Review : Don Williams - And So It Goes
Saving country musicThis biggest question heading into the release of Don Williams’ And So It Goes was what would change in Don’s sound after an 8-year hiatus from recording, 18 years after last working with long-time producer Garth Fundis, a quasi-retirement, and an induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame? Well the answer is positively nothing, and that’s what makes And So It Goes such a treasure.
It’s so easy when reflecting on country music’s past to focus on the big, flashy names: Willie & Waylon, Dolly & Kenny, Merle & George while intermixed with all the superstar names and dramatic style changes in country music, Don Williams amassed 17 #1 hits over his career, and did it all with an endearing straightforward, no nonsense approach, letting his towering build that won him the name “The Gentle Giant” and his rugged frontiersman hat convey his message. Don never needed to say much in his own defense. He looked more like country music than anyone else....full text
Engine 145Co-produced with his longtime partner Garth Fundis (Keith Whitley, Trisha Yearwood), And So It Goes, Williams’ first album of new music in eight years, is a collection of music that wraps around the listener like a favorite leather jacket. The songs – all ballads and mellow, midtempo numbers – are firmly in Williams’ comfort zone. Most of the songs on the album sound as if they could have been recorded at nearly any point during Williams’ career; and a couple of them, like the gorgeous “First Fool in Line” or the slow-grooving album opener “Better Than Today,” might even have been hits had they been released three decades ago.
Of the ten tracks on And So It Goes, Williams co-wrote two, including the title track, a clear-eyed look back at a relationship that’s fizzled out: “And so it goes/While we were busy with the details of our lives/Every day thinking time was on our side/I turned around and you were gone/And I’m left here with the words I never got around to saying/I don’t know why/I guess I never thought our time could pass us by.” There isn’t a bum track on the record; they’re all as sure and steady as Williams’ baritone, which hasn’t aged a bit since its days atop the Billboard charts. And when he’s joined by some of Nashville’s best vocalists – including Vince Gill, who sings harmony on “Heart of Hearts” and Alison Krauss on the tender dancehall duet “I Just Come Here for the Music” – the results are sublime....full text
Rough StockThe first thing to know about Don Williams' And So It Goes Record is that there's an easy elegance to the music that is often lost in today's country music. It's a laid-back, just let the music breathe, sort of style that has always been a trademark of "The Gentle Giant." One of Keith Urban's main influences, Williams has also inspired many of the current generation of country music including Easton Corbin and Josh Turner.
The second thing to know about Don Williams' And So It Goes record is that it's his first record since 2004. In the eight years since then, Don Williams spent a majority of that time 'retired' but her must've still been writing songs as he wrote many of the songs on this fine, fine album. "High Hopes" starts off the song cycle and sets the mood for the album. This, my friends is a country music album sung with such ease and effortlessness that it should be used as a masterclass for all artists wanting to be country music vocalists....full text
My kind of countryIn the eight years since Don Williams released My Heart To You he seemed to go comfortably into retirement. His warm baritone and mellow style, indicative of the 1970s and 1980s where he found major success, was far out of touch with the beer chugging and hot girl chasing boys who’d taken over country radio, and induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame aside, there was no real incentive to return.
So it’s a welcome surprise to see And So It Goes, Williams’ new ten-song collection out on Sugar Hill Records. Produced by his longtime wingman Garth Fundis (who should be hard at work on Trisha Yearwood’s next album), it comes across as a visit from an old friend, that never forgotten person from your past who you’re so glad to see again, someone who hasn’t changed a bit.
By sticking to the familiar, Williams has created an impressive collection of songs that perfectly display his distinct and mellow style, all wrapped in his warm baritone (an instrument that hasn’t shown any distinct wear and tear). Each of these songs would also stand up nicely against any of Williams’ classic recordings....full text
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