Live Tonight: The Fray, Don Williams

When was the last time you visited a dentist’s office? If you’ve had a root canal or wisdom teeth pulled in the past 10 years, chances are you’ve heard “How to Save a Life” by The Fray playing over the sound system. The song managed to collect all the worst things about adult contemporary—cloying piano rock, airy mumblemouth vocals, vaguely Christian themes—and throw it into a bland Metamucil smoothie so easily digestible that the album of the same name went on to become the best-selling digital album of all time. But alas, this is not 2005; we live in 2014, and it would be unfair to dwell on The Fray’s past. Helios, its latest album, sounds like Coldplay, the Goo Goo Dolls, and Lion King–era Elton John all falling asleep together in a cavernous stadium. It’s no doubt playing in a dentist’s office near you. With Barcelona, Oh Honey. Marymoor Park, 6046 W. Lake Sammamish Pkwy., 205-3661, marymoorconcerts.com. 6:30 p.m. $44.50–$54.50. All ages. KELTON SEARS

“Coffee black/Cigarette/Start this day/Like all the rest/First thing in the morning that I do/Is start missing you.” With these words begins “Some Broken Hearts Never Mend,” echoing the sentiments of so many Don Williams songs, like “Amanda,” “I Believe in You,” and “You’re My Best Friend.” Neither a rambling, gambling outlaw or a pop-country square, Williams’ persona is unique. In fact, if country music were a game of love, Williams never learned how to play it, his straightforward, plaintive country ballads preferring plain talk over innuendo (like “Turn Out the Light and Love Me Tonight”). Standing 6˝1´ and stocky with a buttery-rich baritone, the crooner’s tender style earned him his lasting nickname, the “Gentle Giant.” Yet it was a title he fully embraced, and fans flocked to his steadfast brand of feel-good country love songs. He hasn’t stopped much along the way, cranking out releases through the ’70s into the ’90s, with a handful in the aughts. His latest, Reflections, finds the singer, now 74, ever steady and still in control of those smooth vocals. And his cover of Townes Van Zandt’s “I’ll Be Here in the Morning” finds him still singing about love. Snoqualmie Casino, 37500 S.E. North Bend Way, Snoqualmie, 425-888-1234, snocasino.com. 7 p.m. $30 and up. GE

 
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