September 8 a tragic day for country music
Music Hall of Fame in 2010, but he missed the ceremony because he was sick with bronchitis.
“Don Williams offered calm, beauty, and a sense of wistful peace that is in short supply these days,” said Kyle Young, CEO of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville, Tennessee, in a statement last Friday.
“His music will forever be a balm in troublesome times. Everyone who makes country music with grace, intelligence, and ageless intent will do so while standing on the shoulders of this gentle giant,” he said.
Don Williams was a rather tall person. His voice, his size, his gentle manners, and his laid-back sound earned him the nickname of “Gentle Giant.” His storytelling style was greatly appreciated by his fans and it made him famous.
A native of Floydada, Texas, Williams was born May 27, 1939. He grew up in Portland, Texas, where he graduated in 1958. Music was always a part of his upbringing. He began playing guitar during his teenage years, learning songs that he heard on the radio. He and his friends played in local bands and he wed wife Joy Bucher on April 10, 1960.
To support his family, which includes two sons, Gary and Timmy, Williams worked on different jobs, including oil field work, and bill collector. In 1964, he formed the trio The Pozo Seco singers with Lofton Cline and Susan Taylor.
They stayed together for seven years and after the group separated in 1969, Williams soon found his way to Nashville. By 1971, he had a songwriting contract with the publishing company owned by Jack Clement. In 1972 he signed a recording deal with JMI Records.
He made his chart debut with ‘The Shelter of Your Eyes’ in 1973, and started charting. He finally reached the top of the charts in 1974 with ‘I Wouldn’t Want To Live If You Didn’t Love Me.’
Until the end of 1991, each of Williams’ single made it to the Top 40 on the Billboard Country charts. His 1970s hits included such chart toppers as ‘Tulsa Time,’ ‘She Never Knew Me,’ and ‘It Must Be Love.’
The “Gentle Giant” also gained a huge following overseas. He has performed in England, Ireland, and New Zealand, and even South Africa and Kenya, where he reached superstar status. He won the Country Music Association’s awards for best male vocalist and best single for ‘Tulsa Time’ in 1978.
Williams also made two movie appearances: 1974’s W.W. and The Dixie Dancekings, and 1980’s Smokey and the Bandit II. He charted his biggest hit with 1981’s ‘I Believe In You,’ which topped the country charts, and also crossed over to No. 24 on the Hot 100. His final Top 10 came in 1991, with ‘Lord Have Mercy on a Country Boy,’ a song that Josh Turner, a big Williams fan, recorded in 2006.
He played a farewell tour in 2006. However, he came out of retirement in October 2010, and the same month, he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. By that time, he had released more than 35 albums.
In 2016, Williams decided that the time was right for his final performance, calling it a career after one of the most successful careers in the history of the country music business.
“It’s time to hang my hat up and enjoy some quiet time at home. I’m so thankful for my fans, my friends, and my family for their everlasting love and support,” the 76-year-old Williams said in a statement at the time.
Last year also saw the final release of Williams’ career, a live CD and DVD recorded in Ireland. In 2017, the singer was also the subject of a tribute album, Gentle Giants: The Songs of Don Williams, that included performances of his hits by artists such as Alison Krauss, Chris Stapleton, Pistol Annies, Brandy Clark, Keb’ Mo’, Trisha Yearwood, Garth Brooks, Lady Antebellum, songwriter Roger Cook, Dierks Bentley, John Prine, Jason Isbell, and Amanda Shires.
A special tribute to the longtime Grand Ole Opry member was also performed on the Opry stage just days after that album was released.
In addition to all of the great music, Williams was a devoted family man.
Troy Gentry Troy Gentry, one-half of the duo
Montgomery Gentry, was tragically killed in a helicopter crash on September 8. The helicopter crashed into a wooded area near the Flying W Airport in Medford, New Jersey hours before Montgomery Gentry was due to perform at a resort that is also housed at the airport.
Their music touched our lives and at times it feel like artists are part of our families. The two singers will be missed. On the local scene: dates to
remember On September 16 from 1 to 6 p.m., Burroughs’s Falls Reception Hall will be hosting the 10th Country Music Appreciation Jam. This one will be dedicated to “Fall into Autumn.” The event will include hours of continuous live country music along with an amazing buffet and corn roast (buffet included with your admission starting at 4:30 p.m.).
They have a great country music lineup joining The Classic Country Band, The Plainsmen 2 and The Country Swingers, plus other of your favourite local musicians who will be stopping by to jam. They will also have door prizes. This is an event you don’t want to miss!
Admission, advanced tickets $12 or $15 at the door. Bobbi Dee and her team have made it a mission to encourage and support local professional musicians and keep the live music alive and well. They are doing a fantastic job. Door proceeds go to the scheduled participating musicians. Because of the rapid success volunteers are greatly needed.
Many other Country Music Appreciation Jams are in the planning. On Saturday, October 7, they will celebrate their second annual “Harvest” Country Music Appreciation Jam series. They will also celebrate Halloween on November 4, as well as their second annual Christmas Country Music Appreciation Jam on December 9.
For more info email: email@example.com or call Gale at 819-876-7376.
The late Troy Gentry, right, with his partner, Eddie Montgomery. The pair formed the country music duo, Montgomery Gentry.