On a cold winters night, I was traveling very late and was coming into the Twin Cities (Minneapolis St Paul) and I was going through the stations finding something to listen to. My wife and the children where all asleep and we were going to Terri’s mom’s place for the holidays.

It was probably 1am and I happened upon a radio station called the ‘The Cities 97’ and they were playing some outstanding music.

But one song actually changed my life.

They played a song from the first Windham Hill Guitar Sampler Album and the song was ‘Andecy’ by Andrew York.

I didn’t catch the name, as I was driving and it was winter and slick, and very late. But I remembered the ‘Windham Hill’ and went to searching for that song the next day.

Rarely have I been so taken by a song at the first listen. It might have been the being alone and everyone else was asleep, or the trip in and of itself as it was long, or the WOW of coming into the Twin Cities at such a late time and hearing such a song while I was just entering the city with all of the lights.

I was gob smacked.

I went the next day and found the CD.

The ‘Cities 97’ were known for playing esoteric music late at night. I had lived in Minneapolis years earlier, and had appreciated the music the station played. I actually ran a small recording studio there and met my wife while I was running the studio, doing live sound engineering at night and putting together a traveling road band.

Fast forward, My wife and kids were in the car, heading for Grandma’s house. I heard this song and it was magic.

I went on to find everything I could about the song, the album and the label.

I was impressed.

It was not the kind of song that an FM radio station would usually play. But I was glad they did.

The album was called the ‘Windham Hill Guitar Sampler’ and was a series of recordings and artist’s that the label were excited about but didn’t have the where with all to give them a full album deal. Or so it was explained to me. So a bunch of different artists that had the ‘Windham Hill’ way of playing and performing were put together on a single CD. Absolutely amazing.

If you look up William Ackerman, you’ll figure it out.

Long story short. If you hear something that really gets you going, don’t just dismiss it. The sound I heard through the radio of that song sent me on an acoustic journey.

I had not heard that depth and clarity in a recording… Remember, this was on the radio!

My whole acoustic guitar recording technique was influenced by that recording and the subsequent album and all the tracks on the said album I went on to purchase. I studied the way they recorded and the way they approached acoustic guitar. While I didn’t use their exact methods, I used their recordings as a reference. I developed my own way of achieving that feeling.

My go to idea for an acoustic guitar sound was developed then and there. I didn’t actually have to have a sound that was exactly like what I heard that night, but the sound had to MOVE PEOPLE.

That’s what I learned from that recording.

Your recording needs to ‘Move People’.

Thank you to ‘Windham Hill Records’ and the then ‘Cities 97’ for inspiring me.

We never know when we’ll be inspired.

Author: Chad