Don Williams is a quiet, precise man. Each word he speaks, in his deep, paternal, resonant voice, is well thought out and properly placed. The same is true of his music. There's no Texas twang or Southern drawl in his gentle country and western ballads and rollicking down home tunes. It is a pure music sung in a pure voice.
Mostly, he sings of love.
"To me, matters of the heart are the spiritual core of a song," he says. "It's what it's all about." But don't take that wrong. It's not a woe-is-me style. He sings of the positive aspects of relationships, of how, good or bad, a relationship is a growing experience, in songs such as "Learn to Let Go" and "I've Been Loved by the Best," both off his latest album, "One Good Well" (RCA).
This is Williams's "oh, 25th album, I guess," he laughs. "I've lost count." Several have gone gold, not only in the United States, but overseas. He's particularly popular in England, Scandinavia and Nigeria. He doesn't have a fan club. It's not his style. But his publicist says he's received a letter from "probably every resident of Nigeria over the years."
He is just as precise in putting together his albums. He has a hand in everything. It's been said he would probably do the cover artwork if he could.
"I like to be moderately involved in everything I can," he says, carefully, "rather than giving up control to others. Sometimes when you do that, things happen that you don't really like."
Fans seem not to mind his fussiness, though.
"I'm constantly amazed," he says. "I've been at it awhile, and I keep thinking that I've worn out my welcome. But everybody keeps saying no. They don't mind. So I guess I'll keep doing it as long as they want me."
Don Williams is performing with Reba McEntire at the Birchmere Saturday night at 8 and 10:30. Tickets are $25 and available at TicketCenter. For information, call 549-5919.