When you think of songwriters from Tennessee, you probably think of Kim Williams, one of the most prolific songwriting masters of modern country music.
Over the years, I have met hundreds of people who became interested in Country Music because of songs written by Kim Williams, many of them recorded by Garth Brooks.
Today is a tender day for me, as the only daughter, and admitted Daddy’s Girl of Nashville Songwriter Hall of Fame member Kim Edwin Williams.
I had the privilege and honor to hang out with him through thick and thin, before his rise to fame as a songwriter.
In honor of him on this day, here are some highlights from his life and work, a legacy worthy of celebration today and every day.
The Hits –
Some of Dad’s biggest hits were written with Country Super Star Garth Brooks and his close knit circle of songwriters.
But the biggest hit of Dad’s career in terms of reach is probably this song, “Three Wooden Crosses” words and music Kim Williams & Doug Johnson, recorded and made famous by Randy Travis.
The song won every award possible in both Country Music and Christian Music, CMA, ACM and Dove Awarded Song of the Year.
In classic songwriter style, Dad and Doug ran into Charlie Daniels on the evening of their Dove Awarding, and the trio wrote another song that was recorded by Marty Stewart. You’ll see more about that one later…
“Three Wooden Crosses”
Here are some of his other hit songs on this Amazon Music playlist.
Why Amazon Music? That’s the only place you can stream Garth Brooks songs, and incidentally, one of the highest royalty payers for songwriters among all the digital streaming services. An even more powerful way to support songwriters is to buy the physical or digital album, in case you’re wondering.
The hit songs on this playlist are ones recorded by classic major label recording artists of the country music genre.
But Kim Williams’s influence on music extends beyond the country genre – especially into gospel and bluegrass music.
My Uncle Herschel Williams, Dad’s younger brother, was a renowned banjo player in the South East, and especially his work with The Larkin Brothers stands the test of time. You'll hear some of his songs later.
Bluegrass and Gospel Music
Dad’s work as a songwriter in bluegrass and gospel music deserves its own honorable mentions.
If you’re talking bluegrass, Tim Stafford and Blue Highway comes first to mind.
In addition to numerous cuts on Tim’s own projects, Dad enlisted Stafford’s production skills in recording his own album – bluegrass versions of his hits including “Ain’t Goin’ Down.”
Kim Williams’ music influence extends beyond Tennessee into Virginia by way of Gate City and some northern reaches where extended family reside today along the Blue Ridge Parkway, Appalachian treasure and scenic byway.
Maggard Studio in Big Stone Gap, Virginia was the site of the album recording with Tim Stafford and many of the Blue Highway band members, bluegrass royalty Adam Steffey, Alan Maggard, Barry Bales, Jim Price, Rob Ickes, Steve Gulley, and Ron Stewart.
Here are a few selections of the Kim Williams bluegrass discography –
In Gospel music, Kim Williams’s crowning jewel was “Three Wooden Crosses” recorded recently again by country newcomer Kane Brown
Dad’s close friendship with The Gaither Family and gospel country producer Jeff Silvey contribute to his catalog of music in the Christian music genre.
These include songs on the Kim Williams Christian Music Playlist –
Finally, Dad continues to inspire and provide the highest quality honky tonk traditional country catalog available in the world licensable by his publisher partners including Sony Music Publishing.
Here are a few emerging artists cuts of Kim Williams songs, including my own generation x artist arrangement of his hit cowritten with Garth Brooks, “Papa Loved Mama.”
Do you have a favorite Kim Williams song? Post a link in the comments. I’d love to hear from you.
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