Legendary Country Music Hall of Famer
They came to call Don Williams “the Gentle Giant” in the decades he was a dominating country hit maker because of his unique blend of commanding presence and that laid-back, easy style that has appealed to adult men and women alike—cutting across national and genre boundaries. If those personal and musical qualities stood out strongly across the 1970s, ‘80s and ‘90s, they are all the more distinctive in 2012, when so many country and pop records seem to work as check off lists of somebody’s idea of how to be a man, or hard-sell attempts to indicate affection for a woman. Don Williams has never sounded like he felt the need to sell somebody something, or to prove anything.
On And So It Goes, that winning, self-assured ease is again front and center, and the musical style that has made Don a ballad vocal model for performers ranging from Eric Clapton (with whom he’d traded songs—“Tulsa Time,” “Lay Down Sally”) to Keith Urban (who guests on this release). One listen to the characteristically right-on-target vocals on this first Don Williams recording in eight years and his admirers will be wondering what he’s done to maintain that strength over the hiatus.
“Well, there are things that I don’t do,” Don laughs. “I don’t do a whole lot of sitting around chit-chatting, laughing, and carrying on—especially when I’m on the road, where that just makes you tired, anyway. Even at home on the farm there are literally days on end that I may not say anything but for an hour or two a day.”
Born in Floydada, Florida in 1939 and growing up near Corpus Christi, Texas, Don was playing guitar by age twelve, taught by his mother, and performed in folk, country and rock bands as a teenager. He first gained musical attention as a member of the pop folk trio The Pozo Seco Singers, which had six pop chart hits in 1966-’67, then was signed as a songwriter by Nashville’s Cowboy Jack Clement in 1971—the sort of songwriter whose demos demanded attention. Between 1974 and 1991, Don had at least one major hit every year, including such country standards to be as “ Good Ole Boys Like Me,” “Till the Rivers All Run Dry,” “It Must Be Love,” “I’m Just a Country Boy,” “Amanda” and “I Believe in You.” He also had a hit duet with Emmylou Harris on Townes Van Zandt’s “If I Needed You.” Don was the CMA Male Vocalist of the Year in 1978; his “Tulsa Time” was the ACM Record of the Year for 1979.
In 2010, Don received country music’s highest honor, with his induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame. He was still surprised: “I never really thought that I was viewed in that manner by the powers that be. It’s an incredible honor, to be added to the caliber of people that are on that roster. It’s pretty overwhelming, actually.”
Everyone must have a ticket regardless of age. No one under the age of 5 admitted into the theater.