“THREE AND A HALF GREAT GUITARISTS IN ONE CONCERT !!!
These are going to be GREAT CONCERTS !!! 4 of us will be in concert. Todd Mosby, an absolutely brilliant guitarist who plays a wide variety of styles, but is considerably influenced by the music of India will be on stage, as will Trevor Gordon Hall who is THE young phenom out there today… while incredibly dynamic as a performer his music is never about simple gymnastics… this guy is all about heart. Todd Boston is one of the best and most soulful guitarists drawing breath on the planet today. And, yes, they're allowing me to play too ! I just squeaked in, but managed to make the team !!!
These are all musicians I've been honored to produce. This will be as good a night of guitar playing as you could hope for. I know I'm very much looking forward to it !! !
Universally recognized as the preeminent pioneer in the new age music movement, and the founder of Windham Hill Records, Will Ackerman's career spans more than three decades of remarkable vision, single-minded determination, fervent business savvy, and "a thorough love of the mystery of making music." The glory years at Windham Hill with Ackerman at the helm launched the recording careers of an abundant list of acoustic instrumentalists, many of whom became household names. The primary influence Windham Hill cast on contemporary music over the last three decades of the 20th century emanated from folk roots, the acoustic guitar, and the piano. This legacy remains with Ackerman in a uniquely prolific and peerless career.
From a distance, Will's life is anything but ordinary. Yet upon closer examination, the strongest, most colorful threads in the fabric of who he is are traditionally held values and pursuits almost anyone would consider commonplace. The reality is Ackerman's success is predicated on doing traditional things untraditionally well.
Will lives on a large spread of land in Windham County, Vermont outside Brattleboro.
There, on sprawling acreage among well-tended, expansive gardens sits a coterie of New England-style buildings collectively called The Compound. Amid the primary residence, the barn, the bakery, Screen House, The James, The Dream Garage, the potting shed and The Tower, stands Imaginary Road Studios, a three-story structure and state-of-the-art recording facility.
In 1972 he founded Windham Hill Builders, the sister company that chronologically parallels Windham Hill Records. Of his 40-year career as a builder Will says, "The vision of completely constructed buildings is so tangible to me, formal plans aren't really necessary." His vision for Imaginary Road Studios was designed around the breathtaking scenery of the West River Valley in full view from the studio's core creating a naturally serene chamber for recording sessions.
The walls of Imaginary Road are lined with gold, platinum, and multi-platinum records representing the millions of albums sold when Windham Hill Records rose to prominence. The first of these is George Winston's 1980 solo piano release titled, Autumn. This album played a pivotal role in Ackerman's life on a wide continuum speaking to the beginning of his career and the transformation of Windham Hill Records from a cottage industry into a corporate giant; but ultimately to Ackerman's gifts as a producer. His ability to distinguish music that resonates on a deeply fundamental level with a wide variety of listeners has never wavered; it's only gotten better with age.
Imaginary Road Studios is a feverish hub of activity, with a revolving door of acoustic instrumentalists from across the country, and increasingly, from around the world. Piano and guitar continue to be the most popular solo instruments recorded and produced under Ackerman's direction; and a stable of studio musicians are frequently called in to add color, texture, and depth to projects filling an increasingly demanding production schedule.
If impresario seems too strong a word to describe the unique abilities Ackerman brings to the craft of music making, it isn't far off. It's his reputation and the impressive list of recording artists who continue to seek him out that gives him carte blanche in taking projects through layers of development resulting in beautifully produced volumes of work.
Since the time he was 12 years old, music has played an essential role in Will's life, but he never intended to pursue it seriously. Folk music was a primary impetus and early influence. The Kingston Trio, Joan Baez, Leo Kottke, and John Fahey contributed greatly to Will's love for live acoustic music.
Will was 16 when he first discovered the music of Erik Satie (1866-1925), a major musical influence in Ackerman's life. The avant-garde French composer and pianist was a contemporary of Debussy, Ravel and Poulenc; and of the four, Satie was the most spare in his compositions. "While Ravel and Debussy were engaged in flowery romantic impressionism, Satie was like a Zen garden of simplicity," Will says. "Satie was, and still is unlike anything I've ever heard which is praise enough. His music is very brave. Stripped back and so essential, it haunts me.”
Jim Baldwin, Will's prep school roommate, introduced him to open guitar tunings that later became the foundation for Ackerman's style of composition. Rick Smolan, who created the immensely popular, "Day in the Life" photography series for Time Life Books, was another prep school classmate responsible for taking the first photo of Will holding a guitar in 1967. Robbie Basho is credited with giving Will "the short version" of guitar lessons as a nice way of saying Will resisted learning to read music. Instead of forcing Will to learn theory, Basho put an emphasis on the emotional value of music. This is a lesson Ackerman apparently took to heart as he has always asserted, "Music, for me, is primarily an emotional experience rather than an intellectual endeavor."
During this time, he played music for Stanford University theater productions and developed a small audience who gathered for impromptu solo concerts in campus doorways and stairwells. The reflective nature of Will's instrumental music emerging in the post-Woodstock era, and just prior to the heart thumping, electronic disco age was best captured in a Billboard review written years later. "The music of Will Ackerman has that timeless introspection that has made his music so enduring.”
Ackerman intended his debut to be a limited run of 300 LPs, a notion fashioned somewhat after John Fahey's 1959 debut, Blind Joe Death, a limited edition of 95 copies. Through the efforts of Will's childhood friend, Michael Kilmartin, Turtle's Navel received heavy airplay on Seattle radio station, KZAM prompting Ackerman's first paid performance; and perhaps more importantly, the first new age concert. At the height of the disco era, 3,700 people attended Ackerman's solo guitar performance in the Seattle Opera House.
The unconventional success of Turtle's Navel laid the foundation for what would lie ahead. Windham Hill Records quickly became the consummate business model for the independent record business with other major labels attempting to capitalize on the overarching, multi-million dollar success Ackerman achieved through sheer determination and true grit. Windham Hill was David to the recording industry's Goliath. At every turn the industry smugly implied something couldn't or shouldn't be done, Ackerman made sure it happened his way, on his terms.
There is a story written somewhere about Ackerman meeting with Winston in the late 1970s to discuss a recording project for Windham Hill a few years after Winston's debut Ballads and Blues, on John Fahey's Takoma Records went unnoticed. Winston and Ackerman were negotiating a slack key guitar recording after a year of correspondence. At the end of the day, Ackerman ended up bunking on Winston's couch; and George asked if he could play some piano music before heading off to sleep. Ackerman instantly realized he'd heard folk piano for the first time; or what Winston now calls "rural folk piano". Ackerman immediately dismissed the idea for the guitar recording in favor of Autumn, an idea that took some compromise before the two agreed.
Will discovered another monster talent in acoustic guitarist, Michael Hedges, at the Varsity Theater, a Palo Alto cafe. Urban legend has it Ackerman immediately jotted out a recording contract on a paper napkin so impressed with what he'd heard. Breakfast in the Field (1981) and Aerial Boundaries (1984) both produced by Ackerman, are considered milestone recordings for acoustic guitar. Aerial Boundaries was nominated for a Grammy Award - a first for Hedges, and for Windham Hill as well. That Michael's music was organic, his own utterly free, genre-defying style is what Ackerman's brand has come to stand for.
Under Ackerman's tutelage, Windham Hill Records became a leading brand of distinction, an unprecedented accomplishment for an independent label. Will was invited to lecture at the business schools of Harvard, Yale and Stanford. He taught independent seminars on the basic principles of the recording industry, as well as classes at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York.
Among his many accomplishments, Ackerman is a beloved, Grammy Award-winning recording artist with twelve recordings in his discography. Since his debut in 1976, Will released a new album about once every two to three years until 1992. The next three consecutive releases, Sound of Wind Driven Rain (1998), Hearing Voices (2001), and Returning (2004) were all nominated for Grammy Awards in the New Age category. On February 13, 2005, Returning won the Best New Age Grammy Award.
He writes, "Returning was an opportunity to capture my career as I hope it will be remembered. These are new recordings of my favorite pieces spanning 35 years of music writing. Over years of performing these pieces, they've evolved nuance that was invisible to me then. I honestly had to make this record for myself…the Grammy Award only proved to me that it had worked for others as well.”
Will was born November 16, 1949, in Palo Alto, California, the adopted son of Robert and Mary Ackerman. From 1964 to 1967 Will attended Northfield Mount Hermon School, a private college prep school in western Massachusetts where he was a competitive swimmer, and a poet. He majored in English and History at Stanford University before founding his general contracting firm, Windham Hill Builders in 1972, and Windham Hill Records in 1976.
Read Will's full bio, the history and background of one of the primary figures in the music industry.
He was there at critical moments in music history to help usher in the new ways we perceive, listen, present, perform purchase and ultimately bring music into our every day lives.
Learn about Will's history in the industry, Windham Hill and the artists against beautiful images and clips of Will performing some of his more memorable compositions.
A guitarist's guitarist, Mosby is a 2x Global Music Award Recipient and made it on the 2017 Grammy Ballot in three categories.
Broadcast on radio stations throughout the world and licensed on a global platform, Mosby's current album “On Eagle Mountain” entered at #3 on the ZMR Top 100 Chart for 2016 and placed in the top 10 albums of the year on the ZMR charts. Mosby was also nominated in 2017 for Best Acoustic Instrumental Album and Best New Artist by ZMR, and Best Acoustic Guitar Album by One World Music.
Todd Mosby is a seeker and learner who believes in the transformative power of music. He explores a life of creative purposefulness, sharing his knowledge and innovations along the way—in all his pursuits, that’s his missive.
"I compose music to share with others, musicians and audiences alike, so they might in turn express an emotional, heartfelt connection to their environment, personal well being and others."
Mosby’s vibrant creativity has led to numerous innovations in music spanning inventive compositions, imaginative technical books for guitar, co-creating a new instrument (the Imrat guitar), to an assortment of products which enrich and enhance artistic expression. "In my householdgrowing up, there was always this freedom to go your own way. It was 'You can do whatever you put your mind to!'" the St. Louis, Missouri based artist says. 'Why not build an instrument? Why not be a guitar player but play Indian music?' It wasn’t rebelliousness, it was curiosity and passion."
He is an innovative guitarist, composer & improvisor who creates an intriguing combination of new age, jazz, folk and world music.
“His knowledge of Indian music is quickly apparent, but his virtuosity in and love of jazz is equally present; along with a graceful ease in bluegrass and folk music tradition." - Will Ackerman, Founder Windham Hill Records
Currently, Mosby is beginning his second album production in November 2017 with Will Ackerman, just premiered an orchestration of Eagle Mountain with the University City Symphony, his touring New Horizons Ensemble will be performing Fall dates in the midwest at various PAC and Opera Houses ( see calendar) and has a video campaign running which is gaining much traction.
...“unique” is not a word I throw out easily or frequently. Sometimes, however, it’s apt; as it is with Todd Mosby.” -
Schooled in composition, guitar and improvisation from Berklee College of Music and live music performance from Tom Jackson Productions, Todd Mosby delivers a transformative concert which engages audiences.
“Todd is one of the most innovative musicians of this century…he has mastered the two great mountains of music.” -Ustadt Imrat Khan, India’s greatest living Ustadt.
Mosby is the only guitarist ever admitted into the famed Imdad Khani Gharana of sitar musicians and considered as one of the finest jazz guitarist in the Saint Louis area, headlining area jazz festivals.
and Imrat Guitar Introduction
Rated one of the top 30 guitarists in the world under 30 years of age by Acoustic Guitar magazine, Trevor Gordon Hall is an instrumentalist from Philadelphia whose compositions range in style from edgy driving rhythms to soft melodic phrases. Trevor sets himself apart by leaving no physical aspect of the guitar untouched and weaving together different textures into grand yet intimate and lyrical compositions. His blend of sounds never overcomplicates but focuses on utilizing the instrument’s fullest creative and compositional potential guiding listeners through an igniting experience of music that isn’t just heard but felt.
Trevor has gained the respect of some of the most trusted and legendary names in the music business and his genre with nods of approval from Graham Nash, Steve Hackett, Billy Cobham, Dar Williams, Will Ackerman, Don Ross, Andy McKee, Phil Keaggy and more. Between his live show, his albums and his custom instrument, Trevor has earned an international growing fanbase that has allowed him to tour throughout North America and Europe. Trevor has also been featured on various national radio stations including NPR and national and international television networks including NBC, PBS and German national television.
At the start of his career, Trevor caught the eye of 9 time Grammy award winning producer Joe Nicolo (James Taylor, Billy Joel, Bob Dylan, etc.), who produced two of Trevor’s releases, Finding My Way and Let Your Heart Be Light, in 2008 and 2009.
Then in 2010, inspired by his studies and always on the hunt for new sounds to utilize, Trevor collaborated with various builders to design an instrument combining an african finger piano (kalimba) and an acoustic guitar. The instrument combination, which Trevor calls the “Kalimbatar”, has opened up new possibilities for solo instrumental music. Compositions inspired by the pairing of the two instruments were first introduced in previous releases but fully realized in Trevor’s Candyrat Records debut Entelechy. Upon its release in 2011, this album rapidly climbed the iTunes Singer/Songwriter charts, as well as YouTube Top Commented/Top Favorited/Most Discussed categories gathering millions of views with the release of performance videos. This enabled Trevor to start touring throughout the USA, Canada, England, Wales, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Holland and more.
In the next few years leading up to his 2014 album Mind Heart Fingers, Trevor redesigned and fine-tuned the Kalimbatar with the help of master luthier Sheldon Schwartz. Trevor recorded with his new instrument at Imaginary Road Studios in VT with Grammy winning and long time hero Will Ackerman. Mind Heart Fingerswas the result of a unique experience created between Will, Tom Eaton and Trevor, to capture a heart-felt recording honoring the guitar tradition which Windham Hill helped to found, while looking forward to what is next for the guitar scene. This project reached #4 on the ZMR international radio charts and was nominated for best instrumental acoustic album of the year by the ZMR awards.
Constantly working on new sounds and possibilities, Trevor released the first of an EP series entitled Kalimbatar Classics Vol. 1in 2015 featuring his arrangements of classical piano standards for the Kalimbtar. Moving from that into the electronic world in his 2016 release Late Night with Headphones Vol. 1, Trevor introduced his listeners to new sounds incorporating electric guitar and electronic textures.
Trevor is an artist on a mission to ride the line between being adventurous and accessible. As Grammy winning Will Ackerman has said “…Trevor has a stunning range stylistically while being made cohesive by the power of Trevor’s artistic voice and vision...a guitarist we will need to pay attention to…”, and guitarist Don Ross agrees, “…Trevor has a timeless sense of melody, and he creates some of the richest sonic textures you're likely to hear from any contemporary composer/guitarist…”
Watch and view Trevor as he performs his version of Clair De Lune on Kalimbatar, absolutely fascinating.
“Vin Downes is a brilliant guitarist and a heart-felt composer.” ~ Will Ackerman, Grammy Award Winning Producer
Downes’ music has ranked in the top 10 of the ZMR Radio Airplay Chart and reached #1 on the One World Music Album Chart. He was a ZMR nominee for Best Instrumental Album - Acoustic in 2015. His music can be heard on radio stations worldwide.
Vin Downes is a composer and finger style guitarist who has released four studio albums, two of which were produced by Grammy Award winning guitarist and producer, Will Ackerman and award winning engineer/producer, Tom Eaton. He has performed nationally as a soloist and as a member of “The Gathering” - A Concert Series presented by Will Ackerman.
He has recorded and performed with musicians including Will Ackerman, David Cullen, Tom Eaton, Eugene Friesen, Tony Levin, Michael Manring, Liz Story.
“Just beautiful. I love the way you play…really fine touch…and you swing!” ~ David Crosby, Crosby Stills & Nash
"Todd Boston is a brilliant guitarist and it seems there’s nothing under the sun he can’t make a beautiful noise with. The world’s a better place for his gift." - Will Ackerman, Founder Windham Hill Records
Todd Boston is a composer, guitarist/multi instrumentalist and producer that defies what is possible for one musician.
Todd fuses advanced finger style guitar techniques, wood flute, percussion and instruments of the world together with live looping and computer technology in an organic and mesmerizing sound marrying together his love of music, nature and technology.
He has toured internationally reaching audiences in the United States, Europe, Russia, India, Canada, Mexico, Central and South America. As a performer for concert audiences, festivals, yoga classes or at the bedside of hospital patients, Todd invokes the feelings of nature in his melodic, and rhythmic playing to inspire and soothe his listeners.
His album Touched by the Sun produced with Grammy winner Will Ackerman (Windham Hill Records) was chosen Best Acoustic Instrumental Album of the Year at the 2012 ZMR Music Awards and charted #1 on the World/New Age listening charts.
He has worked and performed with greats such as, Will Ackerman (Windham Hill), Alex Degrassi, Barbara Higbie, Michael Manring, Snatam Kaur, Ramesh Kannan, Tony Levin (legendary bassist of Peter Gabriel) to name a few.