COUNTRY MUSIC'S GENTLE GIANT
At 4 am, following one of the worst, most depressing days I can remember - with so many people in harms way - I doubted anything...ANYTHING could make me feel any worse. Hurricane Harvey had left a swath of devastation in its path last week, followed by Hurricane Irma's destruction of the Caribbean- turning Island paradises into uninhabitable wastelands within hours. I have been contacting family and friends in Florida, sending my prayers, vowing to do anything I can to help in the aftermath of this historic storm. How much worse could things possibly get, I thought.
And then the news that country music legend Don Williams has died. After driving 11 hours round-trip to make my show in Brockton, Massachusetts, I'm dead tired and ready for sleep, and doubt my words at this point can do justice to the amazing career Don Williams enjoyed or just how much his music meant to me. But I'm going to give it a try.
I loved Don Williams. When I met my wife in 1990, she'd had a nice run as a model in New York City, and I was a kid from Long Island. What were the chances that one of us was a Don Williams fan – let alone both of us? But it turned out that both of us had grown up with our radio dials to 1050 AM WHN at a time when it played country music throughout the tri-state area - and Don Williams music - never as outwardly cool as Willie, and Waylon, and Cash; the Outlaws that I gravitated to, had nonetheless found its way into both of our hearts, and probably even our souls. I really thought my wife was kidding the first time she told me she enjoyed country music; thinking she was just pretending to have some type of common ground with me. But then minutes later we were singing along to a Don Williams song on the radio. Within days, "I've Been Loved by the Best" turned into "I've Been Loved by Colette".
I remember inserting Don Williams casettes into my 1979 Ford Fairmont in the mid-80's as I made my way from college in Cortland New York to Dominic DeNucci's wrestling school in Freedom, Pennsylvania – 350 miles each way. On those long trips, Don Williams voice was like a soothing balm for my pains, both physical and psychological – and, over time, I found myself singing along with every song… every single song! Greatest hits volume one. Check! Greatest hits, volume two. Check! Volume three...almost, but not quite all. I would be hard-pressed to even estimate how many hours I spent listening to his music on the road. I hope someone challenges me to a random Don Williams sing off on the road someday – just so I can prove I really do love them all...or at least most of them!
"I can still hear the soft southern winds in the live Oak trees, and those Williams boys they still mean a lot to me – Hank and Tennessee. I guess we're all gonna be what we're going to be – but what do you do with good old boys like me?"
Let me add one more Williams boy to that list; the Williams boy who meant the most to me. God Bless you Don Williams. Rest In Peace, you gentle giant.
With the world in turmoil and mother nature at her angriest, I might need some help finding rest this morning Sounds like a perfect job for Don Williams.
Do you have a favorite Don Williams song or memory? I'd love to hear about it.
found @ 1955 likes ON 2017-09-12 22:05:00 BY ME.ME