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World Fusion Album Review: New Music by Todd Boston.

If you happen to be in the mood for summertime songs with an impressive blend of instrumental world fusion music, acoustic guitarist Todd Boston has a brand new 2012 multicultural follow-up to his 2010 release Alive. In close balance with Alive by flowing acoustic guitar and percussion melodies, Touched by the Sun heralds in a noticeable international, world fusion blend of Eastern and Western music.

Todd Boston is a brilliant guitarist, and multi-instrumentalist performing international tours in 2012, as a soloist and in a number of ensembles including a tour with the world renowned American singing songwriter Snatam Kaur.

After my interview with Will Ackerman last week, I have to say it is by coincidence that tomorrow on (July 20, 2012) Will Ackerman will be among other musicians at a concert celebration for Todd Boston’s Touched By the Sun album. This special concert event will be in Mill Valley, California at the Throckmorton Theatre.

The concert artists in attendance with Todd Boston to help celebrate the launch of Touched by the Sun are guest artist Will Ackerman on guitar, and other top ranked instrumentalist and vocalist.

Most are award-winning artists, and several are artists who have been featured at this site. They include vocalist Snatam Kaur, GRAMMY® nominated bass guitarist Michael Manring, percussionist Ramesh Kannan, cellist Matthew Schoening, violinist Emily Palen, trumpet and flugelhorn specialist Jeff Oster, and guitarist Shambhu.

Touched by the Sun studio album, which has 12 great world fusion melodies, is a refined instrumental with vocals album, likewise comprised of an impressive team of music professionals. Many of whom you are sure to recognize. There are a number of studio session artists who often provide instrumentals on Will Ackerman productions at Imaginary Road Studios, so the contributing members are indeed a select group of musicians.

Artists on the studio album joining Todd Boston on guitars, dotar, flutes and base are female vocalist Snatam Kaur, cellist Eugene Friesen, violinist Charlie Bisharat, percussionist Jeff Haynes, drums Aaron Sterling, bass guitar Tony Levin, fretless bass Michael Manring, hand clapping Tom Eaton, whispers Tina Malia and Ramesh Kannan on tabla and cajon.

There are other strategic elements about Touched by the Sun that isn’t by chance. Given the fact that Todd Boston is a great performer, and the quality of artisanship delivered by other top-ranked artists, this new Imaginary Road Studios production has every component needed to reach the upper limits of success. Stated more precisely, I expect Touched by the Sun to be an award-winning album in 2013.

Touched by the Sun made the #1 Top Recording for June 2012, with the Top 10 & Top 100 Radio Airplay Charts at Zone Music Reporter. The Brightest Night is a song by Todd that has made its way into the elite 22 artist and 22 instrumental song compilation album in 2012 by Will Ackerman entitled The Gathering.

Once more, Touched by the Sun was created in the care of GRAMMY® Award-winning producer Will Ackerman, and co-producer Tom Eaton and Todd Boston, so every component of Todd’s album was given the attention it deserves by a team of specialists. Comprised of elements that make a great recording, decisive actions taken by Todd Boston has lessened the mystery of whether this is a quality album or not. The question now is where to sample or purchase Touched by the Sun.

Visit the homepage of ToddBoston.com and visit Todd Boston’s music page, where you can sample or purchase at several popular online music stores including Amazon, CDBaby, and iTunes. Cover artwork & photo courtesy toddboston.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.

Best Instrumental Songs Review: The Gathering by Will Ackerman.

When deciding on a review title for Will Ackerman’s collection of contemporary instrumental songs, the first caption that came to mind involved the word best. There are several reasons why I gave The Gathering a desirable best instrumental song collection title, and I am prepared to give the reasons why. Synonymous with quality music, the name Will Ackerman alone seems to shout excellence! This is apparent, whether it is his own music recording, or one of the 20 plus gold and platinum albums he produced throughout his 35 year professional career.

The Gathering is the newest 2012 instrumental music compilation album from the acclaimed, GRAMMY® Award winning guitarist and producer Will Ackerman. Featuring an exclusive music collection of 22 top-quality songs by 22 great artists, The Gathering is a decisive who’s who of the best quality artists Will Ackerman selected for this release, out of the many fine musicians who had their album produced at his state-of-the-art Imaginary Road Studios.

Will Ackerman is famous worldwide for his production talents as founder Windham Hill Records, and his strong influence in the instrumental music recording industry yesteryear and today. In addition to his role as producer, Will Ackerman is an award-winning composer and guitarist, having performed a vital role in launching the careers of many award-winning artists. Over the past 35 years Will Ackerman has produced albums for over eighty four artists. Some of the most notable artists are Alex de Grassi, Michael Hedges, Michael Manring, Shadowfax, Liz Story and George Winston.

The Gathering by Will Ackerman is an excellent compilation album with 22 of the best contemporary instrumental songs on Will Ackerman’s West River Records label. Famous for founding Windham Hill Records, the legacy of the highest quality artists endures on Will Ackerman’s West River Records label.

The Imaginary Road Studio today engages the expertise of producer and engineer Tom Eaton. Taking the high road in quality studio productions, William Ackerman and Tom Eaton’s expertize help artists embolden their music compositions with grace, elegance and imagination.

Visit WilliamAckerman.com and the Imaginary Road Studios. You can sample or purchase The Gathering at CDBaby.com. Listed below are the 22 artists and 22 song credits for The Gathering 2012 compilation release.

There are a number of new age and contemporary instrumental artists whose music I have reviewed over the years. The 13 artists with album reviews at this site are listed first in the credits. Photos courtesy willackerman.com.

The Gathering Credits – 22 Artists and 22 songs:

1. Ann Sweeten song Dawn on Red Mountain, from Grey Sky And Bittersweet album.

2. Devin Rice & Erin Aas song Thyn Ayre, from The Arrival album.

3. Fiona Joy Hawkins song Feeling Sunshine, from Live At The Q album.

4. Jeff Oster song Serengeti, from True album.

5. Kathryn Kaye song Mountain Laurel, from Heavy as a Feather album.

6. Kori Linae Carothers song Carpe Diem, from Trillium album.

7. Lawrence Blatt song The Color of Sunshine, from The Color of Sunshine album.

8. Masako song Glastenbury, Vermont, from Masako album.

9. Paul Jensen song Taoist Winds, from The Other Side album.

10. Peter Jennison song Anthem, from Longing From Home album.

11. Shambhu song Hide and Seek, from Sacred Love album.

12. Todd Boston song The Brightest Night, from Touched by the Sun album.

13. Will Ackerman song The Wheel, from New England Roads album.

14. Dean Boland song Intimacy, from Soul Whispers album.

15. Denise Young song Livia’s Song, from Something You Dream Of album.

16. Frank Smith song Porch with a View, from Earth Spring album.

17. Ken Verheecke song Forever, from A Place Called Home album.

18. Patrick Gorman song Shades of You, from Chasing Tornados album.

19. Rhonnda Cadle song Shalom, from Will’s Embrace album.

20. Rocky Fretz song Kim’s Song, from The Path Ahead album.

21. Rudy Perrone song The Prophet, from The Language Of Spirits album.

22. Stanton Lanier song Bread of Angels, from A Thousand Years album.

New Age and World Music News Blog – 2014.

When it comes to site popularity, New Age Music World is one of the best international new age music blogs worldwide. Here I provide exclusive music news and on-topic press coverage for artists in the New Age, World, and Instrumental music genres.

While it’s impossible for me to provide news reporting for every artist, I do what I can to tell visitors about some of the most newsworthy events by today’s most popular artists and music organizations within the two genres and sub-genre categories.

Every year I provide news reporting on several best album award ceremonies by high profile organizations like the GRAMMY® Awards, Billboard Magazine, and Independent Music Awards.

Another exclusive award article at this site is my yearly New Age Music World – Best New Age Albums Award publication. Every New Year’s Day I report on the best new albums and new songs I have reviewed or sampled throughout the year.

In addition, I regularly write a best album awards publication related to Zone Music Reporter’s Best Album Awards, and offer exclusive news coverage by a variety of articles about a specific artist or group who have received award recognition for their music.

Regardless of whether an award is determined by voting members, album sales, popular choice, online radio airtime or broadcaster votes, each organization I write articles about, including my own, is an excellent source to find the latest news about top artists worldwide and the best new music available today.

This latest international music news publication at my blog is an efficient way for me to provide music news reporting, and provide coverage for a variety of topics or events, ranging from concert tour dates and information by popular instrumental artists who perform international concert tours. This also allows me to inform visitors about top 10, and top 100 radio chart information, along with top albums at Amazon, iTunes, and other on-topic music news stories.

Current updates to this music news article will be added as they arrive. On future visits to Music World, you can check for news updates to this publication by clicking on the “International Music News Banner” located in a right hand module. Naturally I invite you to visit my homepage.

Blog New Age Music WorldThe tabs at the top of my site will direct you to various sections including my profile, interviews, new music reviews, music awards, song videos and additional music news about the international artists I feature on a regular basis.

In the modules located on your right, you will find various module banners which link to specific articles. Some of the most popular banners publications are the Best Album Awards and Best New Music in 2012 banners. Other popular banner articles are Interviews, Live Concert Tour Information, and Music Promotion.

I also feature a Live 365 Stars Radio Player, operated by B.T. Fasmer, who often gives the artists I feature, free online radio promotion. The 365 Stars station radio player is free to use, or like all radio stations at Live 365 Internet Radio, you can listen to thousands of commercial free music stations when you sign up for a low cost VIP subscription at Live365.com.

Nearly every day I receive press releases from music promoters, producers, artists, and their public relations persons regarding an artist or music group’s latest press news or their latest publicized events worldwide.

I know many international artists personally so many times I can provide early news reporting by this news bulletin before an artist’s official press release. I look forward to providing exclusive music news coverage in the months and years ahead. Thank You for your return visits to New Age Music World, one of the top nonprofit music blogs worldwide. BigStockPhoto.com credits – Pcummings – MOKreations – Alexwhite.

Worldwide Music News Blog 2013 – New Age, World and Instrumental Music Genres:
Sochi, Russia: The Olympic Organizing Committee for the upcoming 2014 Winter Games has announced the official anthem for the Olympic Torch Relay. The song titled We Are All Under the Sky, performed by the band Kasta, will be performed in all 2,900 towns and villages Russia hosting official Olympic Torch Relay celebrations, held prior to the Opening Ceremony for the Olympic Winter Games on February 7, 2014. Read the official press release at Olympic.org. – See more at: http://www.newagemusicworld.com/new-age-music-news-blog/?preview=true&preview_id=15619&preview_nonce=11e13fea1a#sthash.F0JmVdqd.dpuf
  • Sochi Russia: As stated earlier, there will most likely not be an album or soundtrack for the Sochi Olympic Opening Ceremony. There is another album of official Sochi Olympic music available for purchase however. The group Audiomachine produced the inspiring promotional music for the NBC Network and the International Olympic Committee in promotion for the Sochi Olympics in 2014. Find where to sample and purchase the Audiomachine album Champions Will Rise in the publication titled: Official Olympic Music by Audiomachine.
  • Sochi, Russia: Many are asking whether there is an album of official Olympic Opening Ceremony music. The songs performed during the Opening Ceremony will most likely, not be released. However there is an album, anthems and songs for official Olympic music. I have a list of Sochi Olympic songs and anthems in the publication titled: Sochi Olympics – Artists Songs and Events.
  • Sochi, Russia: The Olympic Organizing Committee for the upcoming 2014 Winter Games has announced the official anthem for the Torch Relay. The Song titled We Are All Under the Sky, performed by the band Kasta, will be performed in all 2,900 Russian towns and villages hosting Olympic Torch Relay celebrations, prior to the Opening Ceremony for the Olympic Winter Games on February 7, 2014. Read the official press release at Olympic.org.
  • Yanni World Tour – 2014:  International concert artist Yanni and his world-class orchestra have released new concert information at Yanni.com.  There are several concert dates currently scheduled for the 2014 tour include Brazil, United Kingdom, Germany, Russia and United States. New concert info and tour updates for the Yanni World Tour in 2014 can be found on the Yanni Tour Dates Page.
  • Music News Sochi Russia: The Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics and Paralympic Games planned for the host city of Sochi, Russia is set to begin on February 7, 2014 and conclude on February 23, 2014. Read about official Olympic theme songs and ceremony music performed during the historic athletic games as it becomes available in my category section titled Official Olympic Songs.
  • America’s 56th GRAMMY® Award-Winners were announced. Read about Laura Sullivan who made top honors by winning the Best New Age Music Album Award. Sample or purchase the winning album Love’s River at Laura-Sullivan.com. Find more Grammy Awards information in the categories of New Age, World and Score Soundtrack For Visual Media in my section named Grammy Awards.
  • The GRAMMY® Nominees Compilation Album for 2013 with 22 songs by 22 artists is now available in the formats of CD or album download. Find information at 2013GrammyAlbum.com.
  • Read Music World’s yearly best albums recommendations from 2012 in the electronic, instrumental and new age categories by clicking the upper Awards and Best Albums tabs.
  • American multi-platinum artist Nick Gunn and vocalist Carmen Rainier have begun producing an exciting mix of electronic dance music by the artist title of (We Are) Nexus. Sample their original club mixes of EDM at WeAreNexusEDM.com.
  • Scottish singer Susan Boyle has a new album titled Standing Ovation: The Greatest Songs From The Stage. Her rise to stardom after the TV reality show Britain’s Got Talent is a phenomenal success story. You can sample or purchase Standing Ovation at the U.S. and UK Amazon websites, major online stores, or visit SusanBoyleMusic.com.
  • Sarah Brightman News for 2014. In a press conference Sarah Brightman announced information related to her newest album Dreamchaser, upcoming World Concert Tour, and details of her future spaceflight to the International Space Station. For complete news details and 2014 concert information visit SarahBrightman.com.
  • Flutist Nicholas Gunn recently announced his new 2012 album Thirty-One Nights is on the Voting Ballot for Nomination in the 55th Annual GRAMMY® Awards in the World Music Category. Sample or purchase Thirty-One Nights at NicholasGunn.com.
  • There are several popular U.S. based artists I will be interviewing in the months ahead. The high profile artists scheduled include guitarist Eric Tingstad, pianist David Lanz and flutist Nicholas Gunn. Check back in the days ahead, and read earlier interviews with top ranked artists my Interview Section.
  • The U.S. music duo 2002 has a new 2012 release unlike any previous album. The newest project by Randy and Pamela Copus titled Believe has the signature sound of 2002 music we know and love, yet there are elements of music by popular era bands like Kansas, YES, Phil Collins, and Seal. It has every hallmark of becoming their best albums to date. A pre-release album review will be posted soon.
  • London Paralympic Opening Music 2012: Enlightenment – Music for the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Paralympic Games is the album title of the official Paralympic song playlist for the opening ceremonies. Sample or purchase the 18 songs on Enlightenment at iTunes.com.
  • London Olympic Closing Music 2012: A Symphony of British Music – Music For The Closing Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games is the album title of the official Olympic song playlist for the closing ceremonies. The songs release in (digital format only) was made available on August 12, 2012 at DeccaRecords.com. Purchase by pre-ordering A Symphony of British Music at Amazon.co.uk.
  • London Olympic Opening Music 2012: Isles of Wonder – Music For The Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games is the album title of the official Olympic song playlist for the opening ceremonies. Purchase Isles of Wonder at Amazon.co.uk, iTunes or Decca Records.
  • Greek composer Vangelis has two new releases in 2012. Vangelis – The Collection and a new soundtrack for the Olympic themed theatrical Chariots of Fire (On Stage) play, made available in July, 2012. Find both titles in audio CD and digital download format at Amazon.co.uk and other online stores.
  • U.S. based producer Will Ackerman is an artist I recently interviewed. Read about the esteemed artist and record producer in the exclusive 2012 in-depth interview with Will Ackerman.
  • Progressive rock group YES from the UK has released new 2014 concert information. With over 50 million albums sold worldwide, YES remains a leader in progressive rock music. Check the current 2014 YES tour schedule at YesWorld.com.
  • Germany based group Alphaville has the 2014 concert tour schedule posted at their site. The highly successful pop electronic/synthesizer music of Alphaville has sold well over 80 million albums. Having earlier performed concert tours in Brazil, France, Germany, Hungary, Norway, Russia, Singapore , Sweden, and the United States, Alphaville is a favorite electronic pop group with millions of fans worldwide. Visit the Alphaville.de Tour Page for Alphaville Concerts in 2014.
  • Sony Masterworks has released The Goat Rodeo Sessions (Live) on DVD and Blu-Ray, featuring Yo-Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer, Chris Thile, and guest vocalist Aoife O’Donovan. The live recording was also filmed for a future PBS Special to air nationwide in May, and pledge drive program scheduled throughout the month of June on PBS.
  • Bulgarian based artist Bryan El, who specializes in electronic music has released a brand new album follow-up to Out of This World & Spiritual Evolution. The newest album by Bryan El is titled Boundaries Of Imagination. Find more details at BryanEl.com.
  • California based artist Mars Lasar is currently working on a sequel to Karma. Mars Lasar’s newest follow-up release is called Afterworld. You can also check out his new website at MarsLasar.com.
  • Artists worldwide: If you are an artist looking for a music promoter to help market your newest album, I now have a contact list of the marketing specialists I know personally, who offer promotional services. Artists can find their contact information in my article titled; New Age & World Music Promotions.
  • To find live concert tour info worldwide in the new age, world, electronic, and instrumental music genres check my Live Concert Tours in 2014 information section.
  • U.S. based artist Australis is offering a free digital download called Interlude, which is a music sampler of his entire discography to current new age album Sentient Genus. Find the free music download and purchase his albums at AustralisMusic.com.
  • International site visitors to Music World can find the newest 2014 albums in the new age, world, electronic, and instrumental music genres, in a news publication titled Best New Music Albums in 2014.

The progressive rock group YES, is a favorite topic at this site having been a fan of the legendary group YES from their beginning. Another favorite topic is former YES members Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman, two original artists who have toured together and enjoyed successful solo careers of their own for many years.

YES is preparing for their 2012 North America Summer Tour with the group Procol Harum, a progressive rock band noted for their own unique sound. The opening night for their summer tour is set for July 10, 2012 in Rama Ontario at the Casino Rama Entertainment Centre, with dozens of venues throughout the U.S. and North America.

The definitive superstars of progressive rock music, YES and current member lineup of the band during the 2012 summer tour are Jon Davison (vocals) Steve Howe (lead guitar) Chris Squire (bass guitar) Geoff Downes (keyboards) Alan White (percussion).

YES is an award-winning progressive rock group with a changing lineup, but unchanged is their exceptional blend of progressive rock with classical music, making them popular as ever with YES fans today as they were yesteryear.

Visit YesWorld.com for current YES tour events information and shop for VIP concert packages and YES merchandise. Read publications for Rick Wakeman and my Jon Anderson interview. Concert banner courtesy Big Stock Photo – Dws.

New Age Instrumental Album Review – Awakening by F.E.D.

Frantz Eddy Daniel Jr. who goes by F.E.D. is raising eyebrows by the release of his debut album Awakening. I have to admit I am among a number of review publicists who believe Frantz Eddy Daniel Jr. is a serious contender in the music recording industry. I dare say his debut album Awakening even has award-winning potential.

Awakening by F.E.D. is music like Yanni, Vangelis, and Hans Zimmer, to you an example of his style. It may also be why Awakening is getting the highest album ratings from reviewers, and the rise in popularity of Frantz Eddy Daniel’s music.

It’s easy to compare F.E.D. to these famous cinematic music composers, but this debuting artist’s instrumental music is, as other have expressed, quite exclusive and one of a kind. Two years in the making, the 12 original songs on Awakening are a dazzling blend of electronic instrumentals, with romantic and classical overtones.

Frantz Eddy Daniel Jr. or F.E.D. is already an established, award-winning artist in many respects, having won awards at the World Championships of Performing Arts, International Music Award for best composition, and Music Aid Organization.

Born and raised in Port au-Prince Haiti, Frantz Eddy Daniel Jr. now resides in New York City, where he is extending his career and instrumental new age music that is stylishly deep and mysterious, yet energetic and dreamy. This sophisticated and complex arrangement combination is never easy to achieve, even for top ranked artists with years of experience.

I personally don’t rate music by giving a rating assessment of “Top 10 Albums” or “5 Stars” and “My Highest Recommendation” but Awakening is one of the best new age instrumental, popular crossover debut albums I have heard in awhile. And there are many album reviewers who agree.

If  you love the music style that sounds like Yanni, Vangelis, and Hans Zimmer, then Frantz Eddy Daniel Jr.’s Awakening album may be the next 12 song collection of instrumental new age music to make your all-time favorite song playlist.

Visit Fed-Music.com to sample and purchase or find F.E.D. at CDBaby.com. Cover art & banner courtesy fed-music.com.

Newest Music by Original YES vocalist Jon Anderson.

International music celebrity, and original YES vocalist Jon Anderson, is nearing completion of two new music releases for 2012. Jon Anderson’s newest music opus is titled Ever, and a second release of new music is titled Zamran.

Jon Anderson’s newest recording Ever, is a part two sequel to his 21 minute download composition OPEN, a brilliant recording he released in October of 2011. Jon is in the final stages of recording Ever, so his new release will be available soon.

Zamran is Jon Anderson’s sequal to his popular, first solo album Olias of Sunhillow. It may take more time to complete Zamran, but it’s great news to know Jon Anderson is constantly finding creative new ways to express himself musically.

New songs for a special “Earth and Peace” concert timed during the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London, England are another source for new music by Jon Anderson.

The new songs are to be performed live by Jon Anderson at the “Earth and Peace” concert taking place during the Summer Olympic Games in 2012. There hasn’t been an official press release about this special concert event starring Jon Anderson, but once the concert information is announced, I will provide more details when available.

I may have another opportunity to interview Jon Anderson for the second time before long. During this interview I plan to have specific questions about the “Earth and Peace” concert and his role in relation to the Summer Olympic Games later this year, so do check back for this exclusive interview.

Visit JonAnderson.com for news and find the newest albums and songs by Jon Anderson at iTunes.com. Portrait photo is courtesy Glass Onyon PR & Big Stock Photo – Ackley Road Photos.

Oceans by 7and5 – Pre-release New Age Album Review.

The advance in technological innovations has made an impact on everyone, including new age artists who create ingenious compositions of electronic music with computers, keyboards and the latest music software programing. In some cases, it’s a real challenge to determine whether instrumentals are produced by live performers, or an electronic orchestra created by one talented artist.

7and5 is the name in which independent artist John H. Nixon creates inspiring new age electronic music. Identical to fans who admire 7and5 music, the new age electronic albums In A Moment’s Time, Trading Stories & Hope, Destiny, & Choice, have been some of my personal favorite electronica albums for years.

The soon to be released Oceans by 7and5 is the newest collection of 10 new age electronic songs. Oceans ascends to new heights by an increase in dynamic energy, a characteristic quality that first began my admiration for 7and5 music.

Oceans by 7and5 is a new age electronic album due to be released next week on June 19, 2012. After listening to Oceans over and over again this week, the 10 vibrant songs on Oceans easily made my favorite album list in the new age electronic/chill out/techno category. Plus, I can tell you the cinematic qualities of 7and5 music generates excitement that never grows old, and the songs on Oceans advance an already present characteristic of quality music made for the cinema.

7and5 albums are a source of admiration for new age artists, and music recording giants David and Steve Gordon of Sequoia Records. A favorite artist with David and Steve too, the quality minded Gordon Brothers selected 7and5 songs for their Sequoia Records compilation albums Celtic Lounge 3, Buddha Lounge 6 & Buddha Groove 5.

The Weather Channel, with millions of television viewers nationwide is a place where 7and5 songs have been some of the best music to make their popular playlists over the years. Two songs in fact made The Weather Channel’s Top 10 Viewer’s Best Music of 2011 list. Songs by 7and5 are broadcast throughout the world on internet radio stations, making another best song list with Mystic Radio, and radio airtime on a number of popular online stations worldwide.

Everyone has the natural capacity to appreciate quality music originating from a variety of sources, and expertly layered electronic new age music is no exception, even for music purists who favor actual orchestrations by musicians performing on real instruments. Created by the natural talents of a single artist, Oceans is an inspiring source for some of the best new music everyone can appreciate.

Visit 7and5Music.com to sample or purchase, and when release at Amazon, CDBaby, ITunes, and major online stores on June 19, 2012. You can find mp3 song downloads at iTunes, and visit John H. Nixon’s social sites at Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and YouTube video page. BigStockPhoto.com photo copyright – Karmaamarande. Cover artwork and banner are courtesy 7and5music.com.

7and5 Music – New Age Songs on The Weather Channel.

There is no denying technology touches everyone in a positive way daily. Given the electrifying advancement made in today’s music technology, the positive effects are especially true for contemporary new age artists like John H. Nixon, who has the artist title 7and5. Today’s state-of-the-art electronic equipment has enabled him to produce some amazing music arrangements, generated within the comfort of his home studio.

The American based television network The Weather Channel (TWC) is another source where the latest technology has not only improved lives, but saved lives too. The Weather Channel also happens to be a nationwide audience where 7and5 music is played during their popular Local on the 8s satellite weather forecast. While millions of cable and satellite television viewers of every age are watching TWC for important weather information, they are likewise listening to the electronic songs by 7and5.

The Weather Channel television network has combined their localized NOAA Doppler weather forecast updates and visual radar for U.S. cities with 7and5’s first three albums for a number of years. Select TWC song playlists from the albums In A Moment’s Time, Trading Stories, & Hope, Destiny, And Choice are positive, upbeat songs featured often over the years. In fact, 2 new age songs created by 7and5 were awarded The Weather Channel’s Top 10 Viewer’s Best Music of 2011 list.

The Weather Channel’s song list of popular artists whose music is played include Daft Punk, John Williams, Moby, Pink Floyd, The Who and many others, but as a weather watcher myself, I can say 7and5 music has some of the finest upbeat songs suited for TWC viewers.

For U.S. residents who have ever wondered what artist, and song playlists The Weather Channel network is playing during their Local on the 8s radar weather updates, now you know one of the best.

7and5 has a new 2012 album titled Oceans, and I am excited to tell you more by a pre-release album review of Oceans within the next couple of days. Until then, here is The Weather Channel music video with the song Breath In from In A Moment’s Time album by 7and5.

For overseas visitors not familiar with this category of audiovisual media, the sample song video is a re-creation of The Weather Channel’s localized forecasts and weather updates that are televised non-stop nationwide for all towns, cities, and residents in the United States.

Visit 7and5Music.com to sample and purchase albums, or you can find 7and5 music and more TWC songs at TheWeatherChannelMusic.com. Big Stock Photo – Yakobchuk. Cover and banner by 7and5music.com.

The Weather Channel Music featuring 7and5:

New Age Piano Music: Masako Album Review.

It’s a fact that every artist is characterized as a debuting artist upon the release of their first album. To some, the term debut may suggest negative connotations or a lack of experience, but I believe the majority of people know an artist’s debut simply means they have made available, and distributed their first album to the public.

Masako is the name of a composing pianist making a debut with her first, self-titled piano with instrumental album called Masako. Born and raised in Tokyo, Japan, composing pianist Masako is a perfect example of a music professional with decades of experience prior to the first official introduction of her music. In fact, if I hadn’t known firsthand the original piano with instrumental music on Masako’s 2012 album was a debut release, I never would have guessed it.

Composing pianist Masako has released an extraordinary instrumental album with every hallmark of a seasoned professional. In fact, two highly respected artists, Will Ackerman and Liz Story themselves have release press comments about Masako’s abilities affirming her skill level is equated to that of a virtuoso. And I agree.

The Masako album was produced by Will Ackerman at his Imaginary Road Studio. Recognized for the excellence in his talents, Will Ackerman produced this album at Imaginary Road Studio, but needless to say, a producer can only enhance by bringing out the best of an artist’s talents. It’s clear, composing pianist Masako herself gives a magnificent performance, and her arrangement design of piano with instrumental music deserves to be characterized as a world-class release.

There are 12 songs total on the new Masako album, which easily passes the litmus test, in regards to the quality of music she produced, and alike in comparison to those who have rose among the top ranking artists that are associated with Will Ackerman’s Imaginary Road Studio. Masako’s song titled Glastenbury, Vermont was also selected for the top playlist of songs on the newest 2012 compilation CD by Will Ackerman entitled The Gathering.

Masako’s first introduction album is an impressive one and the term debut artist no longer applies. The only instance of where her status as a debuting artist applies now is perhaps when categorized, as the highest rated debut artist or for a best new artist of the year award. In either event, I believe Masako would be pleased to have her first release designated as a new debut album in either category.

The majority of the 12 songs on the Masako album are solo piano arrangements, or duets and ensemble, with an emphasis on piano. Top raking artist selected for the Masako album are Eugene Friesen (cello), Tony Levin (bassist), Jill Haley (English horn), Premik (wind synthesizer), and Jeff Haynes (percussion).

Visit Masako-Music.com to sample or purchase and find Masako album at iTunes. Portrait courtesy beltramistudios.com.

Legendary keyboardist Rick Wakeman, former keyboardist of the progressive rock group YES, has released a new live concert CD for 2012. Rick Wakeman’s newest album is an archival live concert CD titled In The Nick Of Time.

Recorded during a concert tour in 2003 to promote his current studio album at the time Out There, the new 2012 album is a recording of his performance with the group New English Rock Ensemble. In The Nick Of Time is an archival concert recording, commercially released for the first time.

Celebrating 40 years as a legendary keyboardist, Rick Wakeman throughout his career, has joined forces with some of the most prevalent artists in the music business including famous artists Cat Stevens and David Bowie.

There is also the front man for glam rock group T. Rex Marc Bolan, the original YES singer songwriter Jon Anderson, and a host of other music greats. Some may not know that many of the best hit songs produced by a lengthy list of popular artists involved Rick Wakeman’s masterful performance on keyboards.

Rick Wakeman is famous as soloist, and for his albums with progressive music group YES. The immensely popular albums Fragile, Close To The Edge and live album, Yessongs are just a few. Then there are countless fans like myself who admire Rick Wakeman’s studio and live collaboration albums with YES vocalist and lyricists, Jon Anderson. The two artists as a team are a wildly popular duo during their concert tours together in both the U.S. and UK.

Rick Wakeman’s new album In The Nick Of Time, is a signature style, progressive rock album with 7 songs performed live with the New English Rock Ensemble. The 7 identifiable in style songs on the release are Catherine Parr, Out There, No Earthly Connection, Dance of a Thousand Lights, The Cathedral In The Sky, White Rock & Wurm.

Rick Wakeman’s Biography titled Caped Crusader – Rick Wakeman In The 1970’s by Dan Wooding, with forward written by Elton John is also available at Gonzo Multimedia.

Visit the Rick Wakeman Communications Centre at RWCC.com. To purchase Rick Wakeman – In The Nick Of Time CD and his biography, visit gonzomultimedia.co.uk or Gonzo Multimedia U.S. store. Sample songs at Amazon U.S. store. Cover artwork is courtesy rwcc.com.

List for New Age & World Music Promotional Services.

Being the site host of a popular music blog, I get emails from artists worldwide requesting a contact list for music promoters and marketing services in the New Age, Instrumental and World music genres.

While New Age Music World is a non-profit site in entirety, and I try to remain neutral on who I recommend, I am happy to offer my assistance by providing the names and contact information for the best music promoters and marketing specialists I work with on a regular basis.

I have worked with dozens of music promoters, producers, and public relations persons, by writing reviews or interviewing their clients, so I can tell you there are many excellent music promoters available, in addition to the ones I would like to tell you about today. Nearly everyone I have worked with over the years is a leading professional in regards to their capacity with client based publicity and music promotional services.

Promotional services do vary, as does their marketing strategies, level of assistance, and areas of expertise. Many if not all marketing strategists offer an artist initial phone consultation, to determine an artist’s specific needs, and at what level they can assist best, which lets the artist decide upfront, before promotion begins.

Various levels with marketing strategy can include production, graphics, manufacturing, distribution, licensing, online radio airplay promotion, and an all-inclusive list of client based services for artists wanting to greatly increase their chances with succeeding in the music industry.

The New Age Music Circle Forum, operated by marketing strategist Suzanne Doucet is another organization I would highly recommend for artists wanting to be proactive in their own music promotion. The New Age Music Circle is an international online community forum where artist in the New Age, World Music, and related sub-genres can share music, videos, and post information about special events and participate in discussions on a variety of music related topics.

The Circle Forum is open to everyone, from leading industry professionals and artists, but membership is open to music fans too. The Circle Forum is an excellent place, where artists at every level can enhance their presence in the music industry through self-promotion, regardless of whether they are employing the services of a professional music promoter or not. Visit the New Age Music Circle at NewAgeMusik.Ning.com.

Here is an alphabetized email contact list of the New Age, Instrumental and World Music promoters I have worked with on a regular basis over the years, and would recommend to artists. Please keep in mind there are a number of excellent music promotional services to choose from, so the marketing professionals listed below are the music promoters I know best, and who specialize in the New Age, Instrumental and World music genres. BigStockPhoto.com copyright – Milosluz.

Music Marketing Specialists:

1. LAZZ Promotions – Contact Ed Bonk. Email: lazzpromotions@rogers.com.

2. Only New Age Music – Contact Suzanne Doucet. Email: onlynewagemusic@yahoo.com.

3. The B Company – Contact Beth Ann Hilton. Email: bethhilton@thebcompany.com.

4. The Creative Service Company – Contact Randall Davis. Email: CreatServ9@aol.com.

Award-winning producer Will Ackerman has released a new compilation CD featuring great songs by some of the best artists today. They are an elite group of instrumental artists who enlisted Will Ackerman to produce their albums at his Imaginary Road Studio.

The Gathering is a compilation album of 22 songs on Will Ackerman’s West River Records label. I plan to write a review for The Gathering once I receive the new compilation CD, but I can tell you a little about this release right now since I have already reviewed many of the complete albums in the song list. In the future I will be reviewing more artist’s with albums produced by Will Ackerman at Imaginary Road Studio.

The Gathering is a “best of the best album” since many of the songs selected by Will Ackerman are designated songs from a number of best albums, composed by top-ranked artists in the music recording industry. Famous for the highest quality in music productions, the tradition continues on Will Ackerman’s West River Records label. The artists with reviews at this site, and whose songs are in The Gathering are shown below.

Visit WilliamAckerman.com and find more about these select artists, and purchase The Gathering at CDBaby.com.

Ann Sweeten song Dawn on Red Mountain, from Grey Sky And Bittersweet album.

Devin Rice & Erin Aas song Thyn Ayre, from The Arrival album.

Fiona Joy Hawkins song Feeling Sunshine, from Live At The Q album.

Jeff Oster song Serengeti, from True album.

Kathryn Kaye song Mountain Laurel, from Heavy as a Feather album.

Kori Linae Carothers song Carpe Diem, from Trillium album.

Lawrence Blatt song The Color of Sunshine, from The Color of Sunshine album.

Masako song Glastenbury, Vermont, from Masako album.

Paul Jensen song Taoist Winds, from The Other Side album.

Peter Jennison song Anthem, from Longing From Home album.

Shambhu song Hide and Seek, from Sacred Love album.

Todd Boston song The Brightest Night, from Touched by the Sun album.

Will Ackerman song The Wheel, from New England Roads album.

Blackmore’s Night fans across Europe will have numerous opportunities to attend a Blackmore’s Night concert during the summer months in 2012. The international success for the renaissance inspired band Blackmore’s Night is impressive, with an enormous following in North and South America, Europe and Japan.

Blackmore’s Night has a 2012 concert schedule posted at their site with over a dozen concert venues listed like shown below. Most appearances for Blackmore’s Night are scheduled for Germany, but there are additional concert venues scheduled in Holland, Luxembourg, and the Czech Republic.

On the Blackmore’s Night tour page it is indicated that the dates shown below are the last to be scheduled for 2012, and special seating will be made available to fans wearing renaissance attire until those seats are filled. Enjoy the show by one of the top international concert artists! Visit BlackmoresNight.com for 2012 tour information.

Concert banner is courtesy blackmoresnight.com & Blackmore Productions.

Blackmore’s Night – European Summer Concert Tour 2012;

July 4, 2012 – Abenberg, Germany

July 7, 2012 – Neu Isenburg Hugenottenhalle, Germany

July 8, 2012 – Bonn Beethovenhalle, Germany

July 11, 2012 – Nijmegen Holland, Holland

July 13, 2012 – Essen Philharmonie, Germany

July 16, 2012 – Heidelberg, Germany

July 20, 2012 – Chateau Beaufort, Luxembourg

July 21, 2012 – Rottenburg, Germany

July 27, 2012 – Kloster Buch, Germany

July 29, 2012 – Slavkov, Czech Republic

August 1, 2012 – Steintor Varietee Halle/ Saale, Germany

August 3, 2012 – Berlin Admiralspalast, Germany

August 5, 2012 – Tambacher Sommer/Coburg, Germany

Check blackmoresnight.com tour page for updates and important notices.

Memorial Day is an official federal holiday, in remembrance of Americans who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. The military branches of the U.S.A.F. are comprised of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Forces and the Coast Guard.

Craig Karolus is an independent new age artist whose music I reviewed recently, but Craig Karolus also served in the U.S. Armed Forces for eight years of duty as a medic in the U.S. Army. One day prior to today’s Memorial Day Holiday 2012, he posted a song tribute in remembrance to U.S. veterans.

Honoring American men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice, here is a new YouTube song video titled Veterans. The music video of Veterans consists of formal ceremonial footage at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia.

With a backdrop of soldiers at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and Arlington National Cemetery, the song Veterans begins with trumpet and percussion, before a crescendo to complete orchestra sound, until the closing refrain. The tribute music video Veterans couldn’t be more appropriate. Likewise we salute all United States service members at home and abroad.

Craig Karolus has released two albums. The first is titled Standing On Top and his newest album in 2012 is Family Values. Visit CraigKarolus.com and Craig’s YouTube channel. Photo and video courtesy craigkarolus.com.

Music Review: Collection of Americana Songs.

With the Memorial Day weekend nearing, Americans across the United States will be honoring service men and women who have given their lives while serving their country. Memorial Day is likewise a holiday weekend when people travel across America, and experience the cultural diversity that is present in each of the 50 united states.

Composing pianist Joey Curtin has produced a tribute album about the American experience entitled Soundtrack for America. The release is a wonderful collection of Americana music where she, co-producer Marc Cooper, and guest artists portray the diverse culture we share as Americans musically. Joey Curtin is a great musician as is Marc Cooper, president of Coop Deville Records, and musician who has performed with Steve Howe, Joe Walsh, Jan Ackerman, and other popular artists.

Soundtrack for America, first released in 2008, is a unique album with a diverse portion of music influences which has been featured on Public Radio and Folk Music stations across America and a number of countries. Soundtrack for America is also a music recording recently inducted into the Dolph Brisco History collection in Austin, Texas.

Soundtrack for America is a collection of 13 Americana songs arranged to tell a story by varying music styles, beginning with my favorite melody, The Immigrant Song. The first piano and instrumental song is beautifully performed, and contains elements of cinematic music. You will find Native American music influences present in the song Wampanoag, before traversing a Jazz influence in Swing Low Sweet Chariot.

There are enjoyable versions of the hymns God Bless America, Amazing Grace, and the thunderous Battle Hymn Of The Republic. Although the album was produced several years ago, Soundtrack for America is a wonderful song collection highlighting the cultural diversity of music, people, and places in America.

Joey Curtin’s most current solo piano album entitled Going to California is an excellent cover arrangement of solo piano music by legendary artists like Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Coldplay, Bob Dylan, Steve Winwood and The Who.

Visit JoeyCurtin.com and CoopDeville.com to find Soundtrack for America and to learn more about Joey Curtin and Marc Cooper. Photos are courtesy joeycurtin.com.

Jon Anderson – South America Tour Dates 2012.

Legendary solo artist, and original YES singer and songwriter Jon Anderson, has a summer concert schedule update for 2012. This is great news for fans of the popular music celebrity who has been a highly regarded source of music entertainment for millions of people over his decade’s long career.

Recognized as one of the most identifiable voices in progressive rock music, Jon Anderson is renowned worldwide for his work with YES, Vangelis and Kitaro, in addition to his original solo recordings.

After completing several successful tours of the U.S. and South America, Jon Anderson’s Summer Tour in 2012 is in support of his internationally successful CD album, Survival & Other Stories, and newest digital download entitled OPEN.

People attending a Jon Anderson concert can expect to hear the best material from Jon Anderson’s prolific solo career including Survival & Other Stories, OPEN, collaborations with Vangelis (Jon & Vangelis), and classic YES songs. Concertgoers can expect to hear favorite songs and some new compositions too, during a fun evening of entertainment that includes humorous and inspirational moments, and personal life stories from the legendary artist.

During Jon Anderson’s career as a music professional, Jon has covered popular music like progressive rock, but he shows his versatility as an artist by producing new age, pop, adult contemporary, and Christian music releases too. For many people, the year 2012 is going to be a great opportunity to hear a true music legend in a more intimate concert venue!

On August 8, 2012 Jon Anderson performed in the UK for the first time in many years at the Sadler’s Wells Theater in London. People attending this special concert event heard Jon and the Slovakian Chamber Orchestra perform favorite song classics from YES, Jon & Vangelis, plus new songs in a concert for “Earth and Peace” at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London England.

Visit JonAnderson.com for news and 2012 tour schedule. Read our interview together and my pages for Jon Anderson. Below is Jon Anderson’s current 2012 tour schedule. Concert tour schedules change so visit JonAnderson.com for news and concert tour updates. Concert tour info courtesy jonanderson.com & photo by Tami Freed.

Jon Anderson – South America Concert Tour Dates 2012:

September 11, 2012 – Auditorio Nacional Adela Reta – Montevideo, Uruguay

September 14, 2012 – Teatro Positivo –  Curitiba, Brazil

September 17, 2012 – Teatro Luis Mendonça –  Recife, Brazil

September 19, 2012 – Teatro Castro Alves – Salvador, Brazil

September 21, 2012 – Centro Cultural Joao Nogueira – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

September 26, 2012 – Palacio das Artes – Belo Horizonte, Brazil

September 28, 2012 – Teatro ND Ateneo – Buenos Aires, ARG

September 30, 2012 – Teatro Auditorium – Mar del Plata, ARG

October 3, 2012 – Teatro San Martin – Tucuman, ARG

October 5, 2012 – Teatro Luz y Fuerza – Cordoba, ARG

October 7, 2012 – Teatro Plaza – Mendoza, ARG

October 10, 2012 – Teatro El Circulo – Rosario, ARG

For concert schedule updates visit JonAnderson.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.

New Album: Wires Rosewood & Roots by Bob Ardern.

Finger-style Folk guitarist Bob Ardern brings new harmony to the forefront in his novel 2012 acoustic album arrangement entitled Wires Rosewood & Roots. Finding inspiration from a number of impromptu events that occurred in day to day life, his newest album reveals the improvisational passion in which he composes.

In many ways, Bob Ardern’s new album Wires Rosewood & Roots, transcends the ordinary into an extraordinary blend of 12 beautiful song melodies you will simply have to experience for yourself.

Bob Ardern is an accomplished Folk guitarist, songwriter and singer, but his mastery of finger-style guitar music is the manner in which Wires Rosewood & Roots begin a new form of expression for the talented artist who is skilled on a variety of music genres.

Bob Ardern is a finger-style guitarist with over 25 years of experience as a popular concert musician performing in venues like house concerts, coffee shops, and Folk music festivals especially in Canada where he lives and is widely recognized. There is also a possibility for a U.S. tour in 2012, and into 2013, so a concert announcement will be made once confirmed.

Wires Rosewood & Roots covers 12 original songs, with some songs on the latest album incorporated as new arrangements from two earlier albums in the accustomed Bob Ardern style entitled Come From Away & Returning Home.

Some of the songs feature Bob Ardern as soloist on a Beneteau acoustic guitar, with the balance of instrumentals on various songs by guest artists. Unlike the unrehearsed events that spawned the concept for his newest album, Bob Ardern is always prepared to perform his finger-style acoustic guitar music with the knowledge and familiarity of a seasoned performer. It’s one attribute about Bob Ardern you can always anticipate.

Artists on Wires Rosewood & Roots are Kev Corbett (upright bass, bodhran, cabasa), Alyssa Wright (cello), and David Findlay (drone, bass, piano, and percussion).

Purchase music at BobArdern.ca or find Wires Rosewood & Roots album at iTunes. Photos are courtesy Bruce Dienes & bobardern.ca.

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