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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 Tony Byworth, which he submitted to this site on Monday 22 January 2007.
Sean Brady would like to take this opportunity to say 'thank you' to Tony Byworth who has made a special contribution to a unique part of this online 'celebration of a Lone Star Hero'.
This quote was submitted on Monday 22 January 2007.
'Thank heavens for Gene Watson - a gem in the wilderness. He's one of that select band of artists who continues to keep real country music alive.
He's hardcore and what country music should be, possessing a voice that's immediately distinctive, singing real country songs accompanied by real country musicians. None of that pop-hybrid country stuff that's the prime sound that's the mainstream of country these days.
I loved this man's music right from the start and over thirty years later (is it really that long?) nothing's changed my opinion.
Long may he reign!'
Thank you, Tony Byworth, for your support of Gene Watson.
About Tony Byworth...
Tony Byworth, who was born on Wednesday 12 November 1941, is one of the few Brits to be wholly involved in country music for over thirty years, building connections through frequent visits to Nashville.
Tony Byworth is a veteran of the country music scene and is well known in both the UK and USA, having commenced his career as a journalist in 1971. During the 1970s, he was one of music’s most prolific writers and, in addition to providing features for both trade and consumer publications, was a contributing editor to Record Mirror, Music Week and the US trade publication Billboard.
Enjoying a multi faceted career, Tony Byworth served briefly (1974 - 1976) as Catalogue Manager of Acuff-Rose Music’s London office, appointed by Nashville’s Wesley Rose, and was twice elected Chairman of the Country Music Association (Great Britain) in the late 1970s.
A founding member of the consumer BCMA, Tony Byworth edited the monthly magazine Country Music People for six years (1977 - 1983), was a contributing editor for Billboard, Music Week and The Stage, and provided columns for pop music publications.
In 1984, Tony Byworth co-founded Byworth-Wootton International, the UK's first country-music services company, which led to working with many top country music artists from the United States of America.
Tony Byworth also provided PR services on behalf of Garth Brooks and George Strait, as well as developing various country projects, including an internet site and the London-based country music radio station Ritz 1035, which was formerly known as London's Country 1035AM.
London's Country 1035AM, the UK's first terrestrial country music radio station, took to the air on 1035kHz AM (medium wave) in London, England on Thursday 1 September 1994.
London's Country began life in September 1994 as Country 1035AM, a country music radio station broadcasting to London on medium wave. Over the next few years, successive takeovers and relaunches saw the station broadcast under the names RTL Country 1035, Ritz Radio 1035 and Mean Country 1035.
In 2003, the Sunrise Radio Group acquired Mean Country 1035 and renamed the station Easy Radio. Sunrise agreed a slight change of format with the Radio Authority permitting it to reduce the proportion of pure country tracks and play more mainstream pop and rock songs that were either influenced by country music or musically compatible with it.
The author of several books, numerous sleeve notes and album compilations, Tony Byworth is the recipient of many awards, including the Country Music Association's prestigious 'Wesley Rose (Foreign Media Achievement) Award' in 1993 - especially pleasing to him as he had been catalogue manager for Acuff-Rose Music two decades earlier.
Tony Byworth (far right) with David Allan, Rachael Warwick and George Hamilton IV
On Saturday 12 November 2011, Tony Byworth was honoured in Texas with a flag flown at the State Capital in Austin in recognition of his years of support for Texas music.
On Sunday 13 November 2011, Tony Byworth was presented with the Lone Star flag and a certificate celebrating the event by the State of Texas House of Representatives, signed Rod Welsh, Sergeant-at-Arms.
In December 2011, Tony Byworth was named December's 'Member of The Month' by the Country Music Association (CMA) in Nashville, with an article in the Association's 'Close Up' magazine.
'Close Up' is an award-winning, bi-monthly magazine produced by CMA. The magazine features artist profiles, spotlights on CMA events and in-depth articles on new developments, technologies and initiatives that are relevant to the music industry.
Launched in April 2011, CMA 'Close Up' honors a CMA 'Member of the Month' by recognising individual constituents and their achievements by featuring them in an article and interview online.
Tony Byworth was the first international member to receive the honour and the article concluded with glowing praise from one of his long-term clients, Garth Brooks.
In late 2011, despite being in what he termed 'semi-retirement', Tony Byworth continued to remain active within the country music scene and was responsible for bringing Will Banister to a wider audience following his discovery of Will during one of his many trips to Nashville.
On Sunday 2 September 2012, Tony Byworth was inducted into the British Country Music Hall of Fame; the presentation took place at the British Country Music Awards. The other inductees were the much acclaimed artist/band leader Jon Derek (who died in 2011, with the award accepted by his son, Mark Derek) and legendary BBC broadcaster Bob Harris.