Will Ackerman

’Return’ To Sender

WillGuitarist/Windham Hill Records founder Will Ackerman has re-recorded 11 of his best-known pieces for "Returning: Pieces for Guitar 1970-2004." The set is due this week as the first release on his Mary's Tree imprint, to be distributed by Universal Classics Group.

"Returning" sports new versions of some of Ackerman's earliest recorded work, including "Processional" and "Barbara's Song" from his 1976 Windham Hill debut, "In Search of the Turtle's Navel." Also featured are "Bricklayer's Beautiful Daughter," "Visiting," "Unconditional" and "Hawk Circle," which Ackerman previously re-recorded for his 1998 album "Sound of Wind Driven Rain."

“I really just wanted to get these songs as I hear them in my head and as I perform them,” the artist says. “It was more of a personal thing than anything else. I like these songs but I wanted them rendered in a way I was finally satisfied with. Listening back to the 1977 recording of ‘Bricklayer's Beautiful Daughter’ just wasn't doing it for me anymore.”

“I thought this was going to be a cakewalk,” he admits. “I know these pieces and have played them a million times. But the exact opposite was true. I've never had a more grueling project in my life, and I think it's precisely because I do know these pieces so well. A new piece of music is easily gratifying. These old pieces just demanded more of me.

Although he is no longer recording for Windham Hill, Ackerman will be on the road this winter as part of the label's annual Winter Solstice Tour, alongside pianist Liz Story, vocalist Samite and guitarist David Cullen. The trek kicks off Nov. 14 in San Luis Obispo, Calif., and wraps Dec. 18 in Spartanburg, S.C.