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Album Review: Positano Songs
Will Ackerman
Cover image of the album Positano Songs by Will Ackerman
Positano Songs
Will Ackerman
2022 / West River Records
46 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Positano Songs, Will Ackerman's first album of all-original music in more than a decade, was born during a trip to Positano, Italy in 2015. A mostly "vertical town" with a maze of "a billion stairs" connecting one place to another, Positano is a cliffside village on southern Italy's Amalfi Coast. It is a place Ackerman has been visiting for decades, and he says that it is "one of the most beautiful places on Earth." It is the setting Will and his wife, Susan, chose for their wedding and is also home to several of Will's closest friends. Always busy with his work as a producer at his own Imaginary Road Studio in Vermont, quite a few years had elapsed since Will had composed any new music, and he felt that if he could become inspired to compose anywhere, it would be in Positano. With a selection of guitars at his disposal, Will says that "piece after heartfelt piece simply materialized. I left Italy a week later with 26 promising musical ideas on video tape." Once he returned home, his work at Imaginary Road postponed the creation of the new album for several years, but here it is!

Will Ackerman plays all of the guitars on the album - three of his favorite guitars - and some of the tracks also feature Charlie Bisharat on violin, Noah Wilding's haunting vocals, Tom Eaton on piano and bass (as well as production), Eugene Friesen on cello, and/or Jeff Oster on flugelhorn. The tone of the album is consistently relaxed and serene. The CD version includes a booklet with introductory notes and comments about each piece written by Will, as well as several photos. It's a beautiful package! The album will be released on vinyl later this year.

Positano Songs begins with "Nighttime in the Chapel," an acoustic guitar solo that reflects on a midnight visit to the chapel where Will and Susan were married - a very peaceful start! "Our Wedding Song" features guitars, violin, voices and bass in a silky-smooth bit of musical sunshine - also very serene. "Did I Dream This" is a whisper of a piece inspired by waking up in the middle of the night to the light of an "impossibly huge moon in the bedroom" and hearing a deeply haunting song (still unidentified) in the distance. "For Carmine" is a gorgeous tribute to a great friend and a longtime relationship that becomes ever more meaningful. Guitars, cello and bass beautifully express the warmth and grace of this special friendship. "The Tyrrhenian Sea" recalls standing on the beach late at night, watching the lights of the anchored boats gently rocking in the water. Guitar, cello, piano and bass capture the tranquility of those perfect moments when everything seems right with the world. "Passing Baldo's Tower" expresses a similar kind of serenity, this time featuring guitars, violin, piano and bass - hypnotic! As it started, Positano Songs closes with a haunting guitar solo, "I Had To Go There" - a perfect ending!

Positano Songs provides almost an hour of soothing, peaceful guitar music sure to brighten and uplift anyone's day. CDs are available from WilliamAckerman.com and Amazon, and downloads and streaming are available from Amazon and Apple/iTunes as well as various other streaming sites. It's a musical event that was worth waiting for!
March 18, 2022
This review has been tagged as:
Grammy NomineesGuitar music
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