Grey Sky and Bittersweet (CD)


“Ann Sweeten possesses a remarkable talent. A musician whose extensive classical training is immediately apparent, she is also someone who writes from a great emotional depth. As her producer it is a joy to hear someone who exploits the entire potential of the piano, finding both dynamics and beauty in all 88 keys. Her pieces have a broad stylistic range and yet create a cohesive program of music very distinctively hers. This is a brilliant recording from start to finish.”
Will Ackerman, Founder of Windham Hill Records, Grammy Winning Artist/Producer



This album represents a turning point in my professional life for a host of reasons, in particular, I have discovered new levels and a much-heightened nuance in both composition and performance. The individual song titles express changing light, color and viewpoint which further illustrate the personal ramifications of such a crossroads.

A sadness descends like a light fog
Over the ebbing of Summer and the arrival of Fall
I have never felt so’
Do we feel cheated, as years go by,
At how fast the seasons now seem to pass’?
I become aware of the pull of time, as not before’
Time, the not so ‘gentle-leader’,
On the leash of life. AS

As a little girl, at the age of 6, I asked my Mother if I could have some type of musical keyboard. My cousin had a toy keyboard which I had found absolutely fascinating and that was what I imagined when I made my wish known. Christmas morning of that year a beautiful new Hammond Organ stood in our den. Lessons soon began but for the first year I had to stand to reach the pedals. By the time I was nine, a teacher informed my Mother that to truly develop technically, the piano was the next step. That Christmas a beautiful Black Baldwin turned up in our den, the organ now lived in our kitchen, (which may seem a bit odd, but since that’s where all my Mother’s parties ended up, it was actually quite fitting!). Throughout my young life, my Mother was always there for me and wished to give me every opportunity if I showed an interest. She carted me to all my lessons and always with such support, and the belief that I would really accomplish something extra special in life. What’s tragic, and in life’s twists and turns, ironic, is that she never even got to hear one of my CD’s. I lost her to Cancer at the age of 18.

I believe that all the roads I have traveled, in all facets of my life, have led me to the music I have created over the last decade. One such road led me to the man I would later marry. When we first met, he told me of the time he had driven by my neighborhood with the feeling that he ‘needed to come back one day’. He said he even saw me a couple times and he later photographed me, but it would be several years before our meeting. And when this beautiful man did hear me play for the first time, he decided that without hesitation, I should record a CD – my first. Now he is not only my husband, but my Photographer/Visual Director.

It is not just the creation of this music, but what happens once it is shared. The content in the cards, letters and e-mails I have received over the years shows me that indeed, there is no doubt of this path. I know also, that despite the boundaries of the physical world, my Mother knows that I am doing what I was destined to do, and what she gave to me so early on enabled me to pursue my dreams as well as fulfill my destiny.

When it was time to visit colleges my Father took me to Indiana University and the University of Michigan to audition for their Music Departments. The day we were at Indiana was a gorgeous day. It had to be the first day, in a long Winter, that promised Spring was truly on its way. I do remember wondering as I walked down the halls of practice rooms, why all these students were inside hammering away at the keys for hours on end instead of reveling in the outdoor beauty for awhile. Looking back, I find it equally amazing that so very many talented classical musicians never write and perform their own work, but choose instead to merely replicate the brilliance of centuries past. Ultimately, I took a detour from the Classical World, wanting to embrace the rhythms of the Natural World and to be utterly free to create, unencumbered by the rules of Academia.

Forging well ahead, a couple years ago, I was visiting my Father at Christmas, and he said he had a surprise for me. Never having touched a piano, he had apparently bought one, found a teacher and had been taking lessons for two years. For two years he practiced, for two years he kept it a secret’ until that Christmas. (Christmas always seems to bring such magic’.is it any wonder?) His Study door opened and inside he was poised to play a song, one for which he had received a gold star from his teacher. His hands were shaking as he nervously sought to perform it perfectly for me. My Dad, an internationally high-profile executive, now retired and in his eighties, had decided that he wanted, needed, to somehow get a better understanding of what it actually took to do what his daughter was doing.

My Mother was ever present during my formative years but in adulthood my Father and I have bridged a gap that too often happens in Divorce. Despite this polarization in my life it somehow seems as if things have come full circle, and now Grey Sky and Bittersweet is the seventh album in a decade of releases, culminating at Imaginary Road where all things are possible. Working with Will Ackerman has been a WONDERFUL experience and the entourage of musicians that have worked on my project have been terrific as well, not to mention the magnificent talent of Will’s Engineer, Corin Nelsen.

At Imaginary Road, egos are checked at the door. Inside, a wealth of laughter, creativity, tears, critique and a professional ethic ‘to be the best you can be’, come together to form a magical milieu in which to record. And it isn’t just about recording, not just about making music. It’s about all of it’ life, shared stories, experiences and ‘going into the clouds and bringing something back’ (WA). I have never felt so free in the recording process and as such found levels of performance I didn’t even know existed within me. Within Imaginary Road, there exists a balance of absolute artistic reverence coupled with a sometimes total irreverent sense of humor that never ceases to delight and amaze!

I suppose all things are possible if you know how to dream, to listen to all that is said silently, and, if you have the indomitable belief of someone behind you. Time may be pulling; my feet are firmly planted, but my spirit remains aloft’ untethered as a vessel in the currents of life, wary of the moorings and the anchors, blissfully adrift’ And in the meantime, there is ever more beautiful music to be made!