Articles on David Ackles


  David & Janice Ackles on the cover of American Gothic

Over the years, I have collected a number of articles about David from various sources - newspapers and magazines. The links below will take you to the pages containing these articles.

In some cases they are used with full permission of the author and in other cases I have been unable to trace the author, but will withdraw the item if it causes a problem. In each case, the publication is credited and the date of publication given.

Each page contains a lot of text and you are advised to save them or print them for off-line reading.

If any of these articles whetted your appetite for more, you must try to obtain Mark Brend's book, American Troubadours, which looks at the life and work of nine singer-songwriters, including David Ackles.

Apart from written articles, there is one other significant place where David Ackles has been discussed. In 2009, Elvis Costello produced a TV series, Spectacle,  where he interviewed several people on their music interests. In the Elton John one, they talk about David Ackles before performing their duet version of Down River. You can see a clip of this on YouTube.

I'll do a transcript of what Elton and Elvis have to say about David in a future edit of this site.

  Cover of American Troubadours by Mark Brend
Finally, as a taster for all the articles on the pages below, Here's an item lifted from the book, Rock Voices, The Best Lyrics of an Era edited by Matt Damsker, published in 1981:
The music and words of David Ackles seem almost too classically influenced and overtly "poetic" to succeed with the pop audience, although this richly gifted singer-songwriter-composer generated considerable interest in the early '70s. His undisputed masterpiece, American Gothic, came in 1972 - an album so ambitious, it sparked comparison to The Beatles' Sgt Pepper but ultimately stood on its own terms as an aural experience of great intensity. It echoed Copeland, Gershwin, Oklahoma!, incorporated everything from jazz to gospel - all seemlessly bound to a frame of contemporary pop-rock - and isolated a vast cross-section of Anglo-American experience, blending the vagaries, traditions and mores of past and present into a magically detailed miniature.
Montana Song, which ends the album, unites two generations at opposite ends of the American Dream, locating their thread of common spirit and affirming a cosmic unity. The lyric's narative dimension, meditative intensity, and metric precision set it apart from most efforts in the pop-rock vein, but at the time of its appearance in '72, it seemed to jibe perfectly with rock's evolving interest in the imagery of the Old West and its relation to a new pioneer spirit.
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