Don Williams Biography

Review The Artist (60)

Don Williams-photo
There are few American classics these days, but Don Williams is certainly one of them. With a warm hickory baritone that balances strength with a gentle concern, he draws his listener into the intimate world of an old friend, someone who cares deeply about you and the quality of your life ... and who will always offer a hand when you need it.

“I don't think there's anything we have to do daily in our walk that's more important than how we deal with each other,” Williams confesses. “To me, it's everything. So when you're looking for songs, if they can express that, then you've found something special.”

Without a doubt Williams, whose hits with the likes of Good Ole Boys Like Me, I Believe In You, Love Is On A Roll, Amanda and Tulsa Time, have always had a knack for finding songs that speak directly to people's hearts.

“When you first start making records, all the songs are challenging and there's so much to talk about,” Williams begins, explaining the challenges of maintaining one's artistic commitment a quarter of a century into a solo career. “But after you've done it for a while, it's hard to revisit the same places and still be believable.”

“The longer you do it, the harder it becomes to do things that aren't just an echo of something you've already done. Of course, when you do lock into it, the fact that you've lived all those years and seen so much allows you to bring a lot of things to the song you couldn't have when you were starting out.”

For Don Williams, trying to address the simple pleasures and the things that should last has always been his stock in-trade. And he's also always been something of an iconoclast in a town known for its assembly line approach to making music.

Williams recalls, “Back when I was on JMI Records several industry people really liked what I was doing but they also said it would never work ... it's too laid back.”

What those people forgot is that country music is built on real emotions, real songs, real moments in people's lives. Don Williams is a subtle master of all of those things, deftly inhaling tenderness and concern into some of the best lyrics and melodies ever created.

And his commitment to the songs never flags. “What it is, is simple: I want the best songs possible. I don't look at songs as just singles or who the publisher is - I look at what it's trying to say, how it feels. Then when they're picked out, I want to treat them all the same. I want to make them as special as I can.”

“Ideally, whether I'm in the studio or on stage, I'm totally into the story, or if there's no story, that emotion, that feel of what I'm doing at that moment is the only thing I want to experience.”

“After a day in the studio or a show, the energy I've used just wears me out and if you're not 100% there, that's even worse. There's nothing more trying than not being completely there!”

For the man who got his professional start with the Pozo Seco Singers, who hit with Time in the mid-60s, there's no greater sin than not being completely committed to the songs he's entrusted with. As he says with an earnestness that stops you in your tracks, “There's just the emotion. There's the right emotion - and then it's over.”

Simple. Direct. To the point. Exactly the things that have made Don Williams' music so compelling - and that's helped him build an international audience in places one can't imagine country music ever being more than a curiosity. Yet for Don Williams, he's popular in far-flung places like Zimbabwe, Australia, England, Monaco, Finland and Brazil as he is in his native America.

“I couldn't have picked anything for the South African culture or the English culture,” Williams explains. “We're all made of the same stuff - and when we're dealing with one another, we're all on the same plane. I've been fortunate that when I've picked material, there's always been a universality to what I want to sing and what other people feel.”

“It's pretentious to think that you can speak for anyone else, but I work very hard to align myself with the average person who's never been in a studio or sat down with a number of writers to hear their songs. Those are the people I make music for, not Nashville so much, and I think it's served me well.”

Enlisting the help of his accomplished road band, Williams creates the kind of music that speaks to everyone. There's a broken-in familiarity among his players that can't be created merely by charts and musicians - and those lived-in grooves fit Williams like the custom-Stetson hat he's know for.

“Everybody knows from me on the road that when they're doing their job well, I hear nothing,” Williams says, explaining the subtle musical web his band spins. “It's the emotion of what we're doing is all that I hear. Nothing sticks out. Nothing jars me.”

“That lets me get to the inside of the song. When that is working right, there's nothing but that (song's) feeling, and I can focus completely on that. If you can create that, then you've done a good job.”

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Imagine That | Reviewer: Emily & Paul | 3/4/14

I've never been a fan of country music, but when my husband came across a video of you and Keith Urban singing "Imagine That", I absolutely loved it!!! I've tried to find it so I could buy it, but no luck so until I do, we have the video recorded since sometime in March...when I was younger, there was a hit record you had, but I cannot remember the name of it....I hope I can find that recording....I do love it! Thank you for making a slightly older lady happy!!! Oh, I forgot to ask you, was this recording about anything particular?

mile away but im back | Reviewer: kuda | 1/26/14

hmm yu ar the legend more so a unique mentor in every song . My concern is just one more time for africa to smear the hearts of many with yo soothng well master class voice .come on mr williams

Am just a country boy. | Reviewer: Ajala. | 1/16/14

Don Williams, ure the bomb mehn, my hrt and soul are always lifted up when I listen to this track "am just a country boy" this is a track that shows how a man is so much in love of a lady he's inferior to by telling her if he asks her out, she might turn her down but believes so much in himself that future is the ultimte.The tracks speaks and portrays that there shouldn't be any atmosphere to relent eventhough we are passing through some difficulties. I love u Don Williams. Ajala frm Nigeria.....

broken heart never mend | Reviewer: evelyn Omole | 12/9/13

Don truly you are the best,I enjoy every bit of your music, in deed is ever green because each time am playing any track it seems am just hearing it for the very first time. Ride on papa.

Don has been my favorite since 1973 | Reviewer: Gene Cross, Jr. | 9/30/13

I was a Neil Diamond fan until the first time I heard "Come Early Morning" by Don Williams. Once I heard that song I was hooked on country but more hooked on Don Williams. I could wait until I would hear his next release on the radio. Heard many great songs through the years and 17 of those became number 1.

Never was able to see Don perform as he was never too close to my little town of Boaz, Alabama. If he was within driving distance seemed I never had the money. He retired and then started performing again. I was able to see him in 2011 and 2012 at Country Tonite Theatre in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Will be seeing him perform there again October 18, 2013. This time I have front row seats. Can't wait, only 19 more days.

Would sure like to hear him perform "Help Yourselves To Each Other" and "We're All The Way. Or maybe some songs from his new album "And So It Goes".

Don is the best and always will be, at least to me.

Your show in Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada | Reviewer: Linda Cassell | 9/14/13

Don... you were amazing and I did not want the evening to end. Your songs..... they come from your heart and go right to mine. We loved your quiet presence and your deep voice and you will always be "our best friend". Please come back and see us!!!

Songs dat calms d heart | Reviewer: B'val | 8/5/13

U hv don mre dan enuf 2 ma heart , ur songs calms ma heart wen its heavy...........i only hv tank u 2 say 2 u, i've bn listnin 2 u since i wz a kid........unblvably stil doin so strngly!! I min al ur songs !! Nigerians luv u stay blessed

Don the greatest | Reviewer: Gift Nyathi | 5/9/13

Mr Don uhv bn my sorce of joy and happiness,thru yo songs uhv managed to keep me firm and keep me going through life's mazes,u hav given me hope in my difficult life yo songs r just such an incredible man sir outa words am jus overwhelmingly by yo works each and every song of yoz is jus on point on my own point of view.pple think am crazy coz am alwayz tuned on yo songs am jus a young guy of 20 years from Zimbabwe

Don Williams is my best country music singer | Reviewer: Obey Dondo | 4/12/13

My social life is not complete without mentioning Don Williams' country music. I can call my day a complete one if I got time to listen to his songs for at least any hour. I would spent the whole night listening to his songs whilst I am playing my chess. Some of the songs i usually listen when I am busy and cant play include those like: you are my best friend,yellow moon,circle driveway,Love is on a roll,Ive got a winner in you,the only game in town,sweet fever,I'll be faithful to you,sneaking around and a lot more that i cant exhaust right now. I give Don his credit for being my best singer ever. I am a young man in my early 20s but i found his music enjoyable and they have actually made me a better man.

Come To Kenya | Reviewer: Anonymous | 3/24/13

Hey Williams...Am a poor boy but u bring back to reality when I listen to Lord have mercy on a country boy
hey Don come to Kenya,the Home land of Obama, bring the greatest hit there

THE DON,pleas come and vist Africa | Reviewer: Fitsum Belay B | 3/11/13

I Would like to point you something.WE Africans are listening your music,we love ,we enjoy and we are crazy about u! WHY DON'T YOU VISIT AFRICA? Specially ETHIOPIA.pls think about it.I believe you will do it.LONG LIVE

He "THE DON" fills my heart in LOVE! | Reviewer: Fitsum Belay B | 3/11/13

I have never heard a music that fills my heart in love! He transfer his message not only through his poem,but his vocal,his body,whatever himself control my soul.
when I HEAR his music,I tray to get back all my memory.and so I wish to see him on the stage...face to face too.Long live!

Ever Since "We Should Be Together" | Reviewer: Charles | 2/26/13

There is no question in my mind, Don, that you have the greatest singing voice in the entire world. My wife and I saw you in Austin, and what a great show it was. Ever Since you did, "We Should Be Together" no one has even come close to displacing you as my all time favorite. If I could listen to, "Imagine That" and, "Your Heart To Me" All Day Long I wouldn't have to do anything else.

You are the greatest!!!! | Reviewer: Earline Benefield | 2/1/13

Don, I sure wish you the best always. You have given us fans more than we deserve with your songs that speaks directly to the heart. There isn't another artist anywhere that can measure up to you. You have carried yourself with pride for your fans and with a clean record. I admire you for they way you have lived your life and continue to do so. You will be missed after this year of touring especially by me. I can't count the times I have seen you preform and will continue to see you when you are within a reasonable distance to me. Good luck with your retirement and thanks for keeping my heart warm with your words and music. May God continue to bless you and your family.
Love you,
Earline Benefield Clayton, Ga.

You're Great Man | Reviewer: Makias | 1/20/13

Since I have known his music as a kid,I have always loved his kind of gentle insipiring music,it really tells me we dont have to be very seriuos about life.Life is simple and we have to enjoy it to the fullest witht he little things we have.

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-------- 11/28/2014
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