Will Ackerman

Returning: Pieces for Guitar 1970-2004

Marketing Highlights

Universally recognized as the preeminent pioneer in the new age music movement… and the founder of Windham Hill Records.

Will Ackerman's 2005 Grammy award winning recording, "Returning: Pieces for Guitar 1970-2004" is being released for the first time on 180g vinyl. In 2004, after years of growth and introspection, Ackerman re-recorded an album of his best-known songs. A greatest hits collection of all new performances. Will's goal was to take a series of 11 favorite songs and record them for posterity in a way that reflects the emotional nuances, precision, and maturing beauty they've picked up along the road.

Will spoke at the time of the recording about why he wanted to make the album. "Today I'm recording in my own Imaginary Road Studios in Windham County, Vermont on utterly state of the art digital equipment. It all brings me closer to what I hear as I sit alone and play; touching the sound as it literally moves through my body as well as my ears. I guess I am trying to find a sound that lets you hear what I hear."

He includes the graceful and lushly melodic "The Bricklayer's Beautiful Daughter," the sweet and melancholy "Anne's Song" (inspired by working with fellow genre legends Alex de Grassi and Michael Hedges), and two peaceful early gems from 1970, "Pictures" and "Barbara's Song." Some were written as celebrations ("Unconditional"), others as elegies ("The Impending Death of the Virgin Spirit"), but all are intricate snapshots of a vastly influential musical life that keeps inventive to this day.


Will Ackerman was born in 1949 and grew up in Palo Alto, California, the son of a Stanford English professor. He lived in Germany for a year and attended school in Western Massachusetts from 1964-67 which was when he discovered Windham County of Southern Vermont. It was during this time that Will first began to play steel string guitar and learned about open tunings (the basis of his composition) from roommate Jim Baldwin. While music had always been a big part of his life, there was no thought of pursuing music as either an academic or career goal. Playing music for Stanford University theater productions and finding a small audience while hosting impromptu concerts in reverberative spaces around the university, Will decided to honor the requests of friends and a very small legion of fans by recording his first record, The Search for the Turtle’s Navel, in 1976. Seen as a private release only, the first pressing of the record was 300 copies, the covers for which were printed by friends and glued onto plain white record covers. Fate entered as Will ran into his childhood friend, Michael Kilmartin, on the street in Palo Alto. Michael had been the much-looked-up-to older kid who had, in fact, first put a guitar into Will’s hands when Will was 12. Catching up on their lives, Will revealed the release of his record and Michael countered with the fact that he was doing radio promotion work for a fledgling record label in the East Bay, Fantasy Records (which debuted with the massively successful Creedence Clearwater Revival). Kilmartin delivered ten of Ackerman’s records to radio stations around the country, which resulted in airplay in Seattle, Portland, Boston, Denver and the San Francisco Bay Area. This led to independent distribution and the inescapable conclusion that a record label had been born, Windham Hill Records. Ackerman’s first paying gig was at the Seattle Opera House in front of 3,700 people. While Ackerman was the president, CEO, and finally Chairman of Windham Hill he was also a musician and producer, recording 10 of his own CDs over the years to glowing reviews and performing in concert in many countries. He was throughout his career at Windham Hill the head of A&R. It was Will who signed and produced the music of George Winston, Michael Hedges, Liz Story, Alex de Grassi and created the massively successful Windham Hill Samplers and Winter’s Solstice collections. He continued as principal producer for the label from 1976- 1992, shepherding the music of individual artists into the world.

Today Ackerman is producing musicians out of his state of the art recording studio, Imaginary Road Studios, in Vermont. Seven of the ten highest rated albums ever reported by ZMR (Zone Music Reporter), including the #1 and #2 positions are Will Ackerman productions.

Will has been nominated many times for a Grammy and won a Grammy Award in 2004 for Returning. He continues to release his music on his own label, West River Records.


Side 1
Bricklayer’s Beautiful Daughter
Anne’s Song
The Impending Death of the Virgin Spirit
Hawk Circle
Side 2
Barbara’s Song
In a Region of Clouds
Last Day at the Beach

Home Market

Brattleboro, Vermont - USA

Album Details


Will Ackerman

Album Title

Returning: Pieces for Guitar 1970-2004

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3% (ends 05/11/2017)


New Age


Audio Fidelity


Vinyl Longplay 33 1/3

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