Keith Williams, known by the stage name Cashmere Williams, is a Tuscaloosa musician through and through. This year, he returned to his gospel roots with his new EP, “Awesome.” We talked with Cashmere to learn more.
Who is Cashmere Williams?
Keith Williams was born and raised in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He grew up in the church, and was heavily influenced by the gospel quartets that were popular throughout his childhood. As he grew older, he began to play diverse styles of music.
In 1995, Williams won a scholarship to the world-renowned Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. He studied composition and arranging at Berklee, but stayed true to his Southern roots.
In 2003, Williams toured nationally with American Idol winner Ruben Studdard. During this time, he appeared on The Jay Leno Show, The David Letterman Show, The View and The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
Cashmere Williams has been focusing on his solo career lately. He’s released three EPs since 2015: “New Birth,” “Uptown,” and “Awesome.” In 2016 & 2017, Williams was voted “Best Male Jazz Artist” as a part of the Alabama Music Awards.
Williams’ newest release, “Awesome”
Cashmere Williams returns to his gospel roots in his latest EP, “Awesome.” His soulful guitar plays over soothing gospel, creating a peaceful and spiritual sound. The first song on the EP, “Every Praise,” is particularly upbeat. I listened to Williams’ album one early morning, and it started my day with intentionality and positivity.
Williams feels that his new EP marks a new era in his musicianship.
“I feel like the Lord is calling me to minister through my music. Before, I was doing what was popular. Now, my purpose is very clear: I’m going to be playing a lot of gospel music,”Cashmere Williams
Many of the songs’ on “Awesome” were written in 2009, but Williams felt 2021 was the right time to release a gospel EP.
“I want people to be inspired and realize there’s hope. It’s all about redemption at the end of the day. I think the pandemic made people realize, including myself, that they need to get their spirituality in check,”Cashmere Williams
He recorded the entire EP in his home studio, and the results live up to his mission. Hopefully, Cashmere Williams will continue to release uplifting gospel music.
Cashmere Williams is headlining a Live at the Plaza show in his hometown of Tuscaloosa, Alabama on Friday, June 25th.
For more on Alabama music, check out https://thebamabuzz.com/25-summer-festivals-across-alabama-you-dont-want-to-miss/.
More Alabama jazz & gospel
Alabama has a rich past and present in jazz and gospel. Musicians throughout Yellowhammer state are often able to blend the two genres seamlessly.
Today, Alabama artists like Pastor Mike Jr. land number 1 spots on the Billboard gospel charts. Pastor Mike secured his first chart topper this year with “I Got it.” He released a single called “Grateful” this year as well, and it’s a winning track.
Kim Scott is another promising Alabama musician. She’s a gifted flutist active in Birmingham’s jazz scene. Scott hosts “Kim Scott’s Block Party” every Sunday on Birmingham’s jazz station, 91.1 FM. She also records stunning smooth jazz, all of which can be found on her Youtube channel.
Of course, you can never talk about Alabama jazz without mentioning Sun Ra. Born Herman Poole Blount in Birmingham, Ra was a highly experimental and influential jazz musician. When listening to Ra’s music, you often feel like you’re traveling to another planet. In fact, The Saturn, a popular music venue in Birmingham, is named after Sun Ra’s dreamed-up trip to the planet.