Some of country’s biggest stars came together to produce an album covering one of the genre’s all-time bests, Don Williams. While you should honestly just go listen to the entire album, we picked out three of our favorite tracks:
“I Believe In You” by Brandy Clark
Clark takes her signature chillingly-emotional performances, and applies them to her cover of Williams’ “I Believe In You”. Backed with stunningly traditional instrumentation, and a charming melodic arrangement. The simple, yet effective lyricism is well suited against the records’ other components, while Clark seamlessly walks the melancholic line in her performance. While it doesn’t hit the emotional, storytelling depths of some of Clark’s own discography, it’s a charming tale in itself, and one that she tackles with an equal amount of proficiency. It plays to all Clark’s strengths as a performer, while highlighting what people have grown to love from Williams.
“Some Broken Hearts Never Mend” by Dierks Bentley
What makes this record so effective is that Bentley’s best attributes line up with those of Williams’: a likable performer with strong, evocative performances that don’t rely on range, but rather keep it simple. The production is pleasant and laid back, which lines up nicely against its lyrical background. Bentley puts in a melancholic delivery, sounding as good as ever, while the instrumentation is about as country as it gets. It’s a nice little recording that is also representative of an artistic direction Bentley would do well to go down further.
“If I Needed You” by Jason Isbell & Amanda Shires
What makes “If I Needed You” such a striking record is the harmonies between Isbell and his wife Shires. It’s a stunning blend that manages to showcase both of their talents as vocalists. It also doesn’t hurt that the melody is exceptional, the production is excellent, and the lyric is strong. It’s hard to find flaws in this recording, which is unsurprising considering the repertoires of both performers. It’s an exceptional record that not only ranks as the best track on the album, but among the best pieces of work put out by either Isbell or Shires.
Gentle Giants: The Songs of Don Williams full track list:
1. “Tulsa Time” – Pistol Annies
2. “I Believe in You” – Brandy Clark
3. “We’ve Got a Good Fire Goin'” – Lady Antebellum
4. “Some Broken Hearts Never Mend” – Dierks Bentley
5. “Amanda” – Chris Stapleton (feat. Morgane Stapleton)
6. “Till The Rivers All Run Dry” – Alison Krauss
7. “Love Is On A Roll” – John Prine (feat. Roger Cook)
8. “If I Needed You” – Jason Isbell & Amanda Shires
9. “Maggie’s Dream” – Trisha Yearwood
10. “Lord I Hope This Day is Good” – Keb’ Mo’
11. “Good Ole Boys Like Me” – Garth Brooks