What we admire most about tonight’s exclusive premiere on Last Day Deaf, Gregory Ackerman‘s ‘Full Grown‘, is the artist’s intimate vocal performance, which is genuinely combined with the best possible string arrangement to unleash the most of this indie folk gem, and that ‘invisible’, soft veil of melancholy which is pervasive throughout the song. In just over 3 minutes, Ackerman is more than a dab hand to deliver a phenomenal wave of emotions full of lush harmonies and poignant lyrics, a perfect precursor off his upcoming full-length album ‘Still Waiting Still‘, out in September.
“I wrote ‘Full Grown’ when I was twenty-years-old back home on break from college. But for this record’s rendition, I had Gabriel Wheaton update it with a beautiful string arrangement, which brought about an amazingly thematic rendition of an old classic (to me.) I was literally feeling, as the lyric goes, ‘lost and lonely, but all my friends are home,’ feeling as though I was floating and struggling to find my place in life, yet all my friends were back home from school and we were all together again.
“Together, yet still alone in our own lives, worries, joys, ups, and downs. This notion seemed to hit especially close to home again when the pandemic hit – everyone being lost and lonely confined within their homes. I wrote the line ‘I’m a man whose possessions and land ain’t even really my own’ as a contemplation of my life. I felt like I didn’t own anything that was ‘mine.’ I didn’t feel myself. My clothes, my guitar, my books – nothing felt ‘mine’ – as I didn’t have a concept of ‘myself’ fully formed.
Being the youngest of my family, I was also born into a world that nothing ever felt mine, but more so ‘secondhand.’ And I never felt like the land we were on was mine, and I still don’t. Studying art history, I knew the history of America and California, and never felt that the land could every truly be ‘mine,’ or anyone’s for that matter, as it was taken from those who worked, cultivated, and lived on the land before any imperial powers.” – Gregory Ackerman
“I used to feel like I was the only one that should have a say in my process,” says Los Angeles-based multi-instrumentalist and songwriter, Gregory Ackerman of his music. “I‟ve since discovered that both life and music get better the more people you share them with.”
The latest work that Ackerman is sharing with the world is Still Waiting Still (out Sept. 17th , 2021), the follow-up to 2019‟s “Stresslove EP” (V2/Munich Records), and Ackerman‟s first full-length since his debut album And Friends in 2018.
Still Waiting Still was produced by Pierre de Reeder of Rilo Kiley who adds touches of hypnotic mysticism on top of the California summer sunset melodies, which beautifully combine with Ackerman‟s plainspoken philosophical lyrics and twisty, dexterous guitar to create what is now Ackerman‟s signature sound.
The title of Still Waiting Still‟s first single seems to reference the evolution in Ackerman‟s thinking. “Full Grown,” originally a spare song written when he was only 20-years-old (Ackerman is now 28), is given a full production makeover for inclusion on Still Waiting Still.
“For the rendition of „Full Grown‟ on Still Waiting Still, I had violinist Gabriel Wheaton update it with a beautiful string arrangement. His contribution resulted in an amazingly thematic version of what I now consider to be an „old classic‟ from my catalog.”
In addition to Wheaton, new friends that Ackerman has invited to participate in creating Still Waiting Still include other Los Angeles-area talents such as Grant Milliken, Eva B. Ross, Shelby Gogreve, and Theo and Mark Federonic.
“These are all great musicians that I met playing shows in Los Angeles,” Ackerman says. “This new personnel, combined with my trusty foundation (Ackerman‟s brother Eric, close friend Keenan McDaniel, and friend and producer, de Reeder), helped Still Waiting Still become a lively collection of brand-new material mixed with songs that I‟d written years ago.”
Ackerman guesses that half of Still Waiting Still‟s 13 songs were written while he was in college, shortly after he had begun to write and record in earnest. His posts of the results on Soundcloud revealed that listeners liked what they heard, and Ackerman was later signed on an unsolicited demo to V2 –affiliated singer-songwriter offshoot, Munich Records.
“For this album I wanted my past self and current self to align again as one fluid artist. All of the songs on Still Waiting Still have an inherent grit or humor to them, and were written with a youthful ironic moodiness which I relate to once again as a 28-year-old.”
“I wanted to bring back the states of mind that I used to feel,” Ackerman continues, going on to reference the album‟s second upcoming single, the aptly titled, “Good Song,” in which he sings about “dredging up feelings from the past,” while trying to write a song about writing songs.
“Good Song‟ came out of my frustration in feeling the pressure to make “likeable‟ music,” Ackerman confesses. “I was constantly feeling mostly self- imposed pressure to write a „hit song,‟ and I remember being able to finally take a step back from that mindset and look at it humorously. Why not write a song about trying to write a good song?”
Still Waiting Still contains 13 of „em actually, and Ackerman is proud.
“It‟s not perfect, just as nothing with a heartbeat ever is, but I hope that it represents some part of me that perhaps I could not express any other way.”
Still Waiting Still, the second album by Gregory Ackerman, arrives on Sept. 17th, 2021 preceded by the singles “Full Grown” (June 18th), “Good Song” (July 23rd), and “Mr. Moon” (Aug 20th).