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March 03/04/22, 2022
In his uniquely intimate style, Will Ackerman plays all guitars on his newest album of guitar instrumentals, Positano Songs, with aural color added by some of his close friends including Charlie Bisharat (violin), Tom Eaton (bass and piano), Eugene Friesen (cello), Noah Wilding (voices), and Jeff Oster (flugelhorn). Listeners travel to Ackerman’s Positano while listening to this collection of 10 songs, his fingertips sharing memories in soothing patterns. Each imaginative composition unfolds gently as we roam this charming Italian village by the sea. Instrumental flourishes deepen each piece, whether it is the memory of his wedding, a tribute to the sea, or the memory of a dear friend.

Will Ackerman was born with four names, two of which he shed over the years. He was adopted into the Ackerman family when he was 5 days old. His adoptive father was an English professor at Stanford University and his mother took her life when Will was 12.

Will then went across the country to a prep school in Massachusetts, returning to Stanford University only to drop out with 5 units to go. For reasons still unknown, Will decided he wanted to be a carpenter and ultimately became a rather good one and worked his way up to being a general contractor.

Will had been introduced to the guitar by his next door neighbor, Michael Kilmartin, when he was 12. Will was the weakest link in a less than stellar band playing mostly 60s hits rather poorly. But it was fun. It should always be fun.

While at Stanford, Will had put down the electric guitar and picked up an acoustic one.. a rather nice Guild guitar. He would play in stairwells and various reverberative spaces, but what he was playing no longer had a name. He just played whatever sounded right in the moment and he also discovered that there was something magical about throwing away even the most basic things about a guitar.

Everyone knows that the guitar is tuned E A D G B E, but Will (for reasons either brilliant or lazy). the latter being the primary consensus) made up some crazy tunings with notes almost randomly selected in the moment. Will thought he was the only guy in the world doing this until he was turned on to John Fahey and Robbie Basho on Takoma Records. While those guys used a few open tunings, Will used more than a hundred of them.

At some point, friends said he should make a record so he did.

It was a community effort: friends stepped in. His friend (still a dear friend) Gail did the design of the cover, another of Will's friends worked in a print shop and Scott Saxon, the engineer who recorded Will's music, had a bunch of plain white album covers that ended up with the design glued on to them. The minimum order that the record pressing plant would allow was 300. Will believed he would have 237 of these in his closet for the rest of his life.

This is where it gets interesting. This first record, In Search of the Turtle's Navel, was being sold in only one place on the planet, the Plowshare Bookstore in Palo Alto. Leaving the Plowshare one day Will literally ran into Michael Kilmartin (then next door neighbor who had first put a guitar in Will's hands). Will dragged Michael into the store and handed him a copy. That very night Michael called Will and told him that he loved the record and asked for 10 more.

Happy to oblige, Will handed over 10 more. Michael called a week later to explain that he was head of radio promotion for Fantasy Records (which made him arguably the most powerful radio promo guy in the world as he was then promoting Creedence Clearwater Revival). The ten records had been sent to 10 major radios stations across the country and heavy airplay was being reported by all of them.

Will's first paying concert was a sold out show at the Seattle Opera House.

Will's cousin, Alex de Grassi, was working with Will as a carpenter and was playing insanely brilliant guitar stuff, so it only made sense to have him make a record too. Will decided to call the label Windham Hill Records. His building company was named Windham Hill Builders so his business card showed both.

Will met a wonderful guy who played some great guitar, and who also played the piano. So they made a record called Autumn, and the world was introduced to George Winston. It continued like that for a long time, and it was beautiful and miraculous. Windham Hill became one of the most successful independent record labels on earth. Will was awarded 27 Gold and Platinum Records in the US and overseas.

Will sold his share of Windham Hill in 1992, having tired of being part of the corporation it had become. He moved back to Vermont and lives there to this day, recording and producing new artists at his Imaginary Road Studios in Windham County. He works with his dear friend and engineer/co-producer, Tom Eaton.

The walls are covered with Gold and Platinum Records. GRAMMY® nomination awards and a GRAMMY® for his RETURNING CD sits on the windowsill looking out over the West River Valley. He is currently nominated for a GRAMMY® Award for BROTHERS, an album by Jeff Oster, also featuring Tom Eaton. In 2013, Will was very flattered to receive the first ZMR ( Zone Music Reporter) Lifetime Achievement Award.

Positano (Campanian: Pasitano) is a village and community on the Amalfi Coast (Province of Salerno), in Campania, Italy, mainly within an enclave in the hills leading down to the coast. Will Ackerman has been visiting Positano, Italy for decades, that marvelous space has always felt like a home away from home to him. Many musicians have spent time in Positano, legend has it that Jagger and Richards wrote "Midnight Rambler" one night while making the rounds through the local disco scene as tourists, and Texan troubadour Shawn Phillips lived there for many years. Author John Steinbeck wrote about the local color in this article for Harper's Bazaar in May of 1953: "Like most Italian towns Positano has its miraculous picture. It is a Byzantine representation of the Virgin Mary. Once, long ago, the story goes, the Saracenic pirates raided the town and among other things carried away this picture. But they had no sooner put to sea when a vision came to them which so stunned them that they returned the picture. Every year on August 15, this incident is re-enacted with great fury and some bloodshed. In the night, the half-naked pirates attack the town, which is defended by Positanese men-at-arms dressed in armor. Some of this fighting gets pretty serious. The pirates then go to the church and carry the holy picture off into the night. Now comes the big moment. As soon as they have disappeared into the darkness, a bright and flaming image of an angel appears in the sky. At present, General Mark Clark is the sponsor of this miracle. He gave the town a surplus Air Force barrage balloon. Soonafter, the pirates return in their boats and restore the picture to the church, and everybody marches and sings and has a good time."
Famous for its spectacular setting, this vertical town is a resort destination and international fashion center. For Ackerman the music tells a personal story. "It is where Susan and I chose to be married, and a part of my heart will always live there. One of my dearest friends is Carmine Pallone, whose family has lived in Positano for generations. I’m on a first name basis with a lot of people there, and at the very least I’m someone who encounters many recognizing smiles and ciaos as I’m walking up and down the maze of a billion stairs one must traverse throughout this mainly vertical town."
At long last, his newest album is finally coming out after taking 7 years to make. Co-producer Tom Eaton and Will have worked long and hard to create it. The sound is all lush and uplifting instrumentals, played on steel stringed acoustic guitar music, using fingertips in soothing patterns, imaginative and inventive breezes of beautiful melodies creating or discovering a completely unknown landscape. 
Positano is famed for its lemon goodies, limoncello, lemon marmalade, lemon cream liqueur and more! Hospitality and cliffs with head-spinning views, from prehistory to the caves of the Mesolithic; from the Greek era to the myth of the Sirens, to the Roman phase, with the villas of the bay of Positano and the Gallo Lungo, the wrecks in the sea and the archeological elements reused. Anyone who considers Positano properly inevitably ends up with a view in their head, of the Positano fashion, the beaches of Positano and the amazing sea of the Amalfi Coast.
Traveling without moving, floating on vibrating strings above a hollow chamber in the guitar body, the fingers of the player acquire greater voice and importance, which together with the very lively Windham Hill tradition, intends to represent in forms of art and culture, a community aware and proud of its past, enjoying a fusion of cultural influences so prosperous and have resulted in an art that, even today, demonstrates a high level of ingenuity and passion. Cautiously, you take one step closer to see in order to get a better view of his hand positionings.
A mix of the charming, iconic, and modern, with dreamy layered and intricate cycles, building and creating variations as they spiral slowly, "Nighttime in the Chapel" (3:17) sets the mood for the album, the chapel in the village of Nocelle, a celebration of parlor and 6 string guitars as well as a story of romance and happiness; anticipating a wedding, a natural blending of two people, two families each with a shared rich history, culture, cuisine, and other elements. Next, the guitar is joined by violin and ethereal vocals, "Our Wedding Song" (4:05) is a very personal invitation expressed with the essence of guitars, violin, voices, and bass.
Legend has it that the three islets of Li Galli, set just off the shores of Positano and often referred to as the "Sirenuse", were inhabited by Sirens who attempted to seduce with their song all those who sailed nearby. "Did I Dream This" (5:02) is a slower meditation, with lots of pauses, and some ethereal vocals hidden in there with the guitars, cello, piano and bass
Wine is also a big part of Italian culture, and the country is home to some of the world's most famous vineyards. The oldest traces of Italian wine were discovered in a cave near Sicily's southwest coast. Family gatherings are frequent and often centered around food and the extended networks of families, with a special lemon dish after a course of delectable fresh cuisine arriving at your table. This is time to enjoy "The End of the Day" (5:44) and as the slow pace drifts along, reflective guitars, violin and voices, you become transported in a way you have never been transported before.
In the next track, "For Carmine" (4:40) know that life is a powerful thing in a lot of different forms, haunting interweaving melodies that pause and wander majestically, beautiful and miraculous parlor guitar and 6 string guitars with cello and bass, creating a rich chorus effect.
The exceptional architectural stratifications found at Positano allows the reading of two thousand years of history. Italy is known as Il Bel Paese (The Beautiful Country), and one of the most recognizable countries on any map. The arte (arts), famiglia (family), architettura (architecture), musica (music), and cibo (food) are all important aspects of Italian culture. Italian culture is the amalgamation of thousands of years of heritage and tradition, tracing its roots back to the Ancient Roman Empire and beyond, steeped in the arts, family, architecture, music and food. "This is Where It Begins" (4:42) proceeds at a moderate pace, cycling through the various instruments in combinations of guitars, violin, flugelhorn, piano and bass.
Positano was a relatively poor fishing village during the first half of the twentieth century. The first evidence of a settlement in Positano dates back to Prehistory, more precisely to the Upper Paleolithic in which the "Grotto La Porta" was frequented by peoples of gatherers and hunters. The first archeological evidence dates back to the first century BC, when luxurious Roman villas were built on the coast of the Sorrento Peninsula. Positano has been a holiday resort since the time of the Roman Empire, as evidenced by the discovery of a villa in the bay. Typical are the many staircases that from the top of the village connect the upper districts with the valley area. The main beaches are Spiaggia Grande, Fornillo, La Porta, Fiumicello, Arienzo, San Pietro, Laurito and Remmese, some of which can also be reached by sea.
In Greek mythology, it is believed that the cliffs above the Tyrrhenian Sea housed the four winds kept by Aeolus. The Tyrrhenian Sea derives its name from the Tyrrhenian people, a non-Greek people largely considered Sea People. The Tyrrhenian Sea still is an important trade route linking various Mediterranean regions, several ports and harbors are located along the coast, including Palermo, Naples, Trapani, Salerno, and Civitavecchia. "The Tyrrhenian Sea" (5:55) is a smooth instrumental, guitars, cello, piano and bass portraying the shimmering light reflected on the vast water, with slow rolls and no whitecaps today, the vista goes soaring on forever.
Summer is a magical time to seize the day and soak up the sun at Fornillo beach, just imagine the splendid sight of panoramic Tyrrhenian Sea views! "Passing Baldo's Tower" (5:38) is your assurance you are headed in the right direction to a hidden beach that only the locals know about, where swimming and sunbathing is very popular. Take a dip into the cool crystalline waters or stretch out and sunbathe, and at the end of the day, you'll leave with a golden glow.
The Italians take time for everything. All will be fine in the end with a little patience. It is a way to live more consciously and slowly, to bring down stress. This is what we call mindfulness, the years go by and the light sweetens. "For Giovanni" (4:52) features guitars, violin, voices and bass.
Will's closing solo is a testament to Positano's rich history and culture, the brilliant yet calm sound of a fond memory. To know exactly where these tunes are coming from, you slowly open your heavy eyes, stirring dreams and wishes towards a glowing future, "I Had To Go There" (1:34). This is guitar music for every moment, when all aspects of life are valued and celebrated, including spending time with family and friends, eating and drinking well, and appreciating beauty in all its forms.
From scenic hiking trails and pebble beaches to special restaurants and artisan specialty shops, Positano has it all, and this music is a testimonial to the particularly bright colors and soothing vistas, a dream place that isn't quite real when you are there, you take one of the paths leading to the tiny mountain outposts above Positano. Remember to cherish every moment with your loved ones, because tragedy can happen at any sudden moment. If there were one most important thing to do, it would be to explore a passion into your life, and enjoy such fine music equally at home in a classical concerto, a jazz improvisation, or a children's lullaby, something to fully savor and to relieve stress. Daily musical inspiration isn't just nourishment, it is life.
TRACKS
1 Nighttime in the Chapel
2 Our Wedding Song
3 Did I Dream This
4 The End of the Day
5 For Carmine
6 This is Where It Begins
7 The Tyrrhenian Sea
8 Passing Baldo's Tower
9 For Giovanni
10 I had To Go There

LINKS
https://lnk.to/willackermanlinks
https://williamackerman.com/
https://www.positano.com/en/s/positano-2
http://www.shawnphillips.com/
https://youtu.be/TUGOKB-JOT8
https://positano-amalfi-coast.com/category/john-steinbeck/
https://windhaming.com/