Chart-topping artist Gene Watson has been on the country music scene for 50 years now. To commemorate that golden anniversary, Watson is diving back into his five-decade catalogue to re-record his Top 25 songs for his 'Best of the Best: 25 Greatest Hits' record, available on Feb. 14. And his end goal is not to take a new spin on the tunes but, instead, to preserve each one and get it as close to the original recording as possible.

“My first recording ever was on a little ol' independent label that was started up just for this recording session, Sun Valley Records,” Watson says, according to GAC. That label still owns Watson's original recordings, which is why he's trying to re-create them to the best of his ability. To maintain the original integrity of the tracks, he's bringing in renowned steel guitar player Sonny Garish, who played on the original recordings. He's also keeping every song in the same key and not making stylistic changes. Thankfully, Watson says, his voice has remained intact.

"In fact, I can probably hit the notes better now than I could back then," he suggests. "Whenever there was a question when I was re-recording these, we went back and listened to the original recording."

“Seems like my career just kind of happened accidentally,” says the artist who spent part of his childhood living in a converted school bus with his transient family. “It was purely unintentional. Music was just a sideline. I was going to be playing and singing no matter what line of work I was going to do. I never did really have any high expectations out of the music business. Even today, I never know what to expect from one day to the next."