Yasmin Williams is an acoustic fingerstyle guitarist with an unorthodox, modern style of playing. Her music has been commonly described as refreshing, relaxing, and unique and has been called some of the most imaginative guitar music out today. She utilizes various techniques including alternate tunings, percussive hits, and lap tapping in her music to great effect. Her new album “Urban Driftwood” will be released at January 29.
As detailed in the liner notes, the songs on “Urban Driftwood” were completed during the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown, in the midst of a national uprising of Black Lives Matter protests in response to the killing of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. The sequencing on the record intends to illustrate the unfolding of these events, beginning with album opener “Sunshowers,” with its rich texture of hammer-ons on pull-offs expressing innocence and collective excitement for a new year and decade, swiftly moving to the more contemplative speculation of “I Wonder” and the self-reflective “Juvenescence,” with its Bridget St. John-reminiscent opening and descending and ascending arpeggios throughout. On “Adrift,” the first track on Side B, Yasmin’s guitar engages in a call-and-response fugue with cello, played by Taryn Wood, emulating the political unrest, chaos, and floundering of the country as it reckoned with the persistence of white supremacy and vast inequality.
About the song “Urban Driftwood”: “As I wrote the song, I remember reflecting on my personal role in the context of the current societal moment, considering my position as Black female guitarist within a white male dominated field. There are not many Black guitarists within this genre and particularly with all of the political and social discord that was happening in the United States in 2020 and now, I felt it was extremely important to include a song on the album that was inspired by my heritage and paid homage to who I am, the household I grew up in, and the music I listened to as a kid. “Urban Driftwood” is more like the music I grew up listening to than any other song I’ve released so far.”