Rolling Stone from Texas
September 21, 2006 10:05 AM   Subscribe

'Pavarotti of the Plains' In 1957, Don Walser stopped recording country music and became a National Guardsman, just as rock 'n' roll took over the airwaves. He stayed with the Guard for 39 years, but around 1990, his performances at Henry's in Austin, Texas developed a following. By the end of the decade, he would sign to Sire Records, open for Ministry and the Butthole Surfers, collaborate with Kronos Quartet and be honored with a National Heritage Award. Walser retired from his music career in 2001 because of ill health. He passed away on Wednesday at age 72.
posted by NemesisVex (17 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
This is uncanny timing. I just recently heard his, "Whose Heart Are You Breaking Now" and purchased it on the spot (and I'm no fan of country. That's how awesome I think the song is). He'll be missed. :(
posted by katillathehun at 10:14 AM on September 21, 2006

I first heard Don Walsner here. He'll be missed.

posted by keswick at 10:16 AM on September 21, 2006

I love Big Don Walser and was privileged enough to see him several times.

I love his yodeling and the life he brought into every room he entered. What a showman.
posted by dios at 11:45 AM on September 21, 2006

For those unfamiliar with him, Big Daddy has a website with music clips. Try to hear him yodeling.
posted by dios at 11:52 AM on September 21, 2006

I knew him well, once, and performed with him several times. I've heard him a hundred or more times, and interviewed him twice.

Don was what he seemed to be, and a truly nice guy as well as a hell of an entertainer and an uncanny singer. Happy trails, big guy. There's still a lot of love in San Antone (and Austin, and Seattle, and everywhere else you ever graced with your presence).

Back to retirement.
posted by realcountrymusic at 12:41 PM on September 21, 2006

And Don's scene at Henry's on Burnet Road was the Sopa Creek Saloon of the 1990s.
posted by realcountrymusic at 12:42 PM on September 21, 2006

Soap . . . jeez, it's been a long time.
posted by realcountrymusic at 12:42 PM on September 21, 2006

Loved Don Walser since I saw him open for the Butthole Surfers (yes - you read that right) at the opry house in the late eighties. He was a great talent, a true original and loveable as hell...

posted by space2k at 12:52 PM on September 21, 2006

Saw him at Jovita's in Austin where he used to play one night a week for a while in the 90's. Yodeling and some fine guitar and country music. A unique performer.
posted by jam_pony at 1:02 PM on September 21, 2006

posted by Smart Dalek at 1:21 PM on September 21, 2006

posted by turbodog at 1:57 PM on September 21, 2006

posted by nola at 2:20 PM on September 21, 2006

I had the pleasure of seeing him in Austin about 10 years ago. His voice was like heaven and he struck me as a true gentleman. This makes me very sad.
posted by suki at 2:31 PM on September 21, 2006

Gosh, this is sad news, but not totally unexpected, he'd been quite ill for some time. I, too, was lucky enough to see him at Jovita's on Tuesdays up until he retired. This must've been 3 or 4 years ago. His health was rapidly declining, but his eyes still twinkled. He loved to see folks dancing and would talk with us afterwards. I dare say his voice is transcendent. The world is a poorer place for his passing.
posted by green herring at 2:45 PM on September 21, 2006

On NPR's All Things Considered today.
posted by neuron at 6:15 PM on September 21, 2006

I've never been much of a Western swing fan, so I didn't have the great appreciation for Walser that many do. But he sure seemed like one of the hardest working, nicest, best liked musicians in Austin. Condolences to his family and many fans and friends.
posted by chipr at 3:20 PM on September 22, 2006

posted by effwerd at 3:53 PM on September 22, 2006

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