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January 1, 2011 | Format: MP3

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Product Details

  • Original Release Date: January 1, 2011
  • Release Date: January 1, 2011
  • Label: The Mary's Tree
  • Copyright: 2004 William Ackerman
  • Total Length: 52:40
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B005DJJ9S2
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #77,430 Paid in Albums (See Top 100 Paid in Albums)

Customer Reviews

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See all 25 customer reviews
It is an incredible piece of work from a talented artist.
A. M. Dalessandro
He has gone back and allowed the essence of the music to emerge as a good port will develop only with the passage of time.
Marc D. Waldman
I would recommend this cd to anyone, even if they're not a fan of this type of music.
Josh M. Martinez

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Steve Vrana HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on February 8, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Will Ackerman and the label he founded, Windham Hill, helped usher in the era of new age music. While I've never felt comfortable with that name, I have been a fan of Ackerman's quiet, introspective playing since his 1976 debut. IN SEARCH OF THE TURTLE'S NAVEL. He has never been an overly prolific writer, having only released ten albums over the past 28 years. His latest, RETURNING, is his first release on his newly founded label Mary's Tree. [He has since sold Windham Hill.]

This is essentially a solo guitar album, although one track--"Hawk Circle"--is a duet with longtime colleague David Cullen. In addition, these are reinterpretations of songs that he has previously recorded. In fact, "Hawk Circle" appears on several albums both in a duet and trio format.

So what does Ackerman bring new to these songs? It varies from song to song. On perhaps his best known song, "The Bricklayer's Beautiful Daughter," its simply a matter of time and perspective. He says of the initial recording, "It was done by a young man who was very nervous in the studio...I managed to play the notes in 1977, but the nuances and dynamics of the piece were unknown to me." On others he reworks songs that were originally recorded in an ensemble setting like "Visiting."

Ackerman also shares details of each of these songs, oftentimes intimate details that bring a new perspective to the work. For example, he confides that "The Impending Death of the Virgin Spirit" was a song he wrote to "capture the innocence" of his childhood that night before his mother committed suicide when he was twelve.

While Ackerman acknowledges the influence of John Fahey (check out some of his early album and song titles), his playing never had the edge that Fahey brought to his work. What Ackerman's guitar playing possesses is a haunting beauty that is nothing short of breathtaking. For Ackerman's fans this is a very satisfying album. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By J. Blilie on November 24, 2004
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I own every one of Will's records, except for the (first) Windham Hill retrospective compilation. I first heard Will's music in the (very) early 80's: "It Takes a Year." I was instantly hooked. It is no exaggeration to say that Will's music is the reason I am now a classical and fingerstyle guitar player and a guitar builder.

This record takes you to the the heart and soul of Will's music. As he says in the liner notes, he is a different (and better) guitar player and producer than he was when he originally recorded these pieces for Windham Hill (BMG owns the rights to those recordings now). So he decided that having a look back at his resume and having another chance to get more from the pieces was needed. He also says that he wanted to record pieces that really had his own sound, not too much of the sound of the players who have influenced him (Fahey, Basho, Kottke) and he succeeds there as well.

All solo except one duet track with another guitarist, this record is the naked emotion from Will's deep well. He has honed his production skills since starting Windham Hill in the 70's and now he is second to none in recording acoustic steel string, as this record amply demonstrates. The playing and recording are beautiful, simple, powerful.

This record includes the slower, more moody pieces from Will's repertoire. If you are looking for the fast stuff like "Seattle" or the ensemble sound of most of his recent albums they're not here.

I am anxiously looking forward to the publishing of his book, currently in work.
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33 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Marc Ruby™ HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on October 13, 2004
Format: Audio CD
I was sitting down to review I book I had just read, and I put on Will Ackerman's latest album, Returning. I'd never played it before, and there, fingers poised over the keyboard, my brain forgot to breathe for fifty minutes. Each of the pieces is a careful re-recording of what are inarguably some of Ackerman's finest compositions.

It's like looking out a window at the garden and suddenly discovering that the greens are richer, the trees taller, and the day goes on forever. I loved these works before, and now that Will has taken the time to show what he really wanted to say they are even more dear. The Bricklayer's Beautiful Daughter is exquisite, and one follows right on the heels of the other.

The pace is slow here, the older Ackerman as attentive to the spaces between the notes as he is to the shape of the notes themselves - deeply introspective. Suddenly Pictures makes surprising sense and you can hear the longing in Barbara's Song. This is one of those rare times when your trusty reviewer wants to reach out from the monitor and shake the reader. If you have any interest in fine contemporary guitar work, buy this album.
If there is a heaven for portly rabbits there will be an easy chair, a tall glass of carrot wine, and a grand stereo system playing this album.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Paul A. Scofield on January 6, 2005
Format: Audio CD
For those of you familiar with Ackerman's other work and wondering what to expect from this disc, imagine his 'greatest hits' (essentially) played with the approach and sound of 'Wind Driven Rain.' At first, I admit that these songs took a bit of getting used to, and I didn't like the idea of reworking old songs...I often found myself 'hearing' the original version of the song. The biggest 'problem' here is that this cd is (nearly) entirely Will solo, whereas many of the songs here originally appeared as ensemble pieces. Yet, once you can embrace these songs for what they are, you see that they are exceptional ('achingly beautiful' is more accurate). What marks Will's approach today from his playing in the 80s is that he varies volume and tempo to a greater degree, and in so doing, adds greater depth and emotion to these exquisite compositions. For those who are new to Will Ackerman's music, this is a great place to start. Nonetheless, the ensemble versions of these songs will rest, in my opinion, exceptional versions, too. Childhood and Memory (1979), Passage (1981), and Past Light (1983) have some incredibly moving moments, as well...enjoy.
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