“Don was hospitalized on Thursday evening in Rhinelander WI prior to his concert with what has been diagnosed as a perforated ulcer. Don is making a good recovery and expects to leave hospital Saturday afternoon. A couple of weeks rest should see him up and raring to go again. He apologizes for not being able to fulfill his concerts this week and hopes to be able to reschedule them. Don would like to thank all his fans for their kind words and affection, also the promoters for their understanding.
Irish son emerges from his father’s shadow to support Country music legend Don Williams on his major UK tour this April.
You’ve never heard of Omagh! You might not even know how to say it (Oh-mah). But out of the small Northern Ireland town comes Colm Kirwan, son of Dominic Kirwan, playing a genre of music that seems unlikely at first glance-Country. It’s what took him to Nashville, Tennessee back in 2009, where he’s been honing his blend of contemporary country with a Celtic twist ever since. Colm has distilled his cleverly concocted sound into a stunning debut album, “Colm Kirwan”, that fits right in with the best of modern country, whilst bringing an unexpectedly welcome Irish flair. The album was produced by Grammy nominee Victoria Shaw whose work includes Garth Brooks and Lady Antebellum.
Colm is used to the unexpected looks he gets when he talks between songs at writers’ nights in Nashville, but he explains that his choice of music is not as out of the ordinary as it may seem. “Country’s a massive genre in Europe. I grew up with it,” he says. “We’re no different than Americans. As kids, we delve into our parents’ CD collections, whether it’s ABBA or the Beatles. For me, it was a lot of George Strait and Garth Brooks and Collin Raye…it was that ’90s country. I loved that stuff.”
But growing up in Ireland didn’t offer Colm many opportunities to perform the music his father’s record collection had taught him to love. Country wasn’t the cool thing to listen to, so while his friends were listening to Oasis, Colm was holed up in his bedroom teaching himself George Strait songs on guitar. When he couldn’t find enough people to get a country band together, he took the only opportunity he could find to get on stage-musical theatre.
At 18 he moved to London and attended the Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts, where he earned a degree in performance and musical theatre. After graduation, he hit the road for a year long tour as an Apostle in the Andrew Lloyd Webber rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar. “I knew I wanted to be on stage and I loved being on tour, but I didn’t necessarily love doing the same show every night for a year,” Colm says.
After finishing the tour, he had an opportunity to join his dad, leading Irish artist Dominic Kirwan, on the road for a seven-week tour. That was when he knew he’d found what he wanted to do. “I remember the first time I ever stood on stage with my dad to a sold-out theatre in Belfast,” he says. “I remember standing there and as soon as the spotlight hit me it was like a pure adrenaline rush. To me, that’s where I belong. It’s not just a buzz. It just felt right-it always has. If there’s one place I’m totally comfortable, it’s on stage.”
Things changed in 2008 when Colm met one of George Jones’ backup singers backstage at a country music festival. Though he had only been dabbling in songwriting at the time, she recognized his talent and encouraged him to move to Nashville to better his new craft. “After that, I got the notion to move, so one day I just did. Once I got here, I knew it was where I wanted to be. I moved in 2009 and have been writing as much as I can ever since.”
Two of his own songs, “Rain” and “You Know That You Know,” were cut for the album, in addition to several other songs he and his producer, Victoria Shaw, hand picked. Colm felt a particular connection to the song “Never Alone,” and looks to it as an inspiration for his own development as a writer. “It’s everything, lyrically, I would like to write in a song. It sounded like a song I would write. The first lyric is:
May the angels protect you, trouble neglect you
Heaven accept you when it’s time to go home.
May you always have plenty, your glass never empty
And know in your belly you’re never alone.
“I thought it was a killer lyric that I would love to write…and anything to do with angels has a good song in it,” he adds with a smile.
Colm will embark on a major UK tour supporting Country music legend Don Williams after which he will return to the US for further dates. “I moved from Ireland because I always thought outside the bubble. It just wasn’t big enough for what I wanted to do,” he explains. “But equally I don’t want to be an artist that’s big just in America. I want to be an artist who tours worldwide. There’s such a big world out there that loves a lot of this music.”
The self-titled album will be released in the U.K. and Ireland on April 19 and for a late summer release in the US. Colm’s objective for the album and the tour is simple-to continue creating that elusive sound he’s trying to find, sifting through the ideas until they come together to create his signature country Celtic sound.
LAIDBACK COUNTRY ICON DON WILLIAMS’ AND SO IT GOES, HIS FIRST CD IN EIGHT YEARS, IS OUT ON SUGAR HILL RECORDS JUNE 19TH
Keith Urban, Alison Krauss and Vince Gill join him as singers and instrumentalists.
Nashville, TN – March 20th, 2012 – Don Williams’ legions of fans across the globe have long been hoping, but likely not expecting to hear new recordings from him again. He has been pretty determined to spend most of his time on his Tennessee farm, quietly, with his family— and for over four decades, country music’s “Gentle Giant” has been known for doing what he wants to do. So it’s both exciting and a very welcome surprise to announce the release of the brand new Don Williams album And So It Goes, on Sugar Hill Records on June 19th, his first since 2004. It is a release very much in the classic Williams mode—mellow yet rhythmic, life-affirming yet thoughtful, serenely masculine, and loaded with singularly strong, memorable songs and consummate vocals.
Those are the attributes that won him over fifty top hits from the early 1970s through the early 1990s, including such standards-to-be as “Tulsa Time,” “I Believe in You,” “It Must Be Love” and “Good Ole Boys Like Me,” and won him the ultimate accolade with his induction in the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2010. With the chance to reunite with honored Nashville producer Garth Fundis, with whom he’d worked for seventeen years on many of his greatest successes and encouragement from his management and the label, he decided to go back to the studio one more time, as well as out on tour to support the release.
As Don puts it himself, “I didn’t do this album because I just felt that I was going to die if I didn’t do another one, but because of all of that encouragement to do it. So here we are—and now I’m feeling good about it.”
The recording emerges as a sonic whole, with Don’s long intact working band at the core of the musicians behind him (“a beautiful thing,” Don calls that), including celebrated guitarist Billy Sanford and percussionist Kenny Malone. Such long-time Don Williams admirers as Keith Urban, Alison Krauss and Vince Gill add both key instrumentals and vocal backing. “We weren’t looking to reinvent Don,” producer Garth Fundis notes, “just to make a good new Don Williams record.” In that they have succeeded in spades, the instant return to form pleasantly surprising Don himself: “When we started back up again,” he says, “it was like we’d never quit.”
The CD proceeds from the upbeat, earworm-catchy opener “Better Than Today” through contemplative considerations of grace and calm (“Heart of Hearts”), the charms of an actual, credible woman (“She’s a Natural”), and even the possible existence of aliens (“Infinity”) and on to the closing title track about love, loss and the passing of time. The duet with Ms. Krauss, “I Just Come Here for the Music,” sounds like a country standard in the making.
When word went out that Don Williams was going to record again, literally hundreds of potential songs from Nashville’s finest were offered, and ten selected from such outstanding masters of the songmaking craft as Kieran Kane, Ronnie Bowman, Al Anderson and Leslie Satcher, Don’s son Tim Williams, as well as Don himself.
“The only description that I’ve ever had for songs I choose to do,” he notes, “is that they affect me emotionally and that, hopefully, they have something to say that will touch other people.” In doing both of those, listeners are about to find, And So It Goes doesn’t miss a beat.
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UK fans, you can now preorder the album which will be available April 30th in the UK:
US fans, preorder information coming soon for a June 19th release date.
3 Little River Casino Resort, Manistee MI
4 Memorial Hall, Racine WI
6 State Theatre, Eau Claire WI
8 Presentation Hall, Rochester MN
9 Shooting Star Casino, Mahnomen MN
10 Clay County Events Center, Spencer IA
11 McElroy Auditorium, Waterloo IA
12 Hodag Country Festival, Rhinelander WI
14 Craven Country Jamboree, Craven SK Canada
14 New Barn, Renfro Valley KY
21 & 22 Country Tonite Theatre, Pigeon Forge TN
ASCAP finally managed to corner Don Williams long enough to honor him.
The notoriously reclusive singer — who even managed to be absent from the ceremony when he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame — not only showed up at Nashville’s Opryland Hotel Sunday night (Nov. 6) to be presented ASCAP’s Golden Note award, he also stayed on to sing two of his classic hits to the adoring crowd.
Williams’ appearance was the highlight of ASCAP’s 49th annual Country Music Awards celebration that spotlighted 50 of the past year’s most-performed country songs, their composers and their publishers.
ASCAP is one of three major performing rights societies which collect and distribute performance royalties to songwriters and music publishers.