tuesday 28 September 1937 - Tuesday 17 April 2007) was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1999, it was Donna Ulisse who was called upon to sing some of his hits recorded by Tammy Wynette (Tuesday 5 May 1942 - Monday 6 April 1998) and Lynn Anderson for the who's who of the music industry crowd and she brought the house down.
Fans still remember Donna Ulisse as an artist on Atlantic Records where she was signed and released the album 'Trouble At The Door' (Atlantic Records, 1991). The album produced three hit singles and two videos. During this time, Donna appeared on the network TV show 'Hot Country Nights', was a guest on 'Hee Haw', 'Nashville Now' and 'Crook & Chase'.
After Donna's deal with Atlantic Records ended, she turned her attention to song-writing. In time her publisher noticed that when she wrote alone, the songs generally took on a bluegrass feel that was vocally authentic when she sang the demos.
The company - Hadley Music Group - decided to record a project of these tunes and start a label around this effort which became an album; 'When I Look Back' (Hadley Music Group) was released in 2007.
'When I Look Back' (Hadley Music Group, 2007) was produced by noted singer, songwriter and guitarist Keith Sewell; he had seen the release of his highly acclaimed debut album, 'Love Is A Journey' (Skaggs Family Records, 2005) in 2005.
Donna Ulisse's 'When I Look Back' (Hadley Music Group, 2007) included fourteen cuts all written or co-written by Donna Ulisse. Other musicians with Keith Sewell on the project included Scott Vestal, Andy Leftwich, Byron House, Randy Kohrs and Jesse Cobb, along with guest vocalists Carl Jackson, Larry Cordle, Wendy Sewell and Rick Stanley, as well as Keith Sewell.
'When I Look Back' (Hadley Music Group, 2007) was enthusiastically received by radio and fans. As her first bluegrass release was catching on, Donna Ulisse stayed busy doing some select dates and focused on making sure she was writing enough new tunes for a follow-up album at the request of her label.
In March 2008, Donna Ulisse went back into the studio with producer Keith Sewell to start the recording process once again, with the final result being 'Walk This Mountain Down' (Hadley Music Group, 2008), a new collection of self-penned tunes with an all-star cast of players and guests. It was also at this time that Donna Ulisse formed her own band, 'The Poor Mountain Boys'.