Taylor Ackley, Multi-Instrumentalist, Voice
Alison Ackley, Cello, Voice
Joe Sferra, Clarinet
Stephanie Liu, Violin
Wilden Dannenberg, French Horn
Giovanni A. Pérez, Flute
Keenan Paul Zach, Bass
The Deep Roots Ensemble
The Deep Roots Ensemble performs traditional repertoire and original music which reflect the historical diversity and continuing creativity of folk music practices in the United States. Their style blends classical chamber music instrumentation and techniques with traditional American music performance practice and jazz improvisation into a refined and cohesive approach to making music. This results in an artistic output which is highly innovative while remaining familiar and relatable to audiences with a wide range of tastes. Their first album Songs from the Bitterroot was financed through a social media, crowdfunding campaign and got them signed to the 4Tay Records label.
In their latest release, Hard Tellin’, The Deep Roots Ensemble builds upon the sound heard in first album, but expands its instrumental and creative scope. Exploring themes of love, family, sin and salvation, Hard Tellin’ captures a more developed and intricate approach to American roots music.
1. Why Don’t You Love (Hank Williams)
2. Cowboy’s Sweetheart (Patsy Montana)
3. Far From Home (Taylor Ackley)
4. Love Letters (Taylor Ackley)
5. Glacier Suite (Taylor Ackley)
6. Last Thing On Your Mind (Taylor Ackley)
7. Blue Is The Color (Taylor Ackley)
8. I Wish I Was IHSD (Traditional)
9. In The Pines (Traditional)
Taylor Ackley is first and foremost a folk musician. Born into a working class family with a remarkable heritage of traditional American music, his work grows directly out of the rich musical expression cultivated across the generations of pickers, singers, song writers and fiddlers that populate his family tree. His academic training began at Adelphi University where he studied classical vocal performance, jazz bass and composition. He continued his studies a the Stony Brook University, where he earned a Master’s and a PhD in Composition and is currently completing a Master’s Degree in Ethnomusicology.
Taylor has composed a large catalogue of original works, which explore the various expressive languages he has learned from his wide range of musical experiences. This has led to a recent compositional output which simultaneously liberates and challenges musicians through a unique combination of aural transmission, guided improvisation and nontraditional notation coupled with an intense reliance on the performer’s own ears. He has been commissioned by a number of soloists, chamber ensembles, choirs and jazz bands. His music has been featured in festivals throughout the United States as well as Denmark and China. As a scholar he has presented at a number of conferences and panels including a lecture for the International Bluegrass Music Association. He is published by the MIT Press in Between the Tracks.
He is the founder and director of the Deep Roots Ensemble. A group which merges classical chamber music instrumentation and techniques with traditional American music performance practice into a refined and cohesive style. They have released two albums of Taylor’s music, Songs from the Bitterroot (2018) and Hard Tellin’ (2020) both through the 4Tay Records label.
Alison Ackley is a doctoral candidate in cello performance at Stony Brook University where she earned her Masters in 2016. Alison has performed with the Three Village Chamber Players, Stony Brook Contemporary Chamber Players, Stony Brook Baroque Players, and the Emerson String Quartet. She is also a vocalist, cellist and assistant director of Taylor Ackley and the Deep Roots Ensemble, a group that specializes in performing traditional American music in classical music settings. The Deep Roots Ensemble recently released their second album “Hard Tellin’” under 4Tay Records. Alison earned her B.M. at the Chicago College of Performing Arts under the tutelage of Chicago Symphony cellist Richard Hirschl. She has attended many summer music festivals such as the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, Banff Centre for the Arts Masterclass Program, Interlochen Arts Camp and the Madison Early Music Festival. In addition to performing, Alison maintains an active virtual private studio, has taught musicianship at the Stony Brook University Young Artist Program, and has coached chamber music through the Stony Brook Community Music Program.