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Don Williams

So It Goes – 2012 (Sugar Hill)

Reviewed by Jason MacNeil

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CDs by Don Williams

Don Williams is among the country artists who have been as steady and consistent as they come. Now at the tender age of 73, Williams' bass-baritone timbre hasn't been ravaged one bit by Father Time. This latest album - his first since 2004 - is no exception with Williams offering up "Better Than Today" in a true, toe-tapping country style. From there, the singer slows the album down for a ballad Heart Of Hearts that has just the right combination of grace and musicianship. Williams revisits this somewhat with the tender nugget She's A Natural, which talks of growing old with your better half.

Gentle is rarely a quality associated with honky-tonks and old-school country music, but Williams manages to make it sound like he's a new country stalwart on She's With Me. Here he sounds like he's taken a page from Tim McGraw's book when in fact only the opposite could be true. The arrangement is a tad lush in some respects but again it's a keeper. But the first true gem is I Just Come Here For The Music, a duet with Alison Krauss with their harmonies melding far nice than one might anticipate.

Although there are a few more up-tempo moments such as the pretty, but far from amazing What If It Worked Like That, Williams is nestled in a deliberate, at times string-laced framework that he executes with ridiculous ease. The title track is indicative of that mindset. When he does come up with something a tad different, as is the case with the infectious Imagine That, it's almost country bliss (that is, country as it once sounded).

Perhaps the only drawback is that at 10 songs and his first new studio album in nearly a decade, Williams might have added a few songs for a dozen or baker's dozen. However, one can't nitpick with near perfection as Williams has created once again.