Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) May 14, 2013
Recording artists, radio executives and music industry professionals applauded as GRAMMY-winning guitarist Will Ackerman took the stage time and again at the ZMR Music Awards in New Orleans last Saturday night. Ackerman's awards celebrated recent productions by the founder of Windham Hill Records as well as his influence of excellence on the music he touches. Ackerman, now owner of Imaginary Road Studios, in Vermont, was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award by ZMR, and, also took home Album of the Year for The Gathering, a compilation of music and artists he recently produced, released by his new record label, West River Records.
The Gathering also took home the award for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album. All of the artists featured on the album recorded with Imaginary Road, including Ann Sweeten, Devin Rice and Erin Aas, Fiona Joy Hawkins, Jeff Oster, Kathryn Kaye, Kori Linae Carothers, Lawrence Blatt, Masako, Paul Jensen, Peter Jennison, Shambhu, Todd Boston, Dean Boland, Denise Young, Frank Smith, Ken Verheecke, Patrick Gorman, Rhonnda Cadle, Rocky Fretz, Rudy Perrone, Stanton Lanier and Ackerman himself. To top it all off, he also accepted the award for Best Instrumental Album: Acoustic on behalf of Todd Boston, for Touched by the Sun, which Ackerman produced.
Ackerman performed at the entertaining 4-hour event held at New Orleans’ historic Joy Theater, emceed by Renee Blanche, host of the popular show "Night Tides" on KCUR-FM, Kansas City. His performance was complemented by today’s leading ZMR artists performing myriad musical styles including solo piano, multi-instrumental, electronic, vocal, and every manner of acoustic music defying standard genres. Such is the musical range that inspires Ackerman’s true passion: working with artists to hone their music, producing their very best effort, and guiding them through the recording process all the way to mastering their final product. The Gathering is evidence to that effect, and the artists who record with Ackerman are not shy about singing his praises.
Having recorded several albums with Ackerman, and performed on others’ albums recorded at the studio, trumpet and flugelhorn player Jeff Oster says, “Will has a magical way of bringing out the best in an artist. He has the perspective and intuition to know not only what notes should be played, but also what notes to leave out. I love working with him, and always look forward to our next sessions.”
Ackerman began as a musician and the founder of Windham Hill Records, discovering major talents like George Winston, Michael Hedges, Liz Story and Shadowfax. He has produced over 70 artists in his 34-year career, garnering more than 25 Platinum and Gold records in the U.S. and overseas. The famous airlock door at Imaginary Road Studios bears the name of at least 84 musicians who have recorded in the studio including Michael Manring, Tom "T-Bone" Wolk, Michael Hedges, Liz Story, Pete Seeger, Jeff Haynes, Steve Holley, Tony Levin, Eugene Friesen, Happy Rhodes, Fiona Joy Hawkins, Tom Bodett, Howard Levy, and many others. Ackerman recently wrote about the launch of a new label, West River Records, clarifying the label’s genesis and focus.
“Imaginary Road Studios looks over The West River Valley in Windham County, Vermont,” he wrote in his blog, “and when I was looking for a label name on which to release The Gathering, the new compilation of my recent productions, I decided that West River Records would be a great name for it. While I don’t plan to expand this to emulate Windham Hill in any way, I hope that I might eventually release another volume of The Gathering and use West River Records to re-release some of my own Windham Hill recordings that are now out of print.”
Over the past decade, artists recording with Imaginary Road Studios have won dozens of awards and accolades, including Ackerman's own GRAMMY Award for (Best New Age Album) in 2004. The studio has produced more #1 charting albums on the ZMR Charts than any other producer by far, and has also produced the five highest-scoring #1 albums of all time including The Gathering (twice), The Color of Sunshine (Lawrence Blatt), Touched by the Sun (Todd Boston) and Blue Dream (Fiona Joy Hawkins).
Ackerman gladly shares the credit with his Imaginary Road Studio team and the guest players with whom he regularly works, including such luminaries as six-time Grammy Award-winning cellist Eugene Friesen, drummer Steve Holley (Paul McCartney and Elton John), bassist Tony Levin (John Lennon, Paul Simon and Peter Gabriel), violinist Charlie Bisharat, vocalist Noah Wilding, bassist Michael Manring, English horn player Jill Haley, French Horn player Gus Sebring, and more.
Located in the mountains of Windham County, VT, the studio is a state of the art facility helmed by Ackerman as producer, engineering and co-production by Tom Eaton, and office management by Virginia Andrew. Together, the team strives to offer a creative space to artists at every level, from the emerging solo piano player to the seasoned artist set on creating award-winning acoustic masterpieces. Technology at the studio is constantly upgraded, Eaton says, and currently includes Klaus Heyne-modified sequential pairs of Neumann microphones, Hemmingway preamps and the best technology offered by leading recording facilities.
Particularly special is the studio’s Steinway piano. Ackerman notes “The piano we’ve purchased for the studio is simply the most beautiful and balanced piano sound I’ve ever heard in my life. Extensive work on the piano in 2011 and 2013, including the instillation of Stanwood action, addressed voicing and balance without compromising the warmth of the 1957 vintage Steinway piano, which has become legendary.
Ackerman works with artists on both entire albums and single tracks, and tries hard to find workable production budgets for interested and promising artists. At times, he travels to produce special projects, as with Fiona Joy Hawkins’ forthcoming album 600 Years in a Moment, recorded in Australia on a unique, 120-key Stewart & Sons piano.
Ackerman says he is excited about the new music emerging from the studio this year; there are projects in the works with both developing and established artists including Stanton Lanier, Masako, Angelo Rapan, Andrea Hanson, Vicente Avella, Shambhu, Kathryn Kaye, James Gabriel, Brad Schumann, Matteo Palmer, Ryan Michael Richards, Dave Kydd, and Vin Downes.
Other noteworthy artists who have recorded at the studio in recent years include Philip Aaberg, Preston Reed, Isadar, Samite, Jeff Pearce, Martin Sexton, Ellis Paul, Lynn Yew Evers, Karen Marie Garrett, Heidi Anne Breyer, Robert Linton, Dan Kennedy, Jim Hudak, Matt Millecchia, Chad Lawson, Damon Buxton, Larry Allen Brown, Noa Bursie, Rory Sullivan, Rebecca Harrold and Laura Sullivan.
Lloyd Barde, Music Editor of Common Ground Magazine, captured Ackerman’s inspiration in his review of The Gathering when he wrote “This is surely one of the best compilations in the 30+ year history of this genre. Ackerman stated that increased exposure for the artists is more important than profit, and I know you can resonate with that. A new generation of musicians produced by Will Ackerman ... this is dream material, on every level.”
The Gathering is available on CDBaby.com in CD or digital format, featuring 22 tracks for $12.99.
For more information about Imaginary Road, or to discuss Will Ackerman’s availability as a producer, please call (207) 929-5777 between 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. EST, Monday - Friday.
For media inquiries, review copies, or interviews, call Virginia Andrew at 207-929-5777 or email her at vra(at)sacoriver(dot)net.
About Will Ackerman: Will Ackerman’s unique approach to record making, with his uncanny sense of balance, space and time, continues to produce records which consistently hold positions at the top of the Zone music charts, and his dual legacies as the founder of Windham Hill Records, and as a singular musical voice, continue to draw the finest instrumental performers from around the world here, to Imaginary Road Studios.
About ZMR: Zone Music Reporter, formerly New Age Reporter, is the Industry Source for radio airplay reports for a myriad of different musical styles. ZMR tracks radio airplay of both terrestrial and internet broadcast radio stations from around the world reporting their Top 20 album rankings. The site features a weekly playlist, monthly airplay charts, album reviews, and annual awards as voted upon by the international programmers. ZMR is the premier Record Charting site for radio airplay reports in the New Age, World, Solo Piano, Acoustic Instrumental, Ambient, Celtic, Chill, Contemporary Instrumental, Electronic, Folk, Jazz, Meditative/Healing, Neo-Classical, Native American, Relaxation, and Instrumental genres.
Imaginary Road Studios - Official Website: http://www.imaginaryroadstudios.com
Will Ackerman - Official Website and Discography: http://www.williamackerman.com/Producer/Producer-Discography.html
Music Samples: http://imaginaryroadstudios.com/music-samples/
The Gathering: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/thegathering5