Returning from an extended semi-retirement that began after the 2004 release of My Heart to You -- a record that appeared on the little-known Compendia imprint -- Don Williams released the rather brilliant And So It Goes in 2012, an album so understated that it may be easy to overlook its excellence. Then again, if Williams has a signature, it's a touch so easy that it sometimes appears that he isn't there at all; he's never performing, he's inhabiting his songs. As the years rolled on and the tempos got slower and the productions softer, he could sometimes disappear into his surroundings, but And So It Goes achieves a nimble balance between comfort and virtuosity, an album where Williams feels entirely relaxed but never lazy.
Six years after his farewell tour and eight years after his last LP (2004’s My Heart to You), Don Williams, the Gentle Giant of Country Music, has returned with a new album, And So It Goes. The nonchalance of the title is appropriate: It’s refreshing how un-flashy a comeback it is. Instead of new gimmicks or attempts to re-hip-ify himself (see: Glenn Campbell singing Guided by Voices and Green Day, or many of Johnny Cash’s American recordings), he’s just right back to the sound he’s known for – business as usual.
Even when he was at his hit-churning 70s and 80s peak, laconic country singer Don Williams sounded like a grizzled but tender old soul. Now that he is one, the “Gentle Giant” hasn’t changed a whisker on his first album in eight years. Alison Krauss, Vince Gill and Keith Urban guest on backing vocals but they don’t distract from Williams’ key strength; his everyman, low key delivery and mellow tempo, stripped down songs.