Music review: ‘Reflections’ is Don Williams at his best

02/25/2014 5:56 PM

02/26/2014 3:54 PM

Don Williams at his best

A member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, Don Williams enjoyed two decades of hits before easing into semi-retirement in the 1990s.

The 1978 CMA Male Vocalist of the Year never truly retired, and his Sugar Hill Records CD “Reflections” (in stores March 11), is among the finest recordings of his storied career. At 74, the calm Texas baritone that earned him the title “Gentle Giant” is in prime form. It’s a voice that compares favorably to country legend Gentleman Jim Reeves and pop stylist Brooke Benton, two of his early influences.

Williams continues to find songs that are thoughtful and romantic, and offer hope to a world gone wrong. “Reflections” sets the tone with Townes Van Zandt’s reassuring ballad, “I’ll Be Here in the Morning.” Merle Haggard’s “Sing Me Back Home” and Jesse Winchester’s “If I Were Free” are among the highlights.

On other tracks, Williams promises “I Won’t Give Up on You,” praises the life of a “Working Man’s Son,” looks back at the enduring love in his grandparents’ “Healing Hands,” and sings us “Back to the Simple Things.”

Correspondent Jack Bernhardt

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