Yasmin Williams grew up in northern Virginia in a household filled with smooth jazz, hip-hop, and two older brothers who she consistently outplayed in the video game Guitar Hero 2. Her parents wasted no time procuring her a real electric guitar and amp, and from there she went on to conquer bass guitar and 6-and-12-string acoustic, teaching herself to play by ear. Her 2021 album Urban Driftwood has received high praise from Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, The Washington Post, NPR Music, No Depression, Bandcamp, and Paste Magazine. She has been featured on NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday and All Songs Considered along with high profile magazine features in Acoustic Guitar and Vintage Guitar Magazine.
A typical Yasmin Williams show finds her seated onstage with her unique harp guitar stretched flat across her lap tapping the fretboard with her left hand while her right plucks a kalimba resting on the guitar’s body. Her feet keep the rhythm in tap shoes. Her virtuoso level playing is impressive but she is not showing off. The music feels intuitive and exploratory, generating melodies that are beautiful and friendly yet wonderfully strange. She seems to have a deep curiosity about the unheard sounds that might still be hiding inside her acoustic guitar.