January 2014

Laura Sullivan wins New Age Grammy Award

New Age Grammy winner: Love's River - CD by Laura SullivanTom Eaton and I want to extend our warm congratulations to Laura for her winning the New Age Grammy Award at last night’s ceremony in Los Angels.   Tom and I were flattered to be included in the production of  Laura’s LOVE’S RIVER CD and are grateful to be able  to share in its marvelous success.




Vin Downes CD Release: Unlike the Stars

Unlike the Stars - CD Cover

Unlike the Stars was voted #4 in February on ZMR’s Top 100 Radio Airplay Chart.


“Vin is a consummate player who draws upon a wide range of styles. The marvelous thing is that his musical voice is unique enough and powerful enough to hold these different threads together seamlessly. This is as impressive a recording as one could hope for.”
~ Will Ackerman


Ann Sweeten’s Tapestries of Time

Tapestries of Time - CD by Ann SweetenAnn Sweeten, with 9 previous CDs and rave reviews in her career, doesn’t have anything to prove at this point. Nonetheless, her 10th release, Tapesties of Time, is further indication that she is determined to grow and evolve both as a composer and as pianist. The pieces on her new recording continue to surprise with their stunning performance and episodic composition, but are somehow more cohesive and focused than ever. The resulting experience is one of dazzling chance taking which never strays from the emotional center of her intent. Not content to rest on her laurels, Ann Sweeten continues to evolve as an artist and performer.

Brad Schumann

BradCover228This beautiful recording of singer/ songwriter Brad Schumann’s powerful songs he calls “Thirty Year Detour” is brilliant and utterly appropriate. Brad has been writing songs for forty years, and we felt that these were some of the very best. It’s been worth the wait as Brad’s perspective on life, having lived so much more of it than most, is rich, deep and meaningful.

2013 ZMR Music Awards

Winners of the 2013 ZMR Music Awards were presented at the ZMR Convention in New Orleans, LA in May 2014

Once again the broadcasters have spoken and many Imaginary Road Studio musicians have been named as winners.

Masako CD Cover2013 Best New Artist

Deraming of Now CD cover2013 Best Contemporary Instrumental Album

600 years in a moment cd cover2013 Best Instrumental Album – Piano
Fiona Joy Hawkins

What the Winter Said - CD cover2013 Best Holiday Album
Kathryn Kaye

December 2013

Jim Gabriel

Jim Gabriel piano sojournPianist Jim Gabriel’s SOJOURN was a delight for Tom and me to work on.    Jim brought a long history of classical training as a composer and pianist to the sessions.   He’s an artist who gracefully incorporates all of this knowledge and technique into an exhilaratingly free and expressive style that connects on an immediate emotional level.    SOJOURN is a lovely introduction to Jim’s talents which we hope will be only the first of many recordings that we get to make with him.

October 2013

Tom and Will have been very busy in Imaginary Road Studios this year.
The following are new releases  since January 2013.

Fiona Joy Hawkins

600 years in a moment cd cover“600 Years in a Moment” – piano and ensemble Co-Produced by Will and Corin Nelsen.  “600 Years In A Moment” is a masterful mélange of superlative musical performance, stunning contemporary composition, and widely diversified cultural influences.”  Michael Diamond


Stanton Lanier

open spaces cd cover“Open Spaces” (his 5th project with us) released September 2013. Stanton has always done brilliant work with us, but this recording has a freedom and confidence that makes it his finest recording so far.  Co-Produced by Will and Tom Eaton.


Vicente Avella

All the Days of my Life cd cover“All the Days of My Life”  Vicente has created a contemporary piano recording for weddings and wedding celebrations. Familiar themes are brilliantly interpreted and the program is a wonderful listening experience while offering a lovely alternative to people seeking a tasteful approach to wedding music.



Dominic Silla

Dominic Silla: Early Falls the Christmas Snow - CD cover“Early Falls the Christmas Snow” was released in October 2013. Dominic has created a deeply personal and inspiring collection of piano works based on familiar Christmas melodies. Unique arrangements and original compositions make up this emotionally beautiful and moving recording.



Deraming of Now CD cover“Dreaming Now” Shambhu returned to Imaginary Road Studios having recorded some basic tracks at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley, CA.    The recording has more of a jazz feel than his previous recording with us.   These compositions feature Shambhu’s stunning guitar work at their center.   Co-Produced by Will and Tom Eaton.
Michael Diamond review: “Shambhu has created a musical masterwork that sets a new standard for music in this genre.”

Kathryn Kaye

What the Winter Said - CD cover“What the Winter Said” is our third recording with Kathryn who always delights and surprises with her composition and performances. This recording captures the feeling of the Christmas season without revisiting the old and well-worn standards; somewhat like the Windham Hill Winter’s Solstice recordings. “What the Winter Said” is the perfect soundtrack for the season.


Masako CD CoverMasako’s performance is of such quality that it is almost mythical.
“…an extraordinary instrumental album with every hallmark of a seasoned professional…a magnificent performance, and her arrangement design of piano with instrumental music deserves to be characterized as a world-class release.” John P. Olsen, NewAgeMusicWorld.com

Dave Kydd

Unbroken CD CoverUnbroken, Co-CoProduced by Will and Tom Eaton

Unbroken is the second album from Scottish-born pianist/composer Dave Kydd, following his 2010 debut, About Time. ……. this collection of eleven original piano solos is graceful, spare, and very beautiful. Kydd’s touch is warm and expressive, making each piece a gentle vignett” Kathy Parsons MainlyPiano.com



Reconstructed CD cover“Reconstructed” –
“The album makes a wonderful first impression as it begins with a lovely tune entitled “Summer Nights.” Its gentle melody is entrancing and draws the listener in right from the start. I also appreciated Isadar’s sense of dynamics as it builds then drops into a more minimalistic feel in the second movement………..
“Reconstructed is a formidable collection and a perfect introduction to those who may not be familiar with the work of this incredibly talented musician.

reviewer:  Michael Diamond.

Rebecca Harrold

The River of Life CD coverThe River of Life, Co-Produced by Will and Tom Eaton

“After serving as piano player for the Boston Ballet for several years, Rebecca Harrold has recorded and released The River Of Life CD. Harrold fills each track with a variety of instrumental mood music. From stirring, striking themes to forlorn expressions of life’s not so happy moments. Through it all, Harrold maintains high musical integrity, sheer talent, and detailed expression.”

reviewer: Bill Copeland

Returning musicians in the studio now:

Denise Young’s  long awaited follow up to her first record with Imaginary Road, “Something you Dream Of” , is entitled “Passionata.”  We are adding session musicians now to this wonderful new piano project.


Ann Sweeten – In September Ann recorded the basics for her new CD “Tapestries. “ This is Ann’s 4th project with Imaginary Road and she plans a Spring 2014 release.

“The pieces have to do with time… There may be a reference to a captured moment or inspiration drawn from a particular event…”


We’re delighted that Peter Jennison will be returning to Imaginary Road Studios to work on his second project with us following his debut recording “Longing For Home” in 2010.     A soldier who found solace in music, Peter’s music is profound in its perspective.

We were happy to have Paul Jensen  back at Imaginary Road Studios.  He and Tom worked together in August & September on a new project.  www.pauljensenmusic.com

Masako – As of October, we are finishing up Masako’s 2nd CD with us. It is entitled “Call of the Mountains.” She plans to release it in January 2014.

“It’s been over eight years since I moved to a town among the northeastern mountains of the U.S.  I often need to drive south to NYC…. It is a very long drive, hours through the Northern Appalachian Mountains, I’ve been making this trip for years now, and the drive never bores me.  the hills, sky, and river change their appearance according to the seasons. …

This one is Co-Produced by Will and Tom Eaton.  www.masako-music.com

New to the Imaginary Road Studios:

Louis Colaiannia     – Louis plays sophisticated, relaxing and refined piano. www.louismusic.com

Ryan Michael Richards.  Ryan’s  guitar compositions are beautiful and romantic.

Angelo Rapan is an academically trained musician with exceptional skills but this has not limited his range of musical style.  The combination of classical and  improvisational style make a great combination.

Matteo Palmer is  a 17-year-old guitarist from Vergennes, VT.  His music is stunning and sessions with him have been very productive

Vin Downes drives to Vermont from New Jersey to record.  We were able to record all his basics in just 4 days.

Matt & Rebecca Stuart are recording their 4th CD “New Horizon” at Imaginary Road.


Jill Haley has been a part of Imaginary Road Studios for years as our double reed session player.   Jill has contributed to the majority of projects we’ve been producing for many years.     Her most recent recording “Zion and Bryce Canyon Soundscapes” was nominated by ZMR for 2012 Best Contemporary Instrumental Album .     We’re grateful to have Jill working with us in the creation of her new recording which features her composition, double reeds and piano playing.    Jill will be joined on the recording by her husband, David Cullen who has toured with Will for nearly 30 years.

In the studio now:  Fiona Joy Hawkins is back as a producer.  Fiona and Will are producing a pianist from Michigan, Jennifer DeFrayne.

Will is looking forward to working with Fiona in this new capacity.

Guitarist Trevor Gordon Hall will start his recording sessions at the studio on March 13, 2014. This will be a new recording of Trevor’s compositions.

Renee Micheles starts a piano project in March 2014

Gus Sebring, the first chair French Horn player of the Boston Symphony has become a welcome addition to the Imaginary Road family of session musicians.

May 2013


Will Ackerman was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 9th Annual ZMR Music Awards convention in May 2013.

The award celebrated recent productions by the founder of Windham Hill Records as well as his influence of excellence on the music he touches.

Will also won Album of the Year and Best Contemporary Instrumental Album awards for “The Gathering”.

the-gathering228The 2012 ZMR  Album of the Year  “The Gathering”  is a compilation of music and artists Will recently produced.

The Gathering also took home the award for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album. All of the artists featured on the album were produced by Will Ackerman and recorded at Imaginary Road Studios.  The artists include Ann Sweeten, Devin Rice and Erin Aas, Fiona Joy Hawkins, Jeff Oster, Kathryn Kaye, Kori Linae Carothers, Lawrence Blatt, Masako, Paul Jensen, Peter Jennison, Shambhu, Todd Boston, Dean Boland, Denise Young, Frank Smith, Ken Verheecke, Patrick Gorman, Rhonnda Cadle, Rocky Fretz, Rudy Perrone, Stanton Lanier and Ackerman himself.

Will is looking forward to releasing another compilation showcasing more artists  he has produced.




March 2012

Recent CD Projects as of March 2012:

Ronnda Cadle's CD Will's EmbraceGuitarist RONNDA CADLE has finished her CD entitled WILL’S EMBRACE.

This is a lovely, passionate recording with a cast of brilliant musicians including violin virtuoso Charlie Bisharat, Edo Castro on bass, percussionist Jeff Haynes (Pat Metheny) and Denny Fongheiser, pianist Monica Pasqual, cellist Betsy Tinney, our favorite horn player, Jeff Oster, on Fluglehorn, wind synth by Premik Russell Tubbs and vocals by our own Noah Wilding.

We’re all very proud of this beautiful recording.


Soul Whispers CD coverDEAN BOLAND ‘s debut piano recording, SOUL WHISPERS has just been released.   Dean’s a brilliant pianist and compositions are original and deeply heartfelt.    He’s joined by a guitarist named Will Ackerman, the violinist Charlie Bisharat, Eugene Friesen on cello, Jill Haley on English horn, Tony Levin on bass and Noah Wilding doing some vocal work.   Chapman Stick player Jeff Pearce (who we hope to do much more work with) contributed some tracking as did Premik who played wind synth.    Tom Eaton engineered the project and did some percussion as well.


Dawn of Peace - cd coverLYNN YEW EVERS, a native of Malaysia who has performed extensively in her native country (including playing for the King and Queen) has released her first CD in the US, DAWN OF PEACE.   The album is comprised of solo compositions for solo piano.    The pieces have a way of being instantly memorable and familiar without being in any way imitative of other music.
Lynn is now living in Eastern Washington State with her husband Jeff.


January 2012

To paraphrase Garrison Keilor, it’s been a busy year at Imaginary Road Studios.

The fourth project I have produced for pianist STANTON LANIER, A THOUSAND YEARS was released this year. Stanton and I have been working together since 2004 and it’s become a great friendship. I recently shared the stage with Stanton at a lovely Christmas concert in Atlanta which gave me a chance to visit with his family and meet a lot of friends who came out for the concert. Stanton was absolutely brilliant. A THOUSAND YEARS borrows from themes written by the masters for centuries, but expanded upon beautifully by Stanton and is another brilliant piece of work. Stanton performed most of the recordings by himself, though Noah Wilding, Jill Haley and I added tracks as well. Stanton’s previous recording won a ZONE award for Best Holiday Album and we expect that A THOUSAND YEARS will be recognized by the awards this year as well.


Brooke Rame's CD For YouSinger/ songwriter BROOKE RAMEL released a new CD that she and I produced entitled FOR YOU. Brooke has been on the scene for years and has reached so many people with her songs. We began at Imaginary Road in the fall of ’10, but moved some of the production to her hometown of LA where she could be closer to family. FOR YOU features brilliant musicians wall to wall. Tony Levin (John Lennon, Peter Gabriel, Paul Simon) on bass, Aaron Sterling who’s recently been recording with John Mayer on drums, Jeff Pevar (Crosby, Stills & Nash, Ray Charles, Marc Cohen) did a lot of guitar work with Brooke doing much of her own playing. The Webb Sisters who tour and record with Leonard Cohen and Sting added some brilliant vocal work and Eugene Friesen’s cello graced the recording as well. This is a lovely collection of wonderfully touching songs and I loved working with Brooke in making it.


Kathryn KayePianist KATHRYN KAYE released her second recording with me, HEAVY AS A FEATHER in 2011. Her DREAMING STILL CD went to # 1 on the ZONE radio charts and just moved in and stayed there for a long long time. HEAVY AS A FEATHER features more of her compositions and features world-famous bassist Tony Levin, four time Grammy winner, cellist Eugene Friesen, Jill Haley on English horn, Charlie Bisharat on violin, renowned bassist Michael Manring and a track from percussionist Ramesh Kannan… and some guy named Will Ackerman played some guitar too.

Kathryn Kaye's CD Heavy as a Feather
Tom Eaton, Imaginary Road’s resident engineer, recorded HEAVY AS A FEATHER on our Steinway B and mixed the project with me. Tom also contributed a really haunting accordion part for one of the pieces.

KATHRYN and I have two projects that we’re discussing for the future.

I met with Monte Lipman, the President of Universal Records, to discuss one of these on the day the earthquake hit New York City and the entire Eastern US. I later met with Jim Roppo in marketing at Universal who Monte introduced me to. Kathryn and I are in frequent contact about this year’s project which will be a seasonal recording. As always I look forward to working with Kathryn. Expect to hear other sides of Kathryn’s talents as an organist and singer in the near future.


Larry BrownLARRY BROWN is a singer / songwriter / guitarist who has traveled around the country as a touring performer for years… he’s also spent a lot of time working, recording and teaching in Nashville. Larry started his project in January of ’11 and we finished the mixes with Tom in August. His CD STORIES THAT WE WROTE was released just before Christmas. Larry is a brilliant songwriter with lyrics anyone would kill for and a voice with the wisdom of miles and miles on the tires. Comprised mostly of original compositions, STORES THAT WE WROTE also features Townes Van Zandt’s Tecumseh Valley, Gerry Rafferty’s Whatever’s written in Your Heart, Dylan’s I Shall be Released and a beautiful instrumental version of Danny Boy.

Larry Brown's CD  Stories That We Wrote
Tom Eaton engineered, mixed and mastered the recording and played organ, accordion and did some percussion.

We had the pleasure of working with Paul McCartney and Elton John’s drummer, Steve Holley, our good friend Tony Levin just back from a Peter Gabriel tour of Europe played bass, Pat Metheny’s percussionist Jeff Hayes added some brilliant work and 4 time Grammy Award winning cellist Eugene Friesen, violinist Charlie Bisharat, English horn player Jill Haley and vocalist Noah Wilding added their parts. Rory Sullivan, whose singer/ songwriter project (Here All Along) I produced years ago came in and did some beautiful backup vocal work.


Pianist ANN SWEETEN and I have now worked together on three album projects which we have co-produced; GREY SKY AND BITTERSWEET, JUST THIS SIDE OF SPRING and now IN THE WAKE.

Tom Eaton engineered, mixed and mastered the recording and Ann was incredibly productive, nailing the piano pieces in two days in June .. really astounding ! The overdubs were recorded in September with Trisha Craig on flute, Akane Setiawan on double reeds, Andrew Eng on violin and viola, Liz Ehrman on cello and my doing a couple of guitar parts.

I’m proud to have been a part of another recording with Ann.


Fiona Joy Hawkins' CD Christmas Joy
Just in time for Christmas, FIONA JOY HAWKINS released CHRISTMAS JOY which I mentioned in my last studio notes. In November of 2010 Corin and I traveled to Australia where we recorded two projects with Fiona on a Stewart and Sons piano at the workplace of the piano builder, Wayne Stewart. The piano was lovely and provided a unique sound for Corin and I to work with. CHRISTMAS JOY was produced by Fiona and Corin with me overseeing the recording of the basic piano parts and many of the overdubs.

At the same time we recorded the follow-up to BLUE DREAM which I produced for Fiona in 2008 and which won a stack of awards including ALBUM OF THE YEAR at the NAR / ZONE awards… a great honor. The album will be entitled 600 YEARS and will be released in a year or so. It was a challenging and sobering goal to better the magnificent achievement of BLUE DREAM, but I’m confident we managed to do so and I know Fiona feels that to be true. You will be hearing much more about 600 YEARS before long.


We’re just days away from finishing the new recording by guitarist TODD BOSTON which is a very exciting project. On TOUCHED BY THE SUN, Todd plays acoustic guitar, electric guitar, slide guitar, wooden flutes, bass and dotar, an Indian instrument that he studied with the master Ali Akbar Kahn. We will be telling you a lot more about this recording soon.


We continue to work with BRAD SCHUMANN on his singer/ songwriter project and just did a session with guitarist Jeff Pevar (Crosby Stills and Nash, Ray Charles, Marc Cohen) who added brilliant layers to the already stunning songs. Brad was here in the late summer working with Tom Eaton and myself and Brad, who was a carpenter with my in California when we were in our 20s, built a new woodshed with me in trade for some of his mix time.

NOA BURSIE was in for a couple of days this summer working on her singer/ song writer project and we look forward to having her back here soon.


We have recently begun new projects with pianist REBECCA HARROLD-DASILVA, and guitarist KEN VERHEECKE. Both Rebecca and Ken will be working with world-famous bassist Tony Levin and percussionist Jeff Haynes this week.


KORI LINAE CAROTHERS will be coming back to Imaginary Road to record a new project with Tom Eaton and myself in April and I’ve heard from SHAMBHU and LAWRENCE BLATT about they’re doing recording again with us this year.


New names on the horizon include pianists DAVE KYDD, JIM GABRIEL and LOUIS COLAIANNA. Pianist / vocalist JOAN SPEAR is also talking about a project with us.