Album: Nightbound
Artist: David Lindsay

NIghtboundThe term “second wind” might be a good one to describe the newly invigorated music career of acoustic guitarist David Lindsay. From 1985 to 2000, David recorded and performed in concert, as well as on live radio and TV in Canada. In the time between then and now, he practiced law and studied the lute. Currently in 2015, his new album, Nightbound, marks his triumphant return to writing and recording music. I use the “triumphant” partly because David went all-out to work with one of the ultimate producers of acoustic guitar music in the world, Windham Hill Records founder and GRAMMY winning producer Will Ackerman at his iconic Imaginary Road Studios. Co-producer, engineer, and multi-instrumentalist Tom Eaton also played a major role, as he does on all Imaginary Road projects.


In my interview with David, he shared some reflections and back-story about the album: “Most of the pieces are new, with a couple of older ones taken out of moth balls to fit in with the project overall. I really didn’t expect to be writing again after fourteen years. My conception originally was to do an album with Will of my best older stuff. I was inspired by the experience of meeting Will, talking about music and life, working at Imaginary Road Studios, and a new guitar that seems to be blessed by the Muse!” He goes on to say: “When I think back to how I felt just beforeDavid Lindsay starting the recording (nervous, unsure), and to how I felt when Tom Eaton had mastered it (elated), I felt that I had overcome a huge emotional divide between the distant past and the future. I am really excited to be back into music, and to have such fortuity in working with probably one of the best producers on the planet.”


David’s journey to this point has been a “long and winding road,” so to speak. He describes his early days as: “a boy, sneaking into his sister’s bedroom, playing her Beatles albums, and pretending to be John Lennon, complete with the bedroom mirror and a tennis racket! Like so many of us, I was weaned musically with Lennon and McCartney.” David originally planned to go to art school, but eventually found music to be “more powerful and compelling.” He studied at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto and Dalhousie University, where he discovered and was influenced by classical composers such as Chopin and Satie. After a while, however, he had enough of the academic classical world and got a steel string guitar and began writing his own music. Back in 1981, he was turned on to the music of Windham Hill, which he immediately felt a kinship with. Now, all these years later, for David to be working with the founder of Windham Hill is a dream come true. And of course, working with Will Ackerman also means having access to his roster of world-class studio musicians, a number of whom accompanied David on this album.


DavidsGuitar1So lets get on the Nightbound train and see where it takes us. The first thing I noticed on the opening track, “Bright Stars,” is that David uses a nylon string classical guitar, which produces a warmer, mellower sound than a steel string acoustic. This is in fact the new guitar, which as he said earlier, was “blessed by the Muse.” For guitar fans (like me) it is a custom made instrument with cedar top and rosewood body, crafted by Toronto luthier William Laskin. According to David: “my guess is that it has some flamenco features, because it really vibrates when hand is put to strings. I love it!” The tone is indeed quite lovely, as is the gentle fingerstyle melody David plays on this solo guitar piece.


On the next track entitled “Dreamwalk,” David is joined by fretless bass wizard, Michael Manring who I have also had the good fortune to collaborate with, and Jill Haley on English horn, whose own excellent albums have been featured on this site. As on many Imaginary Road productions, the accompaniment is understated, allowing the spotlight to shine on the primary artist. The album’s title track features an even larger ensemble that consists of Eugene Friesen of The Paul Winter Consort on cello, violinist Charlie Bisharat, who has played with Yanni and John Tesh, Pat Metheny percussionist Jeff Haynes, Tom Eaton on piano and bass, and Noah Wilding on wordless vocals. Now I will have to backtrack from what I just said about the accompaniment often being understated. On this piece, it is definitely not. After the solo guitar that opens the song, the other musicians swoop in and give the song wings as it takes off and soars majestically.


The next song has an interesting story that David described in our interview: “If one particular track stands out as I write now, it is ‘Ila’s Lullaby,’ a piece I basically improvised to get my daughter to sleep many years ago. I had reviewed a couple of pieces with Will and Tom, and we felt that they weren’t quite ready so I literally pulled Ila’s piece out of memory, played the first phrase and Will and Tom went Whoa! I played it through, and after, was gently urged to record it. I thought the piece was too simple. After laying it down. Will got his guitar out, came up with a tuning for the piece, and went in. Tom had some ideas, and added a beautiful piano part. The piece stands out because it seemed all so spontaneous and creative and I was amazed at the musicianship of Will Ackerman and Tom Eaton. It is a real privilege to work with these guys.”


Following this is a lovely solo guitar track entitled “Vermont” that I would imagine was inspired Gallery-Small-Imagineby the bucolic splendor that surrounds Imaginary Road Studio in Windham County, Vermont. From there, the remaining seven songs are all duets or larger ensemble pieces featuring the previously named artists. A new name is added on “Bluewater Beach,” which pairs David with bassist Tony Levin who is well known for playing with Peter Gabriel and King Crimson. On “What The Wind Said,” gently rippling arpeggios contrast with spacious passages in David’s playing to create a yin/yang balance accented by Jill Haley’s melodious English horn.


One of my favorite songs was “Nocturne,” on which I especially liked David’s gracefully descending chord progression. Like many of these pieces, it starts out with solo guitar, sometimes for half the song, before the accompanists join in. Among the musicians that grace this track, Eugene Friesens’s sonorous cello in particular added a soulfulness to the composition. On the final track, the album is bookended with a reprise of “Bright Stars,” which was the opening song. While the original version was solo guitar, here it is an ensemble rendition. It was interesting to hear both takes on this song, and made for a luminous conclusion to this heartfelt recording.


Will Ackerman & Tom Eaton in the studio

Will Ackerman & Tom Eaton in the studio

I was very impressed with David’s compositions and guitar skills, as was Will, who called it: “some of the best writing and playing I’ve heard in years.” High praise indeed, from the maestro himself. I’m glad that David Lindsay has chosen to re-energize his music career and I expect great things from him in the future. As he shared, “I hope to keep doing this and to continue working with Will and Tom.” I’ll leave the final words to David, in response to my question about what inspires him in life: “Music has always intrigued me, and I find the guitar to be like the Universe, somehow. I still get the same feeling when I open my guitar case, every time, that there is a world to be explored in sound, feelings, memories, and composition.”



Click the links below to hear samples and/or purchase Nightbound:



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