Taking a cue from Kathy Mattea, whose last album detailed a country-folk synthesis of the human condition, Don Williams has surveyed this modern world we live in, found it a pretty pathetic place, and decided what really matters: lasting love and friendship. Williams, one of the Pozo Seco Singers of the ’60s (they had a major hit with ”Time”), has a natural feel for some of this folk-tinged material, such as the well-meaning, if trite, ”Only Water (Shining in the Air)” and ”So Far, So Good,” the trembling confession of a man who senses his wife is about to leave and doesn’t know what to do. But on other songs in Currents, Williams is a disaster — too straight for the raggedy-ass groove of Alex Harvey’s ”Catfish Bates,” too sweet for the melancholy ”Lone Star State of Mind,” and too lame to veto the South African/Paul Simon treatment of ”In the Family,” cowritten by Dobie Gray. Williams, the Country Music Association’s Male Vocalist of the Year back in 1978, is obviously searching for a way to stay current in the changing country scene. Just as obviously, he hasn’t found it. C-

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