Don Williams

The reason Don Williams is called the Gentle Giant is that "Barry White" was already taken. Williams's lullaby voice dips in deep, then pulls up dripping with humble sentiment and Southern comfort. In terms of wooing countrified ladies, his unassuming croon is a potent Anglodisiac. With few exceptions, matters of the heart have dotted the map over the course of his career; even his most raucous outing, "Tulsa Time," is a nostalgic yearning for home with echoes of Jerry Jeff Walker. In the '60s, Williams performed with the Pozo-Seco Singers, a folk group whose rarity makes it highly trafficked on file-sharing sites. With this history, it's surprising how apolitical Williams's songs are, but it's fitting that he toured South Africa and Brazil. That's refreshing among Ford-truck-driving, foreigner-bashing red-white-and-bluenecks. Like the song says, "I don't believe that right is right and left is wrong/That north and south can't get along/but I believe in love."

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