Don Williams, "Reflections" (Sugar Hill)
Don Williams is on a roll, once again. After talk of retirement — he even embarked on a farewell tour in 2006 — the Country Music Hall of Fame member suddenly is busy again, releasing his second album in the last two years with "Reflections." If anything, the new collection is an even better reminder of Williams' special gifts than 2012's comeback album, "And So It Goes."
Sounding as lively and engaging as the laid-back 74-year-old is likely to get, Williams picks out an outstanding collection of songs, including those by his old favorite Townes Van Zandt ("I'll Be Here In The Morning"), Guy Clark ("Talk Is Cheap, co-written with Chris Stapleton and Morgane Hayes), Merle Haggard (the classic "Sing Me Back Home") and Jesse Winchester ("If I Were Free").
"Reflections" was co-produced with a deft touch by Williams' longtime studio partner Garth Fundis. He captures the veteran singer's rich voice — sounding as smooth and subtly emotional as ever — and backs him with the tasteful, restrained contributions of a stellar studio band.
As often has been the case, Williams displays a great ability to string together songs that make a statement about living a simple, humble life tied to family, love and the land. "Reflections" is a perfect title from a man who continues to represent the timeless strengths of good country music.