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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 2007 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 Josh Shilling, which he submitted to this site on Wednesday 21 February 2007.
Sean Brady would like to take this opportunity to say 'thank you' to Josh Shilling 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 21 February 2007.
'I was first exposed to Gene's music by my family as a child. Even then, I was mesmerised by the way he delivered and still does deliver a song. I started playing in bands and covering songs by Gene in my early teens and, over the years, I have worked with numerous groups of musicians that looked up to Gene's work.
I can remember playing 'Farewell Party' behind Billy 'Crash' Craddock, and listening to him say every night, 'there are only a few real singers left in country music, and this song is by one of them'. He loved Gene's voice as much as anyone.
I've worked with Gene several times since, most recently at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee. It is not surprising to me that I still get the same feeling that I got the first time I heard his voice.
I know that so many others agree with me when I say, Gene Watson is and always will be an icon of country music'.
Thank you, Josh Shilling, for your support of Gene Watson.
About Josh Shilling...
Josh Shilling is a native of Martinsville, Virginia where he was born on Tuesday 5 July 1983. When he was seven years old, Josh began playing the piano. He started listening to 1950's style honky-tonk piano and realised at this young age that he had a keen ear and was able to easily play most songs within only minutes of practicing.
By the time he was ten years old, Josh Shilling began competing and winning in state-wide talent shows. Shortly thereafter, he was influenced by a jazz/rock fusion style of playing and began performing as a professional pianist at the age of thirteen, sharing the stage with local variety bands in Martinsville. Throughout high school, he honed his craft in bars and at local events including everything from weddings to high school events.
Josh Shilling spent most of his extra time working at writing new material and becoming fluent in nearly every style of music. His hard work paid off; he was called upon to work on select projects by various studios. When he was awarded the First Annual Musicians Scholarship Fund, he used the money to record some of his original material.
Josh Shilling graduated from high school a year early in June 2001 to pursue playing full time. He was hired to play with The Kings, a successful regional band from Roanoke, Virginia, when he was eighteen years old. He began performing in large hotels and at corporate events on the east coast of the United States. Josh added Rhythm and Blues to his ever growing repertoire of playing styles.
During his time with The Kings, Josh Shilling became known for his soulful vocals, influenced by artists such as Otis Redding and Michael McDonald. Shortly after starting with The Kings, Josh began playing showcases with national recording artist Cimmaron. He developed a classic country style of playing piano and his peers saw him as seasoned beyond his years.
Working with Cimmaron, Josh Shilling shared the stage with multiple national acts that eventually resulted in a job touring with Billy 'Crash' Craddock. While working with Billy, he was able to travel to Fan Fair in Nashville and performed in theatres and civic centres from Maine to Mississippi.
In Autumn 2005, Josh Shilling was involved with the Detroit-based group, Balancing Act. During the Summer of 2006, Josh toured with The Embers, a band based out of Raleigh, North Carolina.
Starting in January 2007, Josh became the lead singer of the acoustic group Mountain Heart, as well as playing guitar and keyboards.
Josh Shilling has opened for, or played with, a variety of artists, including Billy 'Crash' Craddock, Trace Atkins, Jack Greene, Jeannie Seely, Trick Pony, Gene Watson, Mel McDaniel (Sunday 6 September 1942 - Thursday 31 March 2011), Jason Aldean, Miranda Lambert, Shenandoah and Tommy Overstreet.
Gene Watson and Josh Shilling backstage at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville on Friday 16 February 2007