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 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 today, 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.
Between 1974 and 1991, Don had at least one major hit every year, including such country standards 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”. The hundreds of memorable songs in his repertoire—over fifty of them major hits—whether contemplative ballads, affecting love songs or change-up rhythm numbers, have always been a core Don Williams strength and focus.
On And So It Goes, his latest release on Sugar Hill, 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).
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. In 2010, Don received country music’s highest honor, with his induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
About Brennen Leigh:
If what passes for country music these days gives you a headache, Brennen Leigh has the remedy.” So wrote the Austin Chronicle in a review of the talented singer-songwriter’s latest album The Box. She mixes the traditional sounds of country and bluegrass effortlessly and with deep admiration, yet manages to remain contemporary with subject matter that is both fascinating and universal.
A dependable mandolin player with a clear voice, Leigh has won over such influential Texas country artists as Dale Watson, who asked her to join him on stage, and Jesse Dayton, who she met at a festival in France. They, in turn, introduced her to a broad range of country music fans and like-minded musicians. In recent years she’s been honored to join Charlie Louvin’s band on mandolin, collaborate with noted Nashville songwriter John Scott Sherrill, and record with Sunny Sweeny and Americana champion Lim Lauderdale. In the multifaceted Austin music scene, Brennen Leigh stands apart with talent that is distinctive and a sound that is uncommonly satisfying.