Country music traditionalist Don Walser died Wednesday (Sept. 20) at his Texas home at age 72 following a lengthy illness. Walser gained became known as “the Pavarotti of the Plains” after a music journalist used the phrase to describe his distinctive singing and yodeling style. Born in Brownfield, Texas, he spent 45 years in the National Guard as a mechanic, superintendent and auditor before moving to Austin, Texas, in 1984. Launching his professional career in Austin clubs, Walser was 64 when he signed with Sire Records, the rock label that was home to the Ramones and Madonna. Through the years, he opened shows for acts ranging from Johnny Case to rock bands such as the Butthole Surfers and Ministry. A variety of health problems forced him to retire from the music business in 2003. He is survived by his wife, Pat, and four children.