The Gathering

2012 ZMR Album Of The Year Award  (various artists sampler release by Will Ackerman)

West River Records (2012)

What Goes Around...

Twenty years ago compilation albums were de rigueur. Labels like Narada, Windham Hills and Higher Octave all had occasional offerings of their artists' best works. Some were seasonal like Winter Solstice and some were collections by instrument or subject e.g. The Bach Variations and Passion - Music of The Guitar. It was a way for listeners to get a good sampling and make choices while being entertained. The tradition lives on in producer Will Ackerman's recording, The Gathering. The legendary guitarist and founder of Windham Hills present twenty two extraordinary musicians on various instruments to delight the new listener as well as the old. I was fortunate to review many of these fine artists, so I will stick to the ones I have not. Every track is worth hearing as they represent the contemporary instrumental music genre at its best. This is Ackerman's freshman debut of the West River Records label and frankly, he could not have chosen any better. I am not sure if this album is purely acoustic, but there are not a lot of electric-powered instruments involved. Another plus.

Glastenbury, VT by Masako is delightful glimpse into the Norman Rockwell age of America using solo piano as the medium. With a nod to George Gershwin, Masako's composition wipes away the years and takes you to a place at the foot of the Green Mountains. It is a bygone era when dusty back roads got you from here to there, neighbors invited you in for iced tea and evenings were an opportunity to visit and talk without the use of electronic devices. Masako's rendering is sharp and clear.

One of my immediate favorites on The Gathering is a song by guitarist Rudy Perrone called The Prophet. It is one of those tunes that, once you have heard it, just do not fade into memory and I for one really want to know the story behind it. Perhaps it is a tune of disbelief as in "I once met a man who said I would", kind of thing. The easy going tune is beautiful in its simplicity, but the principal behind it remains complex. I love a good mystery.

Todd Boston contributes a lighthearted tune called The Brightest Night. He uses gentle guitar and a sweet serving of violin, and the song sparkles intensely. It is a tale of the warmest breeze, the darkest sky, and the most dazzling stars that Nature could muster all in the name of eternal romance.

Pianist Rocky Fretz weighs in with a heartfelt tune titled Kim's Song. The solo piano ballad gently rolls along in your mind like an old time vignette. It is a walk along the path with hands held and fingers laced. It is the smile that lingers and that makes the earnest impression on the heart. This is the sound of a memory being born.

Livia's Song by solo pianist Denise Young is a lento waltz that uses baby steps for the most part. Gentle, sweet and warm this song is a dance on daddy’s shoes kind of song with pretty ballerinas and afternoon teas with friends that are stuffed rather than animated. The song is also somewhat nostalgic in its melody, but that is a good thing as it brings back memories of the superlative kind.

I could easily learn to play Forever, a song by guitarist Ken Verheecke. I say that because the tune is quite simple, but the implications are astounding. I have to admit that I found the song to be sad, but not in a way created by despair, but rather by melancholy. There is a subdued sweetness to the tune that suggests promises made and love formed in the deepest place of the heart. The song would be right at home as a theme to a love story or a daytime drama. I listened to this song so many times that I think I could play it the way it was meant to be…by heart.

And finally blessed with abundant innate talent, producer Will Ackerman contributes a tune from his New England Roads album called The Wheel. I always thought that the wheel is the part that touches the road and carries you endlessly to places uncharted. Ackerman extraordinary guitar playing paired with a lush violin score by Steve Schuch allows the mind make endless discoveries. This album is highly recommended.

- reviewed by RJ Lannan on 1/20/2013

The Gathering is a handpicked collection of songs from 22 artists recently produced by Grammy winning guitarist and founder of Windham Hill Records, Will Ackerman at his Imaginary Road Studios in Vermont.

Released June 19, 2012

1. MASAKO Glastenbury, Vermont (3:22)
From her album MASAKO
Masako : piano
P 2012 Masako
In the Green Mountains of Vermont, which is now my chosen home, is the ghost town of Glastenbury.
I hope my song captures the mystery of this place from which people have vanished and Bigfoot has been sighted.

2. PAUL JENSEN Taoist Winds (2:41)
edited version
From his album THE OTHER SIDE
Paul Jensen guitar, Eugene Friesen cello,
Noah Wilding vocals, Corin Nelsen Ting Sha bells
P 2008 Paul Jensen (BMI)

3. STANTON LANIER Bread of Angels (4:00)
edited version
From his album A THOUSAND YEARS
Stanton Lanier piano, Noah Wilding vocals
Selection Stanton Lanier (BMI)
P 2011 Music to Light the World, Inc.
Inspired by Psalm 78:24-25 and dependence for daily provision, which is like manna from heaven.

4. KATHRYN KAYE Mountain Laurel (3:44)
From her album HEAVY AS A FEATHER
Kathryn Kaye piano
Selection Overland Mountain Music (BMI)
P 2011 Kathryn Kaye
“The simple melody in this song first came to me many years ago while I was living in Kentucky.
At Imaginary Road studio, on the last day of recording Heavy as a Feather, the song blossomed (much like the Mountain Laurel) into its current form.
It’s now one of my favorite compositions.”

5. RUDY PERRONE The Prophet (2:13)
Rudy Perrone guitar, Michael Manring fretless bass
P 2007 Rudy Perrone (BMI)

Feeling Sunshine (2:23)
edited version
From her album BLUE DREAM
Fiona Joy Hawkins piano, Michael Jackson
didgebone, Will Ackerman electric guitar, T-Bone Wolk bass, Derrik Jordan percussion
Published Larrikin Music Pty Ltd
P 2008 Fiona Joy Hawkins

7. JEFF OSTER Serengeti (4:14)
edited version
From his album TRUE
Jeff Oster flugelhorn, synthesizer & loop
programming, Keith Carlock drums, T Bone Wolk bass, Philip Aaberg synthesizers, Samite vocals.
P 2008 Retso Music (ASCAP)
There are places in the world where things still run wild and free. I hope you can feel the soul of the Serengeti in this music.

8. DEAN BOLAND Intimacy (Into Me See) (2:26)
From his album SOUL WHISPERS
Dean Boland piano, Jill Haley English horn
P 2011 bolandmusic
Intimacy is allowing others to see our true selves…into me see.

9. FRANK SMITH Porch with a View (3:06)
edited version
From his album GARDENS OF HOPE
Frank Smith guitar, Eugene Friesen cello,
Jill Haley English horn, T Bone Wolk bass
Open Tunes Music (BMI)
P 2007 Frank Smith
I write instrumental songs that tell stories which allow my listeners to feel my music through their own emotions and experiences.
This piece was written while sitting on my porch with Mt. Washington in front of me, showing off it’s new blanket of Fall snow. It was magical.

10. TODD BOSTON The Brightest Night (4:20)
edited version
From his album TOUCHED BY THE SUN
Todd Boston guitar, Charlie Bisharat violin
Eugene Friesen cello, Jeff Haynes percussion
Aaron Sterling drums
P 2012 Todd Boston (ASCAP)
Thanks to Will Ackerman and the musicians
who contributed to this track and played
with their pure heart and soul !

11. ROCKY FRETZ Kim’s Song (4:15)
Rocky Fretz piano
P 2009 Rocky Fretz
In honor of and inspired by my one true love..Kimberly.

12. SHAMBHU Hide and Seek (3:33)
From his album SACRED LOVE
Shambhu Guitar, Claytoven Richardson Lead Vocal,Tony Levin Bass, Jeff Haynes Percussion, Michael Denten Background Vocal
P 2011 Shambhu Ltd. (BMI)
As paths converge, the lover and beloved merge, the struggle falls away, and Light shines and emerges anew.
We prepare, each of us, for the unexpectedness of the vast, all-encompassing journey to liberation or happiness.

13. KORI LINAE CAROTHERS Carpe Diem (3:53)
From her album TRILLIUM
Kori Linae Carothers synthesizer/programming,
Vocals performed, arranged and produced by Aeone ,David Cullen guitar, Will Ackerman guitar,
Jeff Haynes percussion, Jim McCarty drums,
Jeff Silverman bass, sound design and production.
Selection iRoknNod Records (BMI)
P 2009 Kori Linae Carothers
I like a new day to seize the moments in life. This song inspires: To take those moments and Live!

14. PETER JENNISON Anthem (2:34)
Peter Jennison piano, Jeff Haynes percussion
P 2010 Peter Jennison
Music can bring peace to our world…it’s up to
us to listen...Thank you everyone, near and far.
Peter Jennison Music at

15. DENISE YOUNG Livia’s Song (3:13)
edited version
Denise Young piano
Selection Dancing Horses Music (BMI)
P 2006 Denise Young
Livia’s Song is dedicated to a cherished friend, and her song seemed to be a gift from the heavens, just before she left this world.

16. DEVIN RICE & ERIN AAS Thyn Ayre (3:01)
From their album ARRIVAL
Devin Rice guitar and bass, Erin Aas guitar
P 2010 Devin Rice /Erin Aas (BMI)

17. LAWRENCE BLATT The Color of Sunshine (3:40) edited version
Lawrence Blatt guitar Hopi drum & piano,
Jeff Oster flugelhorn, T Bone Wolk bass,
Derrik Jordan percussion, Will Ackerman guitar
P 2009 LMB Music

18. RONNDA CADLE Shalom (3:08)
From her album WILL’S EMBRACE
Ronnda Cadle guitar, Monica Pasqual piano,
Edo Castro fretless bass, Denny Fongheiser
percussion, Jeff Haynes percussion, Noah Wilding vocals, Jeff Oster flugelhorn, Betsy Tinney cello
P 2012 RiNCE Music Publishing (ASCAP)
I wrote this for my favorite soundman after he’d survived a heart attack; wishing him peace in a time of uncertainty.
“Shalom” is his given name which in Hebrew means “peace.”

19. ANN SWEETEN Dawn on Red Mountain (3:36) edited version
Ann Sweeten piano, Jeff Oster flugelhorn,
Noah Wilding vocals
P 2007 Orange Band Records (ASCAP)
Steinway Artist

20. KEN VERHEECKE Forever (2:55)
solo version
Ken Verheecke guitar
P 2012 Ken Verheecke
Late one evening, staring through a rustic cabin window in the Big Horn Mountains... the weight of time sat heavily upon my heart.
Time is temporal... but the gift of friendship can last forever.

21. PATRICK GORMAN Shades of You (3:03)
edited version
Patrick Gorman piano
P 2009 Movements in Glass Music (BMI)
May this music find you well. It is an honor to
share with you.

22. WILL ACKERMAN The Wheel (3:04)
From his album NEW ENGLAND ROADS
Will Ackerman guitar, Charlie Bisharat violin,
Tony Levin bass, Jeff Haynes percussion,
Noah Wilding vocals
Selection p Imaginary Road Music (BMI)
P 2010 William Ackerman
I will never forget Charlie nailing his violin part in take one without having even heard the song !!!
Thanks also to Tony, Jeff and Noah.

1 MASAKO Glastenbury, Vermont 3:22
2 PAUL JENSEN Taoist Winds 2:41
3 STANTON LANIER Bread of Angels 4:00
4 KATHRYN KAYE Mountain Laurel 3:44
5 RUDY PERRONE The Prophet 2:13
6 FIONA JOY HAWKINS Feeling Sunshine 2:23
7 JEFF OSTER Serengeti 4:14
8 DEAN BOLAND Intimacy 2:26
9 FRANK SMITH Porch with a View 3:06
10 TODD BOSTON The Brightest Night 4:20
11 ROCKY FRETZ Kim’s Song 4:15
12 SHAMBHU Hide and Seek 3:33
14 PETER JENNISON Anthem 2:34
15 DENISE YOUNG Livia’s Song 3:13
16 DEVIN RICE & ERIN AAS Thyn Ayre 3:01
17 LAWRENCE BLATT The Color of Sunshine 3:40
18 RONNDA CADLE Shalom 3:08
19 ANN SWEETEN Dawn on Red Mountain 3:36
20 KEN VERHEECKE Forever 2:55
21 PATRICK GORMAN Shades of You 3:03
22 WILL ACKERMAN The Wheel 3:04

All music produced by Will Ackerman, except: Glastenbury, Vermont produced by Will Ackerman, Tom Eaton and Masako;
The Brightest Night, produced by Will Ackerman, Todd Boston and Tom Eaton; Shalom, produced by Will Ackerman, co-produced
by Corin Nelsen and Ronnda Cadle; Forever, produced by Will Ackerman, Tom Eaton and Ken Verheecke; and The Wheel,
produced by Will Ackerman and Corin Nelsen.

All of the basic tracking and all but a handful of overdubs were recorded at Will Ackerman’s Imaginary Road Studios in Windham County, Vermont. (

THE GATHERING was edited and mastered by Tom Eaton for Imaginary Road Studios.

Photography by Ken Verheecke (
Design/Layout by Cynthia Reed (
© and P 2012 West River Records

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“(his) would easily fill a room with peace, calm, and invite the listener to indulge in reflection or remembrance of a most pleasant variety.”
Bill Binkleman - Zone Music Reporter