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Posts Tagged ‘Alison Krauss’

RIP, Don Williams (September 8, 2017) Country Music Legend

Posted by themusicsover on September 8, 2017

Don Williams
May 27, 1939 – September 8, 2017

The Country Music world mourns the loss of one of its most distinctive song stylists with the passing of Don Williams after a short illness. He was 78.

A native of Floydada, Texas, Williams was born May 27, 1939. He grew up in Portland, TX, graduating there in 1958. Music had always been a part of his upbringing, entering – and winning – a talent contest when he was just three years old. For his efforts, Williams received an alarm clock. He began playing guitar during his teen-age years, learning the songs that he heard on the radio during that period. He and his friends played in local bands around the area.

In 1969, Williams soon found his way to Nashville. By 1971, he had a songwriting contract with the publishing company owned by Jack Clement. The next year would see Williams ink a recording deal with Clement’s JMI Records. He made his chart debut with “The Shelter of Your Eyes” in 1973, and was soon hitting the charts time and again with a much more laid-back sound than a lot of the music coming out of Nashville at the time. 1974 would see Williams top the charts for the first time with “I Wouldn’t Want To Live If You Didn’t Love Me.” From that point all the way through 1991, each Williams single would hit 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.” His career grew steadily through label shifts to ABC/Dot, MCA, Capitol, and finally RCA. Williams also gained a devoted following overseas in such unlikely spots as England, Ireland, and New Zealand , and even South Africa and Kenya – where he reached superstar status. He was named the Male Vocalist of the Year by the Country Music Association in 1978.

The 1980s saw no slow-down in Williams’ recorded output, with the singer notching his biggest hit with 1981’s “I Believe In You,” which not only topped the Country charts, but crossed over to No. 24 on the Hot 100. By this time, he had earned the nickname “The Gentle Giant” for his trademark mellow sound, and the hits continued to pile up throughout the rest of the decade – “Stay Young,” “If Hollywood Don’t Need You,” and “One Good Well” being three of his biggest of the 1980s. His final top ten came in 1991, with “Lord Have Mercy On A Country Boy,” a song that Josh Turner – a Williams fan – would record in 2006.

Though the changing of the guard at radio slowed down Williams’ chart success, he continued to perform for sold-out crowds in America and abroad, playing a final tour in 2006. However, retirement was not in the cards for the singer, who returned to the road in 2010 – the same year that he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Williams’ return to the spotlight also included a pair of albums on Sugar Hill, 2012’s And So It Goes, and 2014’s Reflections, which included contributions from Alison Krauss, Vince Gill, and Keith Urban. It was a sign of his enduring appeal that both albums hit the Top-20 on the Billboard Country Albums charts – his biggest rank there in three decades.

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 the subject of a tribute album, Gentle Giants: The Songs of Don Williams, that included performances of his hits by artists such as Lady Antebellum and Garth Brooks. [Source: Webster Public Relations]

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Died On This Date (May 29, 2012) Doc Watson / Folk Music Icon

Posted by themusicsover on May 29, 2012

Arthel “Doc” Watson
March 2, 1923 – May 29, 2012

Doc Watson was an influential American singer, guitarist, and songwriter whose vast catalog of songs influenced several generations of folk, country, and bluegrass musicians.  Born in Deep Gap, North Carolina, Watson lost his eyesight before his first birthday due to an infection.  But that by no means stopped him from picking up whatever instrument was handed to him.  First it was the harmonica around age five, then the banjo at age 11, and ultimately, the guitar on which he mastered a style of flat-picking that the world had yet to hear and would seldom be matched since.  Although Watson was a popular draw wherever he played throughout the ’40s and ’50s, it wasn’t until the storied folk revival of the ’60s – when college kids took to the music like never before or since, that his popularity reached new heights.  Throughout his career, Watson received countless awards which included seven Grammys, a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, and a National Medal Of Arts from President Bill Clinton.  In 1988, he launched Merlefest to honor his son and music partner, Merle Watson, who was killed in a tractor accident in 1985.  The Wilkesboro, North Carolina festival has grown to be one of the premier music gatherings in the United States with Watson playing host and sharing the stage with the likes of Alison Krauss, Ricky Skaggs, Earl Scruggs, Del McCoury, and Willie Nelson to name just a few.  The annual event draws an estimated 80,000 each year.  On May 29, 2012, Doc Watson passed away shortly following colon surgery.  He was 89.

What You Should Own

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Doc Watson - Doc Watson

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Died On This Date (December 18, 2011) Warren Hellman / Founder Of Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival

Posted by themusicsover on December 18, 2011

Warren Hellman
January 25, 1934 – December 18, 2011

Warren Hellman was a successful private equity investor whose Hellman & Friedman rose to become a multi-billion dollar firm.  He was also a philanthropist and music junkie who founded AND funded San Francisco’s popular Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival.  A banjo player himself, Hellman launched the Golden Gate Park event in 2001 to an audience of  just 13,000.  Since then, it has swelled to be one of the world’s greatest music events, drawing as many 500,000 each year over two days.  And the best part, it is FREE to attend as Hellman’s gift back to the city.  The inaugural festival presented just four acts on the main stage and another five on its second.  Performers included Emmylou Harris, Alison Krauss, and Hazel Dickens.   The 2011 event hosted over 100 performers including Chris Isaak, Bright EyesM. Ward, Steve Earle, Robert Plant, and Del McCoury.  Warren Hellman was 77 when he died from complications of leukemia on December 18, 2011.  Hellman reportedly left a trust fund to finance future festivals.

Do yourself a favor and attend Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival next year!



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Died On This Date (June 3, 2011) Benny Spellman / R&B Singer Who Gave Us “Fortune Teller”

Posted by themusicsover on June 3, 2011

Benny Spellman
December 11, 1931 – June 3, 2011

Benny Spellman was an R&B singer who released two significant hits during the 1960s.  His “Lipstick Traces (On A Cigarette),” written by Allen Toussaint, cracked the Top 30 on the R&B charts, while his original version of “Fortune Teller” went on to be recorded by the likes of the Rolling Stones, the Who, the Hollies, and more recently, as a duet by Robert Plant and Alison Krauss.  Spellman also collaborated with Huey “Piano” Smith and sang back up on the Ernie K-Doe hit, “Mother In Law.”  Although he went on to work outside the music business by the early ’70s, Spellman continued to perform at festivals and such for many years.  Benny Spellman died of respiratory failure on June 3, 2011.  He was 79.

What You Should Own

Benny Spellman Selected Favorites - Benny Spellman


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Died On This Date (March 30, 2011) Harley Allen / Country Singer & Songwriter

Posted by themusicsover on March 30, 2011

Harley Allen
June 23, 1956 – March 30, 2011

Harley Allen was a country singer and highly sought-after songwriter.  Born to bluegrass legend Red Allen in Dayton, Ohio, Allen eventually landed in Nashville and began releasing a string of albums with his brothers, the Allen Brothers, and on his own.  In 2002, his voice could be heard on the Grammy-winning “Man Of Constant Sorrow” from the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack.  As an in-demand songwriter, Allen penned or co-wrote charting records for the likes of Garth Brooks, Dierks Bentley, Del McCoury, Alan Jackson, Alison Krauss and many many more.  His “The Baby” ended up being a huge hit for Blake Shelton.  Harley Allen died of lung cancer on March 30, 2011.  He was 55.

Thanks to Craig Rosen at Number1Albums


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