Michel Ackermann & Band

Michel Ackermann & Band

 Berlin, Berlin, DEU

..a jazzy kind of bluesy Pop...

Songs with a special dramaturgy, each song made like a miniature-opera. Made by a musician, who once was an avangarde composer.
He is influenced by David Bowie, Randy Newman, Chet Baker and many others,



Taking a powerful step forward in his stylistic development, Michel Ackermann builds passionately upon the momentum of his 2009 critically acclaimed introductory EP Kite with his cleverly titled first full album release Cole Porter’s Blues. While Kite featured primarily piano driven songs in an eclectic 80’s style of songwriting, the new tracks are more playful and relaxed and feature stronger narrative themes thanks to Ackermann’s exciting new collaborations with London/Tel Aviv based lyricist Paul Robert Thomas. The emotional impulse of the words, being sad and hopeless yet also joyful and humorous, inspired the multi-talented Berlin based singer/songwriter to create shifting emotional colours through the music, giving rise to a somehow compelling ambiguity.
Influenced by a wide range of artists from Joe Henry and Van Morrison to Randy Newman and David Gray, the emotionally compelling, high flying Kite was the culmination of a deep musical biography of a professional pianist who, as he says, “started to sing one day and tried to work out his own specific style in writing pop songs.” On Cole Porter’s Blues, Ackermann enjoys the new adventure of finding a different style image for almost every song. Beyond embracing his chameleonic musical nature, he also takes a bold step forward in his unique way of vocalizing—in a singing/talking style that provides a kind of musical therapy for him. While the project’s title might make people think it’s a tribute album, Ackermann calls the legendary songwriter’s music simply another trace in the album among a labyrinth of traces.
The critical raves Ackermann received for Kite will no doubt continue now that he’s stepping out and delving into a deeper emotional and musical place. Acoustic Music Exchange wrote of Kite: “Michel’s voice is pretty distinctive, and I think it’s his native German tongue that lends that enunciation of English to enchanting slur it possesses. I haven’t heard anyone run words together like this since the estimable Leitch. It’s somewhat mystic.” One writer on the neufutur website made a favorable comparison to a pop legend: “Where there may be hints of Dave Matthews, the inclusion of a funky bassline gives the track much more soul that Matthews could ever wish for.”
Michel Ackermann’s powerful transformation from being a top flight piano teacher to becoming a dynamic, emerging singer/songwriter began one night with a dream. The multi-talented performer was gigging heavily at clubs in his native Berlin, pondering a way for his deeper musical expressions to take flight when he dreamed he was performing on a stage in Cologne City in front of a large audience. Captured by the feeling that he was “grasped slightly on the cheek by a ghost,” he has the sense that something had happened to dislodge his true life—and he soon began writing and recording the songs that developed into Kite.
A few notes on key tracks from Cole Porter’s Blues…Ackermann likes madness and his sympathy looks for outsiders, losers and freaks – everyone who is tough enough to bring all the lunacy of life to its surface. The title track tells us about madness which is a bad friend of wanted normality, represented by those who define what normal is. Someone like him often suffers from “abstract” pains – like getting into crazy and strange blues. “How Long” conveys the idea of a narrator who is not complaining, but who is telling the listener intrepidly about the enduring possibility of letting yourself be saved by a beloved person. One of Ackermann’s favorites is “Sailing Through The Storm,” whose lyrics inspired the image of a symphony in his inner ear. There’s a hero in this song but no social hero fighting against the power of evil. It’s just a man who knows that the few basic things he would need for his heart and soul are hard enough to achieve. And they make his life boat shudder.


How Long

Written By: Michel Ackermann &Paul Thomas

How Long?

How long can I pretend it's all right
Waiting for the morning light
When all good people are gone
I can't keep on keeping on

How long can I stumble through the dark
Feeling for the frozen Ark
There is no trace of the man
Just faint foot prints in the sand

Oh babe don't you understand
You should never grab the hand
Of a drowning man
Never grab the hand
Of a drowning man

How long can you remain in this place
Looking at my twisted face
I take my last breath of pain
As you tighten up the chains

How long can you listen to my cries
Watching the high water rise
There is no trick I can do
I can't keep from missing you

Oh babe don't you understand
You should never grab the hand
Of a drowning man
Never grab the hand
Of a drowning man
A drowning man

I can see shadows on the wall
I can hear voices in the hall
I feel they're coming for me
I can hear the jangle of the keys
They're coming for me
They're coming for me

How long can the battle take to win
Fighting webs that people spin
It's as clear as words through time
What you did you broke the line

How long can we deny who we are
Hiding all our inner scars
Get up don't you lie no more
Some one's knocking at your door

Oh babe don't you understand
You should never grab the hand
Of a drowning man
Never grab the hand
Of a drowning man
A drowning man

© Paul Thomas

Sailing through The Storm

Written By: Michel Ackermann & Paul Thomas

Sailing Through the Storm

I’m sailing through the storm
Tryna find somewhere warm
Tryna get as far away
From myself as I can

My conscience is awake
I’ve made many mistakes
I know that it’s no excuse
But I am just a man

I’m sailing away from you
I tried my best to be true
But it just wasn’t to be
I hope you understand

All I’ve got left is this boat
As long as she stays afloat
I’ll make it across the sea
And once again feel dry land

Maybe the storm’s a sign
Maybe I’m wrong this time
Maybe I should have stayed

I can’t help but remember
Those times we were together
And in your arms I laid

I’m in desp’rate need of sleep
The boat shudders and creaks
But soon I’ll find rest and peace
I hope that you can too

I’ve been tossed and turned
I’ve been hurt and burned
But no matter what I’ve done
I know I’ll make it through

What went down in the flood
Has long gone and been lost
So Senoretta, adios
I hope you make it through too

© Paul Thomas

To Save Us All

Written By: Michel Ackermann/Paul Robert Thomas

To Save Us All

He was born in hope
But he died in despair
There’s children like him
Around the world everywhere

Too many to count
Like stars up in the sky
It’s easy for the world
Just to turn a blind eye

But you had a soul
And life and laughter too
You were so unique
There was no-one quite like you

Just coz you were poor
You didn’t have a chance
To dress up in a suit
And go to the ‘Prom’ dance

Played in the sewers
That flowed along your street
Amongst all the flies
In the never ending heat

For when you got ill
There wasn’t a debate
Your parents didn’t think
Until it was too late

But when the end came
And you could not be saved
You gave a last smile
And let go you were so brave

“You were taken but
Now is the time to give”
Said his father in tears
“So another might live”

Inside another
His heart it beats strong
He gave life to them
So that they could carry on

Unknown child of God
No-one knows your name
Unknown child of God
Your loss was not in vain

Hear the 4 winds call
“You died to save us all
You died to save us all”

Unknown child of God
No-one knows your name
Unknown child of God
Your loss was not in vain

Hear the 4 winds call
“You died to save us all
You died to save us all”

© Paul Thomas


'Out of Nowhere', Single
'Kite', EP, 2009
'Cole Porter's Blues', Album 2010

Set List

two sets with 6/7 songs