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Stagecoach 2013: Don Williams and the fine art of survival

April 28, 2013|By Randy Lewis
  • Fans are silhouetted at sunset as they cheer for Dwight Yoakam's performance on the Palomino Stage.
Fans are silhouetted at sunset as they cheer for Dwight Yoakam's performance… (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles…)

Country music tends to pay a lot more attention to tradition than many other strains of pop music, and that trait comes through loud and clear every time country loses another veteran.

They don’t come any bigger than George Jones, and his death on the same day the three-day Stagecoach Country Music Festival opened Friday in Indio was felt across the festival, from his classic recordings being played between sets by the weekend’s performers to shout-outs to the memory of Possum from various stages to the heightened appreciation for the long-timers who are still with us.

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You could feel it Sunday during the raucous ovation given to Don Williams, the laid-back singer and songwriter from Texas who had his greatest run of hits in the 1970s. Williams may be the least athletic performer in country — he sat on a stool during his time on the Palomino Stage, gratefully soaking up the cheers from the young-ish fans looking on as his set unfolded.

By the time he reached the end and offered up David Hanner’s “Lord I Hope This Day is Good,” this low-key benediction turned into an anthem, a song of thanksgiving for something seemingly as a simple as a good day. Williams, 73, calmly looked out at the crowd and soaked it all in, words being superfluous at that moment.

He even applied his signature gentle “Tulsa Time” shuffle in his encore rendition of “Louisiana Saturday Night,” an ode to the Cajun country dance parties known as fais do-do.

The virtue of survival appears to be alive and well at Stagecoach.

ALSO:

George Jones dies at 81; country music icon

Stagecoach 2013: Goodbye Coachella; hello country music

Stagecoach 2013: Norah Jones, Jeff Bridges go country on the side

Follow Randy Lewis on Twitter: @RandyLewis2 

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