I spent the day at Will Ackerman’s Imaginary Road Studios, which is situated near his home in Windham County, Vermont. The studio was built by Will and Grammy Award winning engineer Corin Nelsen (they are both house builders, too) to offer a constant visual connection to nature outside. Arriving 10 minutes prior to our 10 am start time, I had a chance to take in the silence of nature and observe the views of the West River Valley. Inside it’s a guitar player’s dream studio with state-of-the-art Klaus Heine-modified Neumann mics and Hemmingway preamps that cannot be bettered by any studio on the planet. Corin greeted me and Will walked in a few minutes later.
I got set up with my Taylor acoustic and started playing to get in my creative, cosmic flow. Will and Corin spent about 30 minutes listening to the guitar and walking around me hearing for ideal mic placements. Corin talks more about that in this video.
We recorded the guitar on the solo piece, Through the Eyes of a Child. It’s a difficult piece to play as every single note is nuanced and those mics capture every little buzz of the strings plus shirt and button noise, and breathing etc. The performance flowed through perhaps 8 takes and everyone was satisfied.
We took some time for lunch and Will and Corin talked about this incredible studio and the various projects we’re working on and people we know. Fun stuff. We then moved right into Revelation and spent about 2.5 hours laying down the main guitar track that Will also asked me to double. That second guitar had to match the first as perfectly as possible, as the guitar is the bed for this song, a kind of consciousness flow upon which the celestial melody rises. After 9 takes, my left fingers were feeling it, and I was getting mentally tired as we wrapped this tune.
Next up was Together, the ensemble piece, which has a really nice groove that will soon be powered by Tony Levin on bass and Jeff Haynes on percussion. It only took a few takes for me to lay down guitar number one and on Monday we’ll finish up the basic guitar tracks.
At the end of the day Will and Corin asked me to add my name to the the door(s) that artists who record there sign. It’s kind of a right of passage and induction into the family of Will Ackerman artists. What an honor!
As a guitarist, there is something royal about being guided artistically by Will Ackerman who has worked with George Winston, Michael Hedges, Acoustic Alchemy, Jeff Oster and many other truly great players. Dreams do come true!