A CD, a rich body of work spanning at least a decade, an auditory glimpse into the world of a master musician who pioneered an outlet and discovered such talents as George Winston, Michael Hedges and Michael Manring with his label Windham Hill Records. Pure Will Ackerman is a palette of emotion and musicianship that will add color to your music collection.
Though this CD may be an accurate archive of Will Ackerman’s talent on the acoustic guitar, it is also a testament to his songwriting skills and the ability to incorporate talented musicians while letting them shine. Its timeless beauty is a rare find in genres other than classical and jazz – so it’s no surprise this release is inspired by those elements. This thoughtfully organized compilation aspires above those elements with such tracks like “Driving,” “Climbing in Geometry,” and “Ventana.”
There are moments on this album where you will feel like you are listening to the soundtrack of life, so exuberant and soulful are the passages. Organic spirituality can be felt on tracks like “Walk with Me” and “Briars above the Well,” but do not mistake Mr. Ackerman’s vision as New Age.
These songs don’t speak of a better life or of a different world; they speak about this life, this world. There is beauty in the Here and Now. These aspects come from the varying influences of folk and other worldly music, which lends human strength and compassion to each of these songs. Solo pieces like “Processional” and “The Bricklayer’s Beautiful Daughter” highlight these human moments and showcase Mr. Ackerman’s ability to soar through a song on his own.
“Hawk Circle” is a poignant masterpiece indulging us with the intimate chemistry of George Winston, Michael Hedges and Will Ackerman. Unfortunately, the passing of Mr. Hedges leaves me yearning at what an album by this trio would sound like. If you don’t let the CD progress to the bonus track, “Hawk Circle” makes for a powerful ending; an ending to an audio journey that leaves you grateful and with a better understanding of what “pure” really is.
Mr. Ackerman completely sold off Windham Hill in 1996 to live in Windham County, Vermont, where he still works on music and building. He will even perform a “house concert” in an intimate setting if you contact him. For more information visit Ackerman’s nicely designed website.