As Far As I Can See
THE ACKERMANS: INTERNATIONAL AMBASSADORS OF TEXAS MUSIC The Ackermans have been described as Dallas' most amiable folk-rock act. Their music, rooted firmly in Texas, spans eras and genres, ranging from a variety of original songs to covers like Guy Clark's 'Texas Cookin'' and Jimmie Dale Gilmore's 'Dallas.' Bob and Sally perform regularly in the Dallas area and at festivals all over the United States and Europe. Every summer, they tour France, Germany, Ireland, and Switzerland with their two globe-hopping children. Musician/writer Josh Alan Friedman called Bob Ackerman 'a country Cole Porter. He has a prolific catalog of originals, some of them sung with a twang, but somehow reminiscent of Jacques Brel or even Charles Aznavour.' Some of the major venues they've played include the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland; the Fiddler's Green Festival and the peace negotiations in Northern Ireland; the Texas House, Oklahoma Saloon, and Baton Rouge Saloon in Germany; the Blue Note Café in Paris; and the Bluebird Café and The Broken Spoke Café in Nashville. In their hometown of Dallas, they've played the John A. Lomax Music Festival and Chuck Wagon Cookoff, Candlelight Christmas in Old City Park, the Deep Ellum Arts Festival, and sang the National Anthem at the Cotton Bowl. They have four CDs: We've Got It Made (1996), Real Live: Texas (1999), Code of the West (2000) and As Far As I Can See (2004). They also wrote and perform the Lone Star Radio theme song. Bob does most of the writing, plays guitar and, for rhythm, stomps on his grandmother's washboard. Sally adds bass, harmonica, and makes the spurs on her feet jingle in time. They both sing, with Sally's soaring voice complementing Bob's earthier sound. Their work features smooth harmonies and, often, a subtle sense of humor. 'My approach to songwriting is pretty much journalistic,' Bob says. 'I see stuff and try to write it into a song. I don't tax my imagination a lot.' So, Bob does write about real life; he just twists it to make memorable songs. Bob and Sally first met at an open mike show that Bob hosted at The Saloon on Greenville Avenue, and later married in Amsterdam. 'Early on -- when we were first married -- we traveled around Europe for months at a time with our backpacks and guitars,' Bob said. 'In more recent times, we've been touring Europe every summer with our kids in rent-a-cars.' They began formally performing together about a year after their daughter was born, 'We needed to get out of the house together,' Sally said. 'It started as our date night. It turned into our career. It helps our relationship to have the same interests and to be traveling down the same road. We share the successes and the heartbreaks. We share the glory and the blame.' Several people have recorded The Ackermans' songs, including Sara Hickman, Robin Macy, Patty Lege, John McCulloch, Randy Hopper, Tracie Merchant, and Michael J. Martin.