Septem­ber 8 a tragic day for coun­try mu­sic

Sherbrooke Record - - TALK -

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: coun­try­mu­s­i­cap­pre­ci­a­tion­ 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.

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