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Archive for the ‘Grammy Awards’ Category

Grammy Winner Laura SullivanMusic News: Laura Sullivan, 56th GRAMMY® Award- winning recipient for Best New Age Music Album titled Love’s River.

The 56th GRAMMY® Award winners have been announced on January 26th, 2014, and as expected, there were a few surprises on this year’s recipients of the highly prized music award.

Best New Age Album Award recipient Laura Sullivan is a solo and concert pianist whose award really didn’t come as a surprise to me at all. Laura’s piano and instrumental new age album Love’s River happened to be the first album review I wrote in 2013, and I just knew the eleven songs on her newest album were something special.

Laura Sullivan’s award-winning album Love’s River, on the Sentient Spirit Records Label, is a piano and instrumental album featuring pianist Laura Sullivan and other top music professionals including Will Ackerman, Nancy Rumbel, Eugene Friesen, Jill Haley and Jeff Oster.

The ensemble of award-winning music professionals performing their instrumentals on various songs are Nancy Rumbel playing Oboe and English Horn, Eugene Friesen on cello, Jill Haley on English Horn, Jeff Oster on trumpet and flugel horn. Record Producer Will Ackerman produced 4 songs and played acoustic guitar on the song titled Blessed.

Best New Age AlbumLaura Sullivan is truly a gifted composer and pianist with many achievements as a soloist and concert pianist throughout her illustrious career, and I am pleased to see her win a GRAMMY® Award in 2014.

In the album review I wrote I stated it was exciting to be one of the first to review Laura Sullivan’s newest album Love’s River. I also stated I felt it was destined to be a popular album in 2013. For everyone who knows Laura personally, they may be in agreement that in this case Laura Sullivan’s latest achievement was not one of the few surprises!

The 11 songs on Love’s River are Secrets from the Deep, Wishing on a Dandelion, Awakening to Love, Blessed, Holding Heaven, Moonlight Passage, Love’s River, Calligraphy, River to the Sea, Story of the Rain & Snowfall on Water.

To sample and purchase Love’s River visit Laura-Sullivan.com. Read my album review on my pages for Laura Sullivan. Photo and album cover art courtesy laura-sullivan.com.

Soundtrack ReviewAward-winning Soundtrack: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo Soundtrack by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.

This week Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross earned a GRAMMY® Award in the Best Score Soundtrack For Visual Media Category for their soundtrack score The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. Identical to the movie itself, this lengthy soundtrack with 39 songs paints a dark and deeply mysterious sound-scape by the two artist’s electronic score composed from an equally enigmatic viewpoint.

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo SoundtrackHowever when listening to this award-winning soundtrack outside the context of the movie, does The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo still earn the appreciation it deserves? This appears to be the case. The Social Network Soundtrack from 2010, which won a Golden Globe and Academy Award, is another prize movie score of Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross earning this team well-deserved admiration of music buffs and moviegoers alike.

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo Soundtrack by itself is a masterful collection of electronic music. Now given the prestige of award-winning status and the backing of the motion picture regarded as an epic thriller, this cinematic movie soundtrack by itself has become a success by progressing into the popular arena of a trendy modern classic.

The soundtrack with 39 songs is available in a 3 audio CD box set or mp3 digital downloads. The song video shown below is the 8 minute long Official Trailer with background score. Find The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo at Amazon.com. Cover courtesy Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo SoundtrackBest Soundtrack Music Score: Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross win GRAMMY® Award for Best Score Soundtrack For Visual Media by their film score album titled The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.

The 55th GRAMMY® Award Winners in 81 categories were recently named during a live presentation ceremony. The show publicized as “Music’s Biggest Night” was aired live during a televised broadcast on the CBS Television Network.

The ceremony held at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California on February 10, 2013 included a series of show performances while honoring top artists for their achievements by one or more awards of 81 Best Album Award categories.

Composers Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross were presented with a GRAMMY® Award in the Best Score Soundtrack For Visual Media Category, determined by voting members of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo Soundtrack earned Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross the prestigious, top Music Award.

Grammy Winning SoundtrackThe GRAMMY® Awards first inaugurated in 1959 was formed to recognize artists for their achievements in the music recording industry. To give you an idea how popular this awards presentation has become, the Annual Music Awards is ranked in viewership popularity as one of the highest rated television special programs.

Last year’s televised live Annual Music Awards ceremony reported 39.9 million viewers worldwide. The prime-time awards presentation in 2013 with an equally long list of popular celebrities who performed live during the presentation ceremony is expected to be another record breaking year for television viewership.

The five additional Nominated composers and their Soundtrack Scores in the 55th Music Awards for Best Score Soundtrack For Visual Media are: The Adventures Of Tintin – The Secret Of The Unicorn Soundtrack by composer John Williams, The Artist Soundtrack by composer Ludovic Bource, The Dark Knight Rises Soundtrack by composer Hans Zimmer, Hugo Soundtrack by composer Howard Shore, and Journey: Official Game Soundtrack by composer Austin Wintory.

Sample or purchase the album soundtrack by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross titled The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo at Amazon.com. Read the complete list of prizewinning artists and albums in all 81 Best Album Categories at Grammy.com. Photos are courtesy Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross & Big Stock Photo – AnmFoto.

Grammy World MusicBest World Music Album: The Recording Academy bestows Ravi Shankar a 55th GRAMMY® Award in the Best World Music Album Category for his album The Living Room Sessions Part 1.

The 55th GRAMMY® Award Winners in 81 specific categories were announced during a live presentation ceremony. The show publicized as “Music’s Biggest Night” aired live during a televised broadcast on the CBS Television Network.

The ceremony held at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California on February 10, 2013 included a series of show performances while honoring top artists for their achievements by one or more awards of 81 total Best Album Award categories.

Selected Best World Music Album in category #51, a Music Award was bestowed to Ravi Shankar posthumously. Award recipients in all categories were determined by voting members of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.

Ravi Shankar won the Best World Music Album GRAMMY® Award for his album titled The Living Room Sessions Part 1.

Grammy World MusicThe GRAMMY® Awards first inaugurated in 1959 was formed to recognize artists for their achievements in the music recording industry. To give you an idea how popular this awards presentation has become, the Annual Music Awards is ranked in viewership popularity as one of the highest rated television special programs.

Last year’s televised live Annual Music Awards ceremony reported 39.9 million viewers worldwide. The prime-time awards presentation in 2013 with an equally long list of popular celebrities who performed live during the presentation ceremony is expected to be another record breaking year for television viewership.

The four additional nominees and their albums in the 55th Music Awards for Best World Music Album are: Folila by Amadou & Mariam, On A Gentle Island Breeze by Daniel Ho, Jabulani by Hugh Masekela and Traveller by Anoushka Shankar. For album reviews and interviews with additional Award-Winning and Nominated artists at this site find further reading and information on my main pages.

To sample or purchase The Living Room Session Part 1 album visit RaviShankar.org. You may also sample or purchase The Living Room Session Part 1 at the store page for Ravi Shankar at Amazon.com. To read the complete list of award-winning artists, including all award-nominees in all 81 Best Album Categories visit Grammy.com. Cover art and photo are courtesy ravishankar.org. & Big Stock Photo – AnmFoto.

Echoes Of Love by Omar AkramEchoes Of Love by Omar Akram: The Recording Academy has named Omar Akram a 55th GRAMMY® Award-Winner in the Best New Age Album Category for his album Echoes Of Love.

The 55th GRAMMY® Award Winners in 81 specific categories were announced during a live presentation ceremony. The show publicized as “Music’s Biggest Night” aired live during a televised broadcast on the CBS Television Network.

The ceremony held at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California on February 10, 2013 included a series of show performances while honoring top artists for their achievements by one or more awards of 81 total Best Album Award categories.

Selected top album out of 6 albums total in the New Age Music Category (#30) a Music Award was presented to Omar Akram. The recipients in all 81 categories of this prestigious music award were ultimately determined by voting members of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS).

Omar Akram won the GRAMMY® Award in the Best New Age Album Category for his album titled Echoes Of Love.

New Age GrammyThe GRAMMY® Awards first inaugurated in 1959 was formed to recognize artists for their achievements in the music recording industry. To give you an idea how popular this awards presentation has become, the Annual Music Awards is ranked in viewership popularity as one of the highest rated television special programs.

Last year’s televised live 54th Annual Awards program reported 39.9 million viewers worldwide. This year’s prime-time live awards presentation with a long list of popular celebrities is expected to be another record breaking year for television viewership.

I have interviewed a number of GRAMMY® Award/Nominated artists and written album reviews about their albums over the years. If you are new to this music blog, on my main pages you can find more information about artists in this year and past years award competition in the Soundtrack, Americana, Instrumental, New Age, and World music genre categories.

To sample or purchase Echoes Of Love visit the artist at OmarMusic.com. Visit the record label RealMusic.com and find Echoes Of Love at Real Music online store page for Omar Akram. To view the complete list of award-winning artists and their albums in 81 Best Album Categories visit Grammy.com.

Cover art and photo are courtesy realmusic.com & Big Stock Photo – AnmFoto.

Grammy CD 2013Exclusive Song Compilation – Official 2013 GRAMMY® Nominees Compilation Album with 22 songs by 22 of today’s top artists.

Today on January 22, 2013 The Recording Academy released the GRAMMY® Nominees CD Album for 2013. This special vocal and instrumental release like previous year Nominees Song CDs is an exclusive compilation album by the overall number of songs by many of today’s most popular artists.

The 22 songs by contemporary artists are among the top tier of popular artists who are candidates in the 55th Annual GRAMMY® Awards scheduled for February 10, 2013 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.

For fans of vocal and instrumental songs in a variety of popular music genres it’s a chance to own an exclusive song collection of music made popular by celebrity vocal artists, many of which have made Billboard and top of the radio charts.

The GRAMMY® Nominees Song CD for 2013 shines by the diverse multiplicity of the artists and vocalists involved, all of which are contenders in this year’s Award Ceremony including Record Of The Year, Album Of The Year, Song Of The Year, Best New Artist, and additional categories in the world’s most prestigious award.

Grammy 2013This exclusive album is made available in the formats of CD or album download at Amazon and iTunes. Several customer album reviews at Amazon gave this release the highest rating. After sampling the 22 songs for myself it’s easy to see why.

The 22 artists on the GRAMMY® Nominees album for 2013 are: The Black Keys, Kelly Clarkson, Taylor Swift, Gotye, Katy Perry, Fun, Florence & The Machine, Pink, Maroon 5, Carly Rae Jepsen, Miguel, Ed Sheeran, Hunter Hayes, The Lumineers, Alabama Shakes, Mumford & Sons, Frank Ocean, Bruce Springsteen, Jack White, Muse, Coldplay, and Adele.

The 22 songs on the compilation album are: Lonely Boy, Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You), We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together, Somebody That I Used to Know (feat. Kimbra), Wide Awake, We Are Young, Shake It Out, Try, Payphone (Edited Version featuring Wiz Khalifa), Call Me Maybe, Adorn, The A Team, Wanted, Ho Hey, Hold On, I Will Wait, Pyramids, We Take Care Of Our Own, Freedom At 21, Madness, Charlie Brown, Set Fire To The Rain and (Live At The Royal Albert Hall).

A portion of the proceeds benefit two charitable organizations founded by The Recording Academy. Plus there are two chances to enter and win a trip to the Award Ceremonies in 2013 and 2014. Find information and sample or purchase at Amazon or iTunes by visiting 2013GrammyAlbum.com. Big Stock Photo – AnmFoto.

The 55th GRAMMY® Award Nominations for the entire 81 music categories, including the Best Score Soundtrack For Visual Media category, were announced during a televised live broadcast presentation and entertainment show on December 5, 2012 in Nashville, Tennessee.

The opening presentation by The Recording Academy® shown live on the CBS Television Network began the official countdown to the 55th GRAMMY® Awards Ceremony for 2013. The program for the evening show in Nashville publicized as “The GRAMMY Nomination Concert Live!! – Countdown To Music’s Biggest Night included past winners and nominees who gave a series of live entertainment performances.

The 55th GRAMMY® Awards Ceremony specified at Grammy.com lists the date of February 10, 2013, when they will reveal the award-winning artists in 81 Best Album Award categories. During the awards presentation scheduled for February 10, 2013, the CBS Television Network will again broadcast the official ceremony live at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California at 8:00 p.m. – 11:30 p.m. ET/PT.

I have interviewed or written album reviews for a number of GRAMMY® Award/Nominated artists over the years. If you are new to this music blogspot there is more information about artists in this year and past years award competition in the Soundtrack, Americana, Instrumental, New Age, and World music genre categories.

The 6 Nominees for Best Score Soundtrack For Visual Media (#57) are shown alphabetically. You may sample or purchase Nominated albums by direct links to each album at Amazon.com. Read more music news at Grammy.com and the complete category list of 81 Nominees at Grammy.com. Photos are courtesy each artist & Big Stock Photo – HelleM.

The 55th GRAMMY® Nominees – Best Score Soundtrack For Visual Media:

1. John Williams composer – The Adventures Of Tintin – The Secret Of The Unicorn Soundtrack.

2. Ludovic Bource composer – The Artist Soundtrack.

3. Hans Zimmer composer – The Dark Knight Rises Soundtrack.

4. Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross composers – The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo Soundtrack.

5. Howard Shore composer – Hugo Soundtrack.

6. Austin Wintory composer –  Journey: Official Game Soundtrack.

The 55th GRAMMY® Award Nominations for the entire 81 music categories, including the World Music genre category, were announced several days ago during a live television broadcast and entertainment presentation on December 5, 2012 in Nashville, Tennessee.

The opening presentation by The Recording Academy®, presented live on the CBS Television Network, began the official countdown to the 55th GRAMMY® Awards Ceremony for 2013. The program for the evening show in Nashville publicized as “The GRAMMY Nomination Concert Live!! – Countdown To Music’s Biggest Night included past winners and nominees who gave a series of live entertainment performances.

The 55th GRAMMY® Awards Ceremony specified at Grammy.com lists the date of February 10, 2013, when they will reveal the award-winning artists in 81 Best Album Award categories. During the music awards presentation scheduled for February 10, 2013, the CBS Television Network will broadcast the official ceremony live at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California at 8:00 p.m. – 11:30 p.m. ET/PT.

I have interviewed or written album reviews for a number of GRAMMY® Award/Nominated artists over the years. If you are new to this music blogspot there is more information to read about artists in this year and past years award competition in the New Age, Instrumental, Americana, Soundtrack, and World music genre categories.

The 5 Nominees in the World Music category (#51) are shown alphabetically. You may sample or purchase the Nominated albums for every artist by direct links to each album at Amazon.com. Read more music news at Grammy.com and the complete category list of 81 Nominees at Grammy.com. Photos are courtesy each artist & Big Stock Photo – HelleM.

The 55th GRAMMY® Nominees – World Music Album Category are:

1. Folila by Amadou & Mariam. Sample or purchase Folila at Amazon.com.

2. On A Gentle Island Breeze by Daniel Ho. Sample or purchase On a Gentle Island Breeze at Amazon.com.

3. Jabulani by Hugh Masekela. Sample or purchase Jabulani at Amazon.com.

4. Traveller by Anoushka Shankar. Sample or purchase Traveller at Amazon.com.

5. The Living Room Sessions Part 1 by Ravi Shankar. Find The Living Room Sessions at Amazon.com.

The 55th GRAMMY® Award Nominations for the entire 81 music categories, including the New Age Music genre category, were announced hours ago during a television broadcast presentation and live entertainment event on December 5, 2012 in Nashville, Tennessee.

The opening presentation by The Recording Academy®, presented live on the CBS Television Network, began the official countdown to the 55th GRAMMY® Awards Ceremony for 2013. The program for the evening show in Nashville publicized as “The GRAMMY Nomination Concert Live!! – Countdown To Music’s Biggest Night included past winners and nominees who gave a series of dazzling entertainment performances.

The 55th GRAMMY® Awards Ceremony specified at Grammy.com lists the date of February 10, 2013, when they will reveal the award-winning artists in 81 Best Album Award categories. During the upcoming awards presentation on February 10, 2013, the CBS Television Network will once more broadcast the official ceremony live at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California at 8:00 p.m. – 11:30 p.m. ET/PT.

I have interviewed or written album reviews for a number of GRAMMY® Award/Nominated artists over the years so visitors new to this music blogspot can read information about artists in this year and past years award competition in the New Age, Instrumental, Americana, Soundtrack, and World music genre categories.

The 6 Nominees in the new age music category (#30) are shown alphabetically. I have sampled all 6 albums and can say they are all great releases worthy of the world’s most prestigious award. You may sample or purchase each Artist’s Nominated album by direct links to each album at Amazon.com. Read more music news at Grammy.com and the complete category list of 81 Nominees at Grammy.com. Photos are courtesy each artist & Big Stock Photo – HelleM.

The 55th GRAMMY® Nominees – New Age Album Category are:

1. Echoes Of Love by Omar Akram. Sample or purchase Echoes Of Love at Amazon.com.

2. Live Ananda by Krishna Das. Sample or purchase Live Ananda at Amazon.com.

3. Bindu by Michael Brant DeMaria. Sample or purchase Bindu at Amazon.com.

4. Deep Alpha by Steven Halpern. Sample or purchase Deep Alpha at Amazon.com.

5. Light Body by Peter Kater. Sample or purchase Light Body at Amazon.com.

6. Troubadours On The Rhine by Loreena McKennitt. Troubadours On The Rhine at Amazon.com.

55th GRAMMY® Awards – Program Schedule and Event Information for the 55th GRAMMY® Awards & Nomination Shows Honoring the Best Artists & Best Albums in 2013.

News and schedule information for the 55th GRAMMYS® has been announced giving the date, time and location for the most prestigious music awards honoring the best artists and best albums in 2013.

Complete details for the 55th Music Awards Ceremony specified at the Grammy.com website announce the upcoming date as February 10, 2013, held at the previous location as last year’s ceremony, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.

The CBS Television Network will broadcast the live event in 2013 at 8:00 p.m. – 11:30 p.m. ET/PT. Prior to the Live Awards Ceremony, select GRAMMY® Nominees will be announced in another live concert event on December 5, 2012 in Nashville Tennessee.

The ceremony this year is publicized as “The GRAMMY Nomination Concert Live!! – Countdown To Music’s Biggest Night.” The CBS Television Network will air the live televised show featuring music performances by past winners and nominees on December 5, 2012 at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT and 9:00 p.m. CT.

The Annual GRAMMY® Awards is ranked in viewership popularity as one of the highest rated television special programs. Last year’s televised live 54th Annual Awards program reported 39.9 million viewers worldwide. This year’s primetime live awards presentation is expected to be another record breaking year for TV viewership.

Artists within the New Age, Instrumental, Americana, World, and every other music genre have been submitting their music and ballot information pertaining to their newest release in 2012 in hopes they too will be nominated and eventually selected for a best album award during the televised awards presentation ceremony.

Like previous years I have written articles or interviewed GRAMMY® Award/Nominated artists, so visitors new to this music blog can read more about artists in this year’s and past years award competition in the New Age, Instrumental, Americana, and World music genres.

Visit Grammy.com for complete news, information updates and read the 55th Grammy Awards 2013 page for more details. Big Stock Photos – Pcummings & Eskay Lim.

Interview in 2012 with GRAMMY Award-Winning Guitarist, and Cheshire Studios Record Producer Eric Tingstad.

Eric Tingstad is a distinguished artist and record producer who over the course of his lengthy career has recorded many fine albums in a variety of genres.

Famous for his expertise as a songwriting guitarist in a variety of genres, the diverse range of  influences include Americana, alternative country, ambient, blues, jazz, rock and new age music. Eric Tingstad’s new release Badlands is a vibrant follow-up to his GRAMMY® Nominated album Southwest.

New Age Music World site host John P. Olsen had an opportunity to interview New Age GRAMMY® Award recipient Eric Tingstad in October of 2012. This interview publication with a variety of topics follows the release of his new 2012 album titled Badlands. Today we are pleased to present their conversation to his fans and to all international site visitors.

John P. Olsen: I would like to thank you for accepting my invitation for this interview Eric. In addition to being a distinguished GRAMMY® Award-winning artist and guitarist, you are also a record producer, so I hope to cover many aspects of your life and career in music during our interview today.

Let me begin by saying your newest Americana album titled Badlands is a wonderfully unique release Eric! I found Badlands is miles apart in theme and style from the majority of new age, world and instrumental albums I have reviewed this year. Writing a Badlands review was a nice change of pace for me. I found it to be a beautifully picturesque album Eric.

Eric Tingstad: Thank you very much. I have to say that when Badlands was all done, I was very happy to hear how relaxed all the pieces were feeling. Even though there are more teeth and beef than on previously hailed “calming” recordings of mine, Badlands just has this laid back pocket and groove that I was very pleased to hear.

It’s like some really big guy giving you a massage or a powerful engine that’s just idling. A lot of headroom. And whereas Southwest was a bit more gentle, tender and soothing and that all is bliss in the desert, Badlands intentionally has more grit and attitude. Not so much about the spiritual ambiance of the Southwest, but more of the human element and how it resonates with the harshness of the environment.

John: Your new 2012 Americana album Badlands honors the traditions of American roots music and Western culture, and is unique from many previous albums like Acoustic Elegance: Ultimate Collection, Acoustic Garden, Paradise & American Acoustic. How did the idea or inspiration for Badlands originate?

Eric Tingstad: Badlands is the follow up CD to my 2007 release, Southwest and continues my adventures of combining ambient elements and vibe with American roots music. My early musical influences were what I heard on the TV as soundtracks for movies and shows. I watched a lot of western adventures and the Beverly Hillbillies, which was just rich in the roots music of Flatt and Scruggs.

Also one of my earliest mentors was a lap steel player and I was fascinated with that sound that he got by using a table knife! Growing up I had a real cross cultural group of friends and I was fortunate to have some Elders in my life as a child that taught me “the ways.” They had an effect on my beliefs and subsequent interests in Native American culture. Also on Badlands there is my crunchy telecaster underpinnings that contributes an edgy quality and brings me out of my rock n roll closet a bit. I would also have to say that the music of Angelo Badalamenti from Twin Peaks or Ennio Morricone resonates with me. It’s music that creates a sense of place.

John: Badlands features a number of great artist including Nancy Rumbel, Cindy Cashdollar, Byron Metcalf and other fine contributing instrumental artists. Would you like to tell us about some of the artists who perform on Badlands?

Eric Tingstad: On Badlands I intentionally set out to feature more Western elements and a bit less Native American. And so I pulled back on the native flutes and featured more of the dobro, (both slide and fingerstyle), which conjures up that American roots element and the pedal steel and lap steel that bring out the western sound. I also leaned pretty heavily on the fiddle which was played by Andrew Joslyn.

The one major component that is the foundation for both Southwest and Badlands is all that great shamanic hand drumming was done by Byron Metcalf. The frame drumming not only ties it all together, but brings that spirit of western landscape and depth of the Native American culture to the recording. I use these instruments because I love the way they sound. And the way they were played.

I did the fingerstyle playing on the dobro but Cindy Cashdollar did all the cool dobro slide work along with lap steel. I did a bit of the pedal steel but all the amazing stuff was done by Terry Lauber. Ben Smith from Heart supplied all the drum kit efforts. There is a large cast of players involved with Badlands. Counting the engineers, I think there were about a dozen.

John: I found Bandlands very picturesque, with ingrained cinematic qualities. Would you say the same, and do you knowingly make an effort to compose music with incorporated cinematic qualities?

Eric Tingstad: Thank you, but I do not set out to make music with cinematic qualities. What I do, is set out to make music that creates a sense of place. I suppose if I makes you see pictures in your head I have achieved that … partially. But, I also want you to see and feel the dryness, the warmth and smell the smells of my locations and themes. Maybe even make you thirsty or hungry.

John: Currently you also provide guitar instruction and offer consultation in the music business.  Could you provide some specifics on the services you offer to artists wanting to improve their chances at succeeding in the music business, or artists who want to improve their individual performance goals?

Eric Tingstad: There are many misconceptions about how the music industry works. What I try to do is help with clearing those up and set a realistic course for each individual. It’s helping that I love to do and each client has been different with different needs and expectations. There are so many ways to be involved in the music industry these days and understanding the options is how I can add value to someone’s efforts.

John: Pedal steel guitar is prominently featured on Badlands, but is primarily thought of as a country music instrument. Is there a challenge with transition into your Americana style of music?

Eric Tingstad: I did not find that it was all that difficult. I luv country and roots music and the pedal steel is a big part of why I luv that music. But mostly I luv the steel for it’s beautiful sound. It has such a pure, full and magical tone. It also has the quality of being able to create long legato phrasing, which is something I am always hearing in head. All kinds of music are being played on the Pedal Steel these days, especially rock. And then there is the whole Sacred Steel style of the Campbell Brothers and Robert Randolf.

John: What made you decide to begin performing on a pedal steel guitar, and is the learning curve, or degree of difficulty, far apart from a traditional acoustic or electric guitar?

Eric Tingstad: I was actually recording and producing other players on the steel with my music before I decided to try my own hand at it. I find the pedal steel to be pretty easy to play and some of my favorite styling for it are the simple passages that demonstrate the warm tone of the instrument. The learning curve was not too bad. I am sure that it helped that I had a pretty good grip on guitar and music in general.

John: I read you perform in the Segovia tradition, but is this style is implemented on a steel strung classical guitar. Could you tell us about some of the finer points regarding this specific performance style?

Eric Tingstad: I was playing for about 10 years as a youngster before I become involved with studying the classic guitar. I was interested in developing a very fluent fingerstyle both for the right and left hand. I think my classical studies were about the smartest thing I ever did for my career. Apart from just learning the proper physical technique I learned a lot about making the guitar sing with a strong sense of phrasing. I also put a lot of stock in the tone I try and generate.

John: In addition to composing, recording and producing your own music, you are an established record producer who assists other artists including Tingstad and Rumbel, Narayan & Janet, The Halyards, The Road Trip Relief Squad and Louis Landon. Would you like to tell us about your role as a record producer, and provide some details about your music recording and production services at Cheshire Studios?

Eric Tingstad: I like to think of myself as sort of old school when it comes to production. I don’t try to commit the artist to “my sound” but act as a one member audience that gives feedback from that point of view. It’s valuable to remind the artist of the often simple and “taken for granted” things they do that resonates with the listener. I always try to focus on what is best for the song and what will support the lead vocal or instrument line. The goal is to help flush out the intent of the project and keep the artist focused on that original intent. Not always easy to do.

John: You have enjoyed a remarkable music career for over 35 years with many successes along the way Eric. What do you find most rewarding first, as a professional record producer, and secondly as a respected musician?

Eric Tingstad: I don’t really think of my part in this wonderful world of music in terms of rewards and respect. I just luv how the music I like makes me feel. I like to listen to music as much as I do to play it and if I can make others feel like I do, then that is all the more better. Helping others realize their musical vision with my production skills is a thrill though and brings me a lot of personal satisfaction. There are so many levels and reasons to enjoy music and I am fascinated by what other players have to offer.

John: I like to report on current music news when I can, so I would like to ask if you have any news announcements or information to pass along about new album projects or special events you plan to make public soon?

Eric Tingstad: I will be continuing in this Instrumental Americana style I have got going now for a couple more projects at least. I will be doing one that is a bit sparser on the production and one that actually will have more vocals. I do lots of songwriting as well with others that needs to be released at some point.

John: Thank you again for allowing me host your most current interview Eric. It’s an honor to meet you, and I wish you continued success. It has been a privilege to provide today’s news coverage about you and your newest release Badlands. It’s a great album and I look forward to your next new release.

Visit the main pages at EricTingstad.com. Purchase or sample albums and songs at Eric Tingstad’s music store or find the best songs and albums by Eric Tingstad at iTunes. Photos are courtesy erictingstad.com & cheshire-studios.com.

Hans Zimmer: Top Movie Soundtrack Composer.

When naming the best movie soundtrack composers, Hans Zimmer is one of the top movie soundtrack composers I and millions of people worldwide would think of right away. With an endless list of award-winning movies there are a number of top motion picture composers who have thrilled moviegoers with film scores considered their best movie soundtracks.

Hans Zimmer can claim an illustrious career having won numerous awards including an Academy Award, 2 Golden Globe Awards, 4 GRAMMY® Awards, a Classical BRIT Award and World Soundtrack Award.

Along with some of the best movie soundtracks by Hans Zimmer, top cinematic recording artists Danny Elfman, James Horner, James Newton Howard, Thomas Newman, Howard Shore, and John Williams, have kept moviegoers on the edge of their seats, including soundtrack recordings by Klaus Badelt, Ennio Morricone, Brad Fiedel and Philip Glass.

Even with the top recording artists listed above this is far from a complete list of who’s who in today’s movie recording industry. Many people would debate the fact there are many great composers who should be included, and I couldn’t agree more.

Hans Zimmer is a celebrated composer nearly everyone would agree upon. Famous worldwide for award-winning movie soundtrack scores in the electronic and orchestral category the song video is a selection of official scores from the movie soundtracks Inception, Modern Warfare, Madagascar, The Last Samurai, Pearl Harbor, Pirates of the Caribbean and The Da Vinci Code.

Songs by Hans Zimmer are Time, Mombasa, Safeguard, Code of Conduct, Zoosters Breakout, Spectres in Fog, A Way of Life, Tennessee, Brothers, Jack Sparrow & Chevaliers De Sangreal. The Best of Hans Zimmer is a 2 disc collection available at Amazon.

Coming soon is a new official site at HansZimmer.com. Until then you may visit a semi-official site at Hans-Zimmer.com.

Mickey Hart Interview in 2012 – New Youtube Video Interview with Grateful Dead Rock and Roll Hall of Fame drummer.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame drummer Mickey Hart has released a new interview at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum in Cleveland, Ohio. Mickey Hart made this appearance at the museum for a performance and to open a new exhibit named Grateful Dead: The Long, Strange Trip.

It’s a short interview at a little over one minute in length, but the new 2012 YouTube video interview with Mickey Hart does answer the question about his earliest experiences of watching the group Grateful Dead perform prior to joining, and events leading up to founding drummer Bill Kreutzmann asking Mickey Hart to jam with the band during a practice session.

Its history from this point on knowing after his long career with the group, Mickey Hart has carried on the tradition of the Grateful Dead, and with his own album recordings and leadership of music group the Mickey Hart Band. The band’s newest release is named Mysterium Tremendum.

I was asked to interview Mickey Hart early this year, but negotiations with the PR firm handling my interview simply couldn’t make it happen. I spent a lot of time on an in-depth interview with many personalized questions for Mickey, so let’s see if there is one more chance to bring worldwide visitors an exclusive 2012 Mickey Hart interview publication like no other. Find Mickey Hart Band tour information and album review of Mysterium Tremendum, in my section for Mickey Hart Band.

Pre-release Review: Let Mother Earth Speak by Dennis Banks & Kitaro. New spoken word album with song single included entitled Peace, available in audio CD and digital downloads.

Distinguished Native American activist Dennis Banks has teamed up with international new age superstar and GRAMMY® Award-winning Kitaro for his new album titled Let Mother Earth Speak.

This unity of Dennis Banks, who provides spoken word narrative, and Kitaro who accompanies Dennis with world-class instrumentals, is a world apart culturally speaking from the music customarily heard in modern day society.

Let Mother Earth Speak is an exclusive new release like no other in the genres of spoken word, along with traditional Native American music. Introducing 9 songs total on the album and the life history of Dennis Banks, an Anishinabe from the land of the Ojibwa people, is delivered by spoken word and traditional Native American Indian songs.

Kitaro’s instrumentals of keyboards, Native Indian Flute, percussion, and ethnic woodwinds transcend the message of peace and real life stories with a sense of inspiring realism. Artists Tomoko Koshikawa and Kirilola sing background vocals.

There is a sense of authenticity in the voice of Dennis Banks given the down to earth clarity in which he uses spoken word to encourage a more peaceful existence, while recalling past memories and wisdom learned from the experience.

Sharing oneness with the earth in which they live day to day, Dennis Banks and Kitaro each embolden the message of international peace in their own lives as individuals. Together as a team, their encouraging message speaks of peace and harmony with new-found optimism, making the elusive goal of world peace seem less abstract and more like a compellingly real concept within arm’s reach.

Domo Music Group is presenting this arrangement by Dennis Banks and Kitaro. This album will be interesting to watch since this project will be submitted for GRAMMY® consideration in the Spoken Word category in 2012 – 2013.

Receiving nomination or a GRAMMY® Award for Best Spoken Word Album will be a challenge however since past winners include 2012 Winner Betty White, plus former and current U.S. Presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.

This new album composed and arranged by Dennis Banks and Kitaro, is timed to be officially released on September 11, 2012. You may sample or purchase this album right now with 18 page cover booklet containing photos and song lyrics at Domo Music Group and iTunes.

Let Mother Earth Speak has 9 songs titled as follows: Thank You Great Spirit, Song Of Responsibilities, The Missionary Song, A Good Day To Die, Don’t Cry, End Of The Day, She Don’t Love Me Anymore, Longest Walk 2 and Peace.

Visit DennisBanks.org to learn more, and to sample or purchase visit the Domo Music Group pages for Dennis Banks and the Domo Music Group pages for Kitaro. Cover artwork courtesy dennisbanks.com & kitaromusic.com.

New Music Review: Americana Album Badlands by Award-winning Guitarist, and Cheshire Studios Record Producer Eric Tingstad.

GRAMMY® Award-winning recording artist and producer Eric Tingstad, renowned for his expertise as a songwriting guitarist in a variety of genres, strides into new territories on a vibrant follow-up to his GRAMMY® nominated album Southwest.

Eric Tingstad’s newest release Badlands is Americana album said to honor the traditions of American roots and Western culture. With that byline description I couldn’t agree more. I have to admit the 12 songs on Badlands is not what I first expected, but on the other hand, I knew Eric Tingstad is an established, well-known artist who has produced many fine albums in a variety of genres. Tingstad’s diverse range of music influences include Americana, alternative country, ambient, blues, jazz, rock and of course, new age music.

With this far ranging diversity of influences, and Eric Tingstad’s reputation as an artist led to the prospect of something grand. It didn’t take long before I found the direction he would choose, and distance he was prepared to travel on Badlands. Akin to his Southwest album, Badlands is a moving example of Americana music at its finest, beautiful in every vivid detail from start to finish.

One characteristic I heard right away was the cinematic latitude Badlands conveys to the listener. It’s an attribute where colorful illustrations paint a picture of the desert Southwest with vibrant transparency. It’s a moving portraiture of a bygone era, yet before you lay a stylish, modern day representation of contemporary Americana music. Most songs are ingrained with a casual and upbeat atmosphere, while several songs are shaded with light country and Native American influences.

Badlands is unique to most instrumental albums by the use of lap steel and pedal steel guitar implemented in unison with a variety of traditional instruments, performed by a group of talented artists. Among the group is co-artist and award-winning artist Nancy Rumbel, who has her own solo career and equally starring role with Eric as the GRAMMY® Award-winning duo Tingstad and Rumbel.

On Badlands you will discover a pronounced Southwestern style of Americana music, made more apparent by the pedal steel guitars and pairing of more traditional instrumentals of English horn, bass guitar, organ, violin and percussion. It can be said Eric Tingstad approached a fork in the road, and had a choice to make when producing Badlands. By all accounts taking a road less traveled by others has clearly turned out to be a winning choice.

Musicians performing on Badlands include Cindy Cashdollar (dobro, steel and lap steel guitars), Ben Smith (drums), Byron Metcalf (frame, bass and buffalo drums, clay pots, djembe and udu), Garey Shelton (bass), Terry Lauber (pedal steel guitar), Andrew Joslyn (violin), Eric Robert (organ), Nancy Rumbel (English horn, oboe and ocarina), Petra Stahl (voice), Narayan Baltzo (trumpet).

Visit the homepage of EricTingstad.com and sample or purchase Badlands at his music store or find his albums at major online retail stores including Amazon.com, CDBaby and iTunes. Photos are courtesy Frank Blau and erictingstad.com.

Badlands Song Sample: New Americana Album by Eric Tingstad.

Eric Tingstad is a GRAMMY® Award-winning guitarist and record producer with a new Americana album for 2012. Famous for his aptitude as a songwriting guitarist, Eric Tingstad is a record producer and artist capable of producing songs in a variety of genres like ambient, blues, country, folk, rock and new age music.

Badlands is Eric Tingstads new Americana album said to honor the traditions of American roots, music and Western culture. This is a characterization in close relation to the definition given by the Americana Music Association (AMA). Bandlands is a vibrant new follow-up to his nominated album titled Southwest.

Eric Tingstad’s new album is a deep rooted Southwestern style of Americana music, made more apparent by the pedal steel guitars union with more traditional instrumentals of English horn, bass guitar, organ, violin and percussion. There are a number of top recording artists joining Eric on his brand new album for 2012.

I have an interview with Eric Tingstad and album review of his Americana album soon. Here is an official song sample from Badlands called Jornado. Badlands is available as a CD album or buy individual mp3 downloads at EricTingstad.com.

The professional music production services of William Ackerman, a Grammy® Award-winning record producer. Today Will Ackerman continues the legacy of his legendary Windham Hill Records at Imaginary Road Studios in the mountains of Vermont.

Will Ackerman is the founder of Windham Hill Records, a Grammy® Award-winner, and the recipient of more than 20 Platinum and Gold records in the United States and overseas.

Will’s productions at Windham Hill Records defined a new genre of music. The seminal work of George Winston, Michael Hedges and Liz Story among many others established Will as one of the preeminent producers of acoustic and instrumental music recordings in the world.

Now with Imaginary Road Studios, the engineering of Tom Eaton, a magnificent Steinway piano and a collection of some of the finest microphones and preamps anywhere on earth, Will is doing the best work of his life.

In the last 4 years alone, Will has produced 10 records that have achieved the #1 position on the NAR/Zone Music Reporter Charts. Seven of the ten highest rated albums ever reported by NAR/Zone Music Reporter, including the #1 and #2 positions, are Will Ackerman productions.

Imaginary Road Studios is available either for musicians who wish to work with Will as producer or for musicians who are simply looking for the finest studio in which to create.

We would be honored to help you make the record you dream of a reality. Visit our website or call us so we can chat about your project.

Visit: WilliamAckerman.com & ImaginaryRoadStudios.com. Contact: will@williamackerman.com & Office 207.929.5777.

The best musicians in the world & the ability to capture it all . . .

  • “Working with Will Ackerman at Imaginary Road Studios was one of the most creatively transforming experiences of my life. There is no better producer than Will Ackerman, and no better studio and team than the one at Imaginary Road to make your musical dreams a reality.” Jeff Oster (two times ZMR Record of the Year award winner)
  • “Imaginary Road Studios is even more special than the name implies. Expert professionals, all nice folks, gather there to conspire in the gentle business of creating good, meaningful music – all in an incomparable setting in the New England Mountains. No wonder everyone loves working there – for me it’s one of my all-time favorites.” Tony Levin (John Lennon, Peter Gabriel, Paul Simon, James Taylor, King Crimson)
  • “This is a place where music and talent is fostered and nurtured and comes to life as it should, as you had always hoped, dreamed, and imagined.” Fiona Joy Hawkins (7 times ZMR Award Winner)
  • “My experiences at Imaginary Road Studios have been a delight. Professional, inspirational and comfortable beyond belief. Simply a pleasure.” Steve Holley (Elton John, Paul McCartney)
  • “There has been no single greater influence upon me than Will Ackerman. He is a staggering example of a true musical voice and visionary unparalleled in his abilities. Working with him has been one of the most tremendous honors of my life.” Patrick Gorman
  • “A state-of-the-art environment where musical dreams and visions effortlessly become reality.” Eugene Freisen (Paul Winter Consort, Multiple Grammy® Award winner)
  • “As producer of my last four projects, Will Ackerman’s influence elevated my composing and performance to new heights. I just “happened” to write the best music of my career while working with Will.” Stanton Lanier
  • “I’m so proud to be part of the art that is created and produced at Imaginary Road; a pure, peaceful and spiritual environment.” Jeff Haynes (Pat Metheny, Grammy® Award winner)
  • “Producing your album at Imaginary Road will become one of the greatest experiences of your life. The idyllic setting of Imaginary Road will capture your heart and call the music from your very soul like you’ve never seen before. There is simply no better place on earth more technically and artistically suited to produce your album than Imaginary Road.” Peter Jennison
  • “It’s really about the vibe up there, the magic that happens at Imaginary Road, the magic I’ve experienced and the exquisite music that they create.” T Bone Wolk (Hall and Oates, Shawn Colvin, Billy Joel, Elvis Costello)
Producer Will Ackerman – 2012

New Age Music World is pleased to present an in-depth, 2012 interview with GRAMMY® Award-winning guitarist, producer, and Windham Hill Records founder Will Ackerman.

John P. Olsen: Thank you for accepting my invitation for this interview Will. It’s funny since I feel like I already know you in a way since I have written, and plan to write, reviews for artists who have their newest album produced by you at your Imaginary Road Studio in Vermont. It’s a privilege to finally meet you Will.

Will Ackerman: Hi John, I’ve been admiring what you’ve been doing online for some time and am delighted to have a chance to talk with you.

John: Many of these artists have received award recognition with albums that you produced. Many are now top ranked artists. To what degree does a producer ultimately affect the success of a music recording would you say?

Will Ackerman: Perhaps this is a crafty test of my humility? I hope I pass. Perhaps this is a question better asked of the musicians I’ve worked with. They’re better able to tell you how, specifically, I influenced their work. The process of producing is not at all formulaic for me; each project and human being has their own specific needs and my job is, as much as anything, to be conscious of what their needs are. How active I am in shaping a project is also a very individual matter.

In some cases I am simply helping to create a standard of excellence for the players to achieve in their recordings and in other instances I’m getting into the arranging of the work itself and being very active in envisioning how the material might be dramatically affected by additional production. It really is all over the place and I guess I’d say that my proudest achievement is to figure out where I can best be of help and respond to the person I’m working with rather than imposing the same set of Ackerman rules upon everyone.

John: Some may have a limited knowledge of a record or music producer’s role, and how a producer can greatly influence an artist’s instrumental music composition. Would you provide some details specific to your production services?

Will Ackerman: Again, the role of producer is simply all over the place. Looking back to Windham Hill days, I think of how my utterly subjective and spontaneous decision to edit George Winston’s Colors/Dance into the epic ten minute piece we know as opposed to the three minute piece it was intended to be is an example of how my instincts manifested themselves.

Likewise the decision engineer Steve Miller and I made on the dramatic guitar sound for Michael Hedges’ Ariel Boundaries was a milestone. Michael was initially outraged with the liberties we’d taken with what he heard as a simpler acoustic piece. Steve had provided an opportunity and I jumped at it. Michael needed to take a walk for about an hour before coming back to the board to listen, still somewhat incredulous that both Steve and I loved the sound.

I think this story tells a lot about how I work. It’s very subjective, intuitive and flexible. It’s a series of almost binary questions… yes and no… go there or don’t go there? I simply have to trust my instincts and earn the artists trust in those instincts as well. However much success I’ve had and can point to, each new artist I need work with needs to learn that they can trust me. That trust means more to me than anything. I take it very seriously.

John: I have more questions related to your present day role as a producer, but would you first like to tell us how your career began and how your business has progressed over the years?

Will Ackerman: I recorded my first album in 1975. An engineer named Scott Saxon offered to allow me to record free of charge if he was listed as producer and received a royalty. Not having a lot of dough in those days, I easily agreed. Scott then produced my second record, It Takes a Year as well. In watching Scott I learned a lot and at some point decided that I knew enough about recording and had a familiarity with my own tastes sufficient to allow me to trust in my abilities to call myself a producer.

In terms of how my endeavors have changed over the years, it’s easy to point to GRAMMY® nominations and awards, platinum and gold records, millions of records sold and all that. I’m proud of that of course, but I can say with utter sincerity that what I am proudest of is that I’m better at what I do than ever because this is a process of learning about people, learning about yourself and trying to find what’s unique in that combination with every single human being you engage with.

John: In 1976 you founded, and made famous, Windham Hill Records label. After selling Windham Hill Records you chose the name West River Records for your new release The Gathering. Is West River Records modeled in a similar design as Windham Hill Records?

Will Ackerman: I had begun recording in 1975 with my debut guitar album. I had managed to put together a network of 6 independent distributors and was getting a surprising amount of radio airplay out of that recording when those distributors started asking “what’s going to be next of your label.” I didn’t even know I had a label (the Windham Hill name only came into being in 1976 with the awareness that I could release more records into this pipeline) and was stunned to learn that they would distribute anything I brought out. That’s now naive I was.

Windham Hill became huge. We were doing 30 – 40 million dollars in business annually by 1992 when I sold Windham to BMG in May of that year. I then had a three year non-complete clause and delved into spoken word recordings with a company named Gang of Seven. I absolutely loved that label, but I didn’t have the same success with it that I’d enjoyed with Windham Hill Records.

Virtually on the day that my non-compete with BMG ended in May of 1995 I created Imaginary Road Records with PolyGram, signing a contract with Chris Roberts who had been a friend for many years. Chris Roberts remembers me driving up to the record store he managed in Portland, Oregon (Everybody’s Records) in my Volkswagen bus asking if he’d take 5 copies of my first recording on consignment. Dawn Atkinson, who had been the second most prolific producer for Windham Hill Records was my partner in this.

West River Records is actually a brand new name, created for the release of The Gathering. Imaginary Road Records would have been the ideal name, but because that name is owned by Universal Records via the sale of PolyGram to Universal (and there are still titles in print on that label) we needed to look into another name. My Imaginary Road Studios looks over the West River Valley in Windham County, Vermont and I liked that sound of that.

John: In addition to your role as producer, you are a twice nominated, GRAMMY® Award-winning guitarist. What were some of the turning points in your career, and how did these events affect your career as a producer going forward?

Will Ackerman: The whole thing was a Tiger by the Tail kind of experience. Windham Hill Records grew routinely at 600% a year, sometimes going into even greater growth. There were so many milestones, whether laying Carnegie Hall, playing Red Rocks and the Hollywood Bowl. Touring Europe and playing at the Montreux Jazz Festival. Touring Japan and playing at the Imperial Palace. Our first Gold Record, our first Platinum Record. The list is long and is more a feeling to me than a set of tangible events. It was impossible to hold on to anything, as you reached for it, it was gone because we were moving forward so quickly.

John: In Search Of The Turtles Navel is credited as one of the earliest, founding recordings in the new age genre. What characteristic qualities do you feel define the compositions we recognize today as new age music?

Will Ackerman: I’ve never been a proponent of the term “New Age” to be honest. Going into the reasons for that would be didactic at best. I’d rather talk about what I know, which is Windham Hill. Windham Hill, at least initially, was about acoustic instrumentation. It was about melody and heart.

I’ve learned to take pride in the fact that the music can be listened to enjoyably while washing lettuce in the afternoon (as a woman from Idaho once described to me in a letter) or being the music someone who is soon to leave this earth chooses to listen to in their last hours. Both are honors paid to the musician who provides that pleasure or solace. To me, that is reason enough for being as a person and for Windham Hill Records to have represented a genre unto itself.

John: I read that none of your guitar recordings use standard guitar tuning, which permits an unconventional acoustic sound. Are there any advantages to playing guitar using non-standardized tuning?

Will Ackerman: I don’t know that there are any particular advantages. Most people would probably say that it’s more bother than it’s worth. I happen to like the sound of open tunings and, after years of contemplating the reasons for my utterly obsessive adherence to constantly changing tunings I’ve finally come to an understanding of my process. I’m playing a trick on myself. By creating a new tuning I am removing intellect completely from the process of “composing.” I simply don’t know the landscape I’m in and so have nothing but emotion to guide me.

I’m lost, but in a beautiful, emotionally connected way. I inevitably find a bit of an alpha state and wander about in that landscape until I find various paths which I employ intellect to connect later. So the music is about emotion, not thought. It’s about heart, not mind.

John: New age music is like any music genre by progressing over the years. What do feel makes a good new age or instrumental recording?

Will Ackerman: I listen to all sorts of music. I honestly can’t remember who said it, but I’ve always loved the quote “There are only two kinds of music; good music and bad music.” Obviously I’m not going to pretend to be the arbiter of those definitions tangibly, but I know what I like. I know what I’m looking for as a producer and in these two elements I think this is as close to a Holy Grail as I can offer.

Firstly, does the artist have a musical “voice?” In other words, does this artist sound like everybody else or is there something unique, however hard to pinpoint, in their music. I can hear 2 guitar notes from BB King or Mark Knopfler to know who it is and I can hear two chords from Erik Satie to know who it is.

Secondly, is heart or ego driving the music? This is obviously a judgment call as well, but it’s as clear as can be to me. Maybe another way of asking the question is “am I hearing the truth,” or “do I believe this person?” I have to believe who I’m listening to and investing my heart in, both as a listener and as a producer.

John: Your new West River Records compilation album The Gathering features a lot of great instrumental artists exactly like your highly successful Windham Hill Samplers, which achieved gold or platinum recording status. Do you feel the artist’s songs on The Gathering have the potential for equal prominence?

Will Ackerman: The record industry is a very different thing today. Even at the major record labels, they refer to 100,000 CDs sold as “the new million.” In other words, the potential of the marketplace even with legal downloads, is probably 10% of what it was. A gold record used to be 500,000 records sold and platinum were 1,000,000. There were a lot of gold and platinum records being handed out in those days, but if we had to wait for achievement of those kinds of numbers today, there would be only a handful of them.

The good news is that the internet can spread the word about good music brilliantly to every corner of this planet. Part of my ambition with The Gathering is to create strength in numbers to some degree. Rather than sit back and let each of these artists fend entirely for themselves, I’ve chosen to move more into the public realm again and, as with the Windham Hill Samplers, say “this is great music… these are great players… these are artists your life will be richer for taking the time to get acquainted with.” I’m doing this interview and others and will not balk at any opportunity to express my faith in these players and in this recording. I genuinely believe we can achieve a much greater visibility together and that we’ve literally just begun.

One last point is, I think, important to mention here. The known Windham Hill Records audience is easily identified and we certainly want to let those millions of people know about The Gathering. But what is also heartening to me is the number of emails from kids under 20 I’m getting now. These are kids who are digging through their parents LPs and finding music that they love. I’m guessing that maybe 10 -15% of my emails are from kids in this age range and it’s clearly a growing number and percentage. How great it would be to find a young audience who loves this sort of music, much as my generation found the forgotten American blues players in the late 60′s and 70′s (certainly with the help of the British Invasion). I’ve been contemplating a Gathering sort of recording for some time and now that it’s here I know it’s the right choice.

John: When selecting an artist’s song for a compilation album like The Gathering, what key elements do you look for in terms of the music qualities?

Will Ackerman: Understand that all the people on The Gathering are people I’ve chosen to produce. These are all people I have the highest regard for as musicians and as human beings. Without being at all lazy, I’ll refer you to my answers a bit earlier on in this dialogue. I need to feel these musicians have a voice that is uniquely theirs and I have to believe that they’re telling me the truth musically.

John: In regards to your production services, you have enlisted engineer and co-producer Tom Eaton. Plus, many of the session musicians in your productions are themselves, award-winning artists who have their own careers. What do you look for when selecting a session artist for a client’s recording?

Will Ackerman: I think you’re asking me how someone ends up being a session player for my productions? The answer is to be the best on the planet and be consistently so and be a genuinely kind, patient, generous human being. Whether we’re working with bassist Tony Levin who’s recorded with John Lennon, Paul Simon, Peter Gabriel, James Taylor and a million others or Steve Holley who’s the drummer for Paul McCartney and Elton John, the people who add to our work here are consummate professionals who are able to pour their hearts into the music and do so in a remarkably ego-less, kind, considerate and caring way.

The criteria for who works here go way past simple talent. Imaginary Road is my home and I’m only letting wonderful people into my home. I don’t care how talented you are; if you’re not able to wear your heart on your sleeve don’t bother to turn up. We use Keith Carlock (Sting and Steeley Dan) as a drummer too along with Arron Sterling (John Mayer and Sheryl Crow). Only last year I met Premik Russel Tubbs who plays sax and wind synths for us.

Premik has become part of the family and has played with Santana, Herbie Hancock, Sting and Billy Joel just to name a few. Violinist Charlie Bisharat and I met when he was playing with Shadowfax on Windham Hill. He and I remain great friends and we work on sessions together often. Charlie Bisharat’s played with Beck, Mary J. Blige, Black-Eyed Peas, Fiona Apple, Michael Jackson, Justin Timberlake and the list goes on.

We have a stable of players who are simply too great not to use often: Four time GRAMMY® winning cellist Eugene Friesen just happens to be a neighbor here in Brattleboro and has been a close friend for twenty years now. English horn player Jill Haley drives up from Reading, PA to play for us. Pat Metheny’s percussionist Jeff Haynes has been a dear friend for decades now and lives just over the Green Mountains from here.

Trumpet and Flugelhorn player Jeff Oster has a place in Vermont and we get him in here for sessions as often as possible; singer Noah Wilding was crazy enough to marry me so she’s pretty much local too. Jeff Pevar, who records and tours with everyone from Ray Charles to Crosby, Stills and Nash, does guitar work for us too. We’ve just added the incredible talents of Gus Sebring, French horn player for the Boston Symphony to our list of friends. The talent pool we draw upon is considerably larger than this, but you get the point.

John: Let’s say for example I am an artist scheduled to have my music produced by you at Imaginary Road Studios. What can an artist expect when they arrive, and is there a set schedule or itinerary for the duration of an artist’s visit?

Will Ackerman: There is absolutely nothing that is formulaic here. Projects have taken days or months. No two projects are the same. There is a tremendous amount of dialogue that takes place between me and the artist before sessions begin and out of that a plan very specifically designed for the project emerges.

This isn’t a matter of someone simply turning up and starting the recording process. By the time we begin we’ve probably selected 80- 90% of the material, have worked out the arrangements and have some ideas as to what the additional instrumentation will be. That said, we’re never completely right. Some of the music will inevitably change and evolve. You have to really listen to what you’ve recorded and hear what’s it’s telling you.

Part of producing is knowing when your preconceptions are no longer valid, but that the music has evolved into something new. It’s part of my job to realize when we have to abandon preconception and allow the music to instruct us. Some of the best music comes about by being open to change and allowing spontaneity to be in charge when it’s productive.

John: When you are in a recording session, do you find yourself constantly motivating an artist in the desired direction, or do you and the artist connect automatically?

Will Ackerman: Once again, John, every person and every session is different. Thankfully, that is the case as the newness keeps me on my toes and aware.

John: How do you make an emotional connection with an artist Will?

Will Ackerman: I’m a musician so I know what it takes to make music that is connected to emotion. How people get there varies greatly. What doesn’t change is the trust that has to be established. If people are going to allow vulnerability into their hearts and music they have to trust me and it’s my responsibility to make that possible for them.

John: Do artists ever have any common misunderstandings about your occupational or leadership role as producer?

Will Ackerman: There is nothing dictatorial in the role. I do have strong opinions and I’m not reticent to express those opinions, but at the end of the day, I’m working for the musicians and their needs and wishes are the ultimate arbiter of where we’re headed.

John: Have there been artists you simply can’t work with?

Will Ackerman: Yes, but thankfully that was long ago and my instincts about people and my understanding of myself (including a realistic evaluation of my own strengths and weaknesses) have made for a decade of very happy encounters. It’s hard work and very stressful, so we try not to record for more than a couple of days in a row.

Learning how to keep spirits up even when everyone is very tired and spent is an important part of the process, but simply knowing that everyone needs rest to be productive and happy is a surprisingly important piece of the puzzle. This is where being a bit older actually helps. One comes to understand their own limitations better which is actually more freeing than limiting.

John: You have produced music for esteemed artists like George Winston, Michael Hedges, Liz Story, Alex de Grassi, and many more top-ranked artists in the music industry.

This may be a hard question to answer Will, but do you believe some of your more recent artists, including debuting artists, have the potential to reach the same success? And if so, do you have any advice or a strategy you would offer to artists wanting to improve their performance skills or advance in their music career?

Will Ackerman: I think it’s a matter of scale to some degree. CD sales are way down and legal downloads don’t begin to compensate for the real losses in pirated music. At the same time we’ve gotten to the point where there is very little a major label knows about the current music business that the average internet-savvy teenager doesn’t know.

In fact the average teenager may be far hipper and more contemporary and imaginative than the guys who are still at desks at the big companies. One line I’ve used in talking with people is why give away 90% of the profits to an organization that doesn’t understand the marketplace any better than the average teenager?

I don’t think this is an exaggerated perspective at all and I think the question is valid. We see established acts reaching the time of contract expiration with major labels and just leaving the majors and creating their own labels with web presence and touring being focal points of their endeavors.

Artists recording on their own labels are keeping 100% of the profit rather than getting maybe a 12% royalty from a major label. Keeping an eye on budget becomes more important than ever (as there are fewer sales and less gross income) and the objective now seems to be about creating a constant internet presence rather than making one huge marketing effort in order to recoup the investment in recording or video etc.

Radio exposure is still important, especially with all of the internet music outlets. Getting reviewed, as always, matters in a big way and given all the websites devoted to niche markets there is more opportunity for attention than ever. Ultimately, however, it’s all about harnessing the internet and touring to cement a relationship with an audience and hone one’s craft.

I recently met a young woman name Kina Grannis who created this incredible video for YouTube. It took 3 months to make the first 10 seconds of this and nearly 2 years to finish. It’s a stop motion video shot against a constantly changing backdrop of paintings done with jellybeans. You heard me right, jellybeans. The video is brilliant, as is Kina, and I believe she’s now had something like ten million hits on this YouTube single. Jelly Belly heard about this and are now underwriting her touring and she just finished a tour of major markets in Europe, then traveled to the far east and Australia as well as the U.S. All of this fueled by a very clever video that her friends help her create.

In looking at the New Age market, I see people still doing a video of a babbling brook and posting it as if there is anything compelling in this. It was novel in 1984 when I did the world’s first digital audio laser discs with Pioneer Home Video and Paramount, but that’s been done and done and done. Be clever. Take a chance. Do something different. You may fail, but it’s ordained that you’ll fail by being one of a million people doing the same thing.

In terms of live performance, George Winston and I would play a benefit for any 5 watt radio station in the U.S. who would give us airplay and we were willing to work from the ground up. I can remember audiences of 6 people where I gave everything I had.

I think you have to have that commitment and the talent to offer something very special to the world, but what is learned on the road is valuable on so many levels and connects you with your audience.

Getting a sense of an audience’s reaction to a new piece, getting a feel for what’s working and what’s not (both for you and for the audience), is something most effectively done in front of a live audience. They’ll tell you a lot about what will be effective in the marketplace. So in answer to your question; yes artists in any genre can still break out onto the world stage, but to really succeed these days you almost certainly have to have brilliant and original (not necessarily expensive) videos and I continue to believe that live performances are an invaluable training ground.

John: Technology has undoubtedly changed since the time when you first began to produce. What are some examples of how new technology changed the way you produce music in the studio today?

Will Ackerman: Fundamentally, the only deep change is digital and I do a great deal to refrain from a complete embrace of what is contemporary. I’m convinced that digital is not all for the best, though the manipulation of digital information in editing, for instance, is just simply brilliant and is an important part of our process here. My principal microphones are VERY expensive matched pairs of Neumanns. What we do with microphone positioning and configurations are literally unique and very much on the cutting edge.

Despite the fact that we’re understandably regarded for our audiophile recordings, our methods are bordering on heretic. I like that. The Hemmingway preamps are rare and a brilliant part of our arsenal. I sometimes use analogue process even in the highest quality digital recordings if I feel there is something to be gained. My own Returning album, which won the GRAMMY® in 2005, was run through Studer heads as part of mastering, for instance.

And there’s Tom Eaton. Tom’s been with me for over a year now and is simply the most talented engineer I’ve known in my entire life. A pianist himself (he actually plays a range of instruments) Tom brings an academic knowledge of music to the room that my intuitive side is grateful for. I was recently having trouble explaining to Tony Levin what I wanted in a piece and Tom took a minute to talk with me and then hit the talk back and said to Tony, “Tony, Will’s hearing it on the one.” It would have taken another 10 minutes for me to finally explain what I was hearing.

I’ve come to respect Tom’s opinion as much as anyone I have ever known. Increasingly he and I are co-producing and the recordings are the better for it. Tom knows the Windham Hill Records catalog better than I do and this history also informs his understanding of where we’re going and why. He respects my position in the producer’s chair, but he always has my ear and no one in my history has been able to command more attention with a gentle, “I was just wondering if.” The man’s simply brilliant and has brought more to my production environment than anyone in my history. He’s also a wonderful, bright, funny human being who has become family in a very short while.

John: You have a one of a kind Steinway piano, and other high-tech equipment at your studio. Is having the highest quality equipment available for artists to use during their visit, one of the most essential components for your productions?

Will Ackerman: Our Steinway is simply magical. I have never recorded anything that compares to it in my entire career. It came here by chance a decade ago as a rental and it simply never left. I just told the owner that he’d have to come up with a price. I called him and told him this and took the rest of the day off and nailed the load-in doors shut and resided the building. He had to sell it to me. When you think of how important the piano has been to my career and how much piano recording I’ve done and you realize that I’m begin utterly honest when I tell you that this is the finest sounding recording piano I’ve ever worked with, that’s a pretty dramatic statement.

There are many quality products that I don’t need. We actually don’t have a lot of toys here. It’s very fundamental stuff. I have some very purist ideas about how to record instruments and it begins with the fact that I want to be inside the instrument. I want to be more proximate to the instrument than almost any producer on the planet.

I want to hear guitar recorded so that it sounds as it does to me when I’m holding it. I want the piano to move from left to right, bass to the high notes and feel like you’re sitting at the piano. I don’t want to soften edges a lot. I don’t want the recordings to be dreamy even if the music itself is. I want the listen to be deeply aware that this is a piece of wood and steel they’re listening to. I think this is partly why I just shy away from keyboards (however good their sampling has become) so much. I love the world of acoustic music. It’s what drives me, and I’m always searching for ways to get even closer and more detailed in my listening and recording. I’ve recently made a discovery about cello, for instance, that pleases me a great deal.

John: I am sure your professional role of assisting artists the best you know how is personally rewarding. How would you best describe the personal rewards of helping artists become successful?

Will Ackerman: It’s one of two things in my life that imbue my life with what I hope is worth and meaning.

John: Thank you again for giving me and everyone a moment of your time Will. I have a deep respect for your work, and I hope we have a chance to interview again in the future. I am sure there will be fans and artists worldwide reading the newest Will Ackerman interview in 2012. Is there anything you would like to express to the artists and fans that have supported you over the years?

Will Ackerman: First of all, I’d like to say thank you to everyone who agreed to be on The Gathering. My deepest thanks to these wonderfully talented and lovely human beings;

Masako, Paul Jensen, Stanton Lanier, Kathryn Kaye, Rudy Perrone, Fiona Joy Hawkins, Jeff Oster, Dean Boland, Frank Smith, Todd Boston, Rocky Fretz, Shambhu, Kori Linae Carothers, Peter Jennison, Denise Young, Devin Rice and Erin Aas, Lawrence Blatt, Ronnda Cadle, Ann Sweeten, Ken Verheecke and Patrick Gorman.

My thanks too to all the musicians I’ve been blessed to work with. There are musicians I’m producing now and musicians I’ve just finished producing that we didn’t have room for on The Gathering. I hope our success with this project is such that we’ll have a chance to release a second volume.

I hope your readers will support The Gathering. We purposefully decided to make this affordable. At $12 and 74 minutes it’s a bargain and getting turned on to 22 new musicians is a pretty great experience in life. We hope you’ll think of The Gathering as gifts and just a thank you to those in your lives. We’ll be deeply grateful for your help. Will Ackerman.

Visit WilliamAckerman.com and the Imaginary Road Studios. You can sample or purchase The Gathering at CDBaby.com. The majority of artists Will mentioned on The Gathering compilation release have album reviews at this site. Visit my pages dedicated to Will Ackerman and artist tags located in a right hand module. Photos are courtesy williamackerman.com.

Kitaro music fans are sure to be excited about the newest Kitaro album in 2012. Even if they have already heard the Kitaro album entitled The Light Of The Spirit in its original recording format back in 1997, the newly remastered audio CD or mp3 is worth looking into by its superior musical qualities.

If you haven’t sampled The Light Of The Spirit, you are in for a surprise. The 8 cinematic songs by the international new age superstar Kitaro happen to be co-produced with the rock legend Grateful Dead percussionist Mickey Hart, who is a music innovator himself, and during studio recordings and concert performances with his tour group the Mickey Hart Band.

Kitaro and Mickey Hart are GRAMMY® Award-winning artists revered individually for producing releases that explore a wide range of music influences. One example of their diversity is The Light Of The Spirit. The 8 songs on Kitaro’s new album The Light Of The Spirit are; Mysterious Encounter, Sundance, The Field, The Light of the Spirit, In The Beginning, Moondance, Howling Thunder, Journey To A Fantasy. Visit the Domo Music Group page to sample the newest album by Kitaro.

Mickey Hart - Grateful DeadMusic Review: Mysterium Tremendum by Mickey Hart Band.

Legendary Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart may be recognized most for his progressive music as drummer with American rock icon, Grateful Dead band, but as everyone knows, time and the universe itself advance forward like clockwork. It’s no surprise superstar Mickey Hart has made progressive advancements of his own. In this case, it is more of an intergalactic leap!

The significance of Mickey Hart’s role as a Grateful Dead percussionist makes its presence known on his new 2012 album Mysterium Tremendum by his group, the Mickey Hart Band. While some popular artists may be content taking more of a back seat role by riding out the success of an earlier career, Mickey Hart steps aboard and climbs into the pilot seat as he steers his music career, and Mickey Hart Band members in a bold new direction.

The Mickey Hart Band is an 8 member group with Mickey Hart, and selection of the best artists and vocalists he could find. Together they transmit his multiple genre project that treks into uncharted territory musically.

Upon sampling his new 2012 release Mysterium Tremendum, I can say Mickey Hart clearly has selected a rare and talented group to make this flight. Like a man on a mission, his selection was based on those artists who he felt possess the precise aptitude needed to communicate the full depth of a majestic experiment in sound. And it truly is a soulful new direction on the exploratory album Mysterium Tremendum, which also includes the illustrious Grateful Dead lyricist, Robert Hunter.

To call Mysterium Tremendum simply an adventurous album would be an understatement, and downright disrespectful. Daring is a more suitable word. Recorded at Mickey Hart’s Studio X in California, Mysterium Tremendum is innovative in many ways, and unlike anything you have previously heard.

Unequaled by a divergent fusion of popular music genres, World Music best defines the improvisational jam band combination of great instrumentals, vocals, and profusion of original percussion elements.

On this new 2012 release Mickey Hart has selected a rare and brilliant group who he felt possess the precise aptitude needed to interconnect, and then communicate the complete depth of this grand experiment in sound.

The artists had to be special knowing Mysterium Tremendum follows up in linage to his GRAMMY® Award-Winning album, Global Drum Project from 2007.

Never content with merely composing and performing music, the 3 time GRAMMY® Award-Winning Mickey Hart has become more attune to a scientist by researching the primordial origins, history, and cultural aspects of music. It is on this album his research taps into light waves of the universe to the beginning point of time and space, transforming light waves into sound waves using researched scientific data.

This may sound like science fiction, but in fact, real-life scientific data was utilized, thus becomes an integral component of Mickey Hart’s music composition that revolves around many music genres but touches down in the World Music category.

Something I noticed right away was the pronounced cinematic qualities on many of the ambient, vocal and world percussion backed songs, so it’s easy to imagine Mysterium Tremendum being used in a Science fiction film score. These songs are Heartbeat of the Sun, Who Stole The Show, Djinn Djinn, Ticket to Nowhere & Through Endless Skies.

You will find that even the popular crossover songs with lyricized vocals, you are sure to love have cinematic qualities involving various movie genres too like songs Slow Joe Rain, Cut the Deck, Starlight and Starbright, This One Hour, Supersonic Vision, Time Never Ends & Let There Be Light.

Currently the 8 member Mickey Hart Band is on traveling the country on their “Above The Clouds Concert Tour” which is garnering excellent concert reviews. One point to clarify however, on the Mysterium Tremendum album release, a number of special guest artists join the Mickey Hart Band to complete the symphonic landscape. Clearly Mickey Hart has left no stone unturned in the launch of his innovative sound experiment with his new band, and special guest artists.

The music of Grateful Dead is an inherently colorful stripe woven into the fabric of American music culture, as every Deadhead fan will vehemently attest. Never content to take a backseat role with his earlier success, Mickey Hart is clearly in the pilot’s seat with both hands placed firmly on the controls while navigating the spirit of Grateful Dead in a new direction. Hang on and enjoy the ride!

Album Credits: The 8 member Mickey Hart Band consists of Mickey Hart, Widespread Panic bassist Dave Schools, Grammy winning percussionist and longtime band mate Sikiru Adepoju, Tony Award winning vocalist Crystal Monee Hall, TSO vocalist Tim Hockenberry, drummer Ian “Inx” Herman, guitarist Gawain Matthews, keyboardist and producer Ben Yonas. Special guest artists joining the Mickey Hart Band during select tracks on Mysterium Tremendum are Steve Kimock, Reed Mathis, and longtime collaborators, Zakir Hussain, Giovanni Hidalgo and Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter.

Visit MickeyHart.net homepage and sample or purchase Mysterium Tremendum, other albums, and check out the Mickey Hart Band’s live concert tour shows schedule and my Mickey Hart Band pages. Photos are courtesy mickeyhart.net.

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