Susstones releases mammoth Ed Ackerson tribute album

Ed Ackerson with his wife Ashley and daughter Annika.

Ed Ackerson with his wife Ashley and daughter Annika. GoFundMe

Who releases an album on a Sunday?

The folks at Susstones, that’s who. And for good reason. Yesterday, Oct. 4, was the first anniversary of Ed Ackerson’s death from pancreatic cancer, and to help alleviate any grief that date might spark, the label Ackerson founded released a 30-track tribute album to the songwriter, bandleader, producer, and scene mentor.

Closer to Heaven: A Tribute to Ed Ackerson features plenty of familiar locals and some notable out-of-staters as well. Some of the big Minnesota names? The Jayhawks, Motion City Soundtrack, and Soul Asylum. As for the non-locals, you got Tanya Donelly (Belly, Throwing Muses) John P. Strohm (the Blake Babies), and the Dandy Warhols (the Dandy Warhols). 

In other Susstones news, the label announced a second vinyl pressing of Capricorn One, the final project Ackerson completed before his death. You can read more about that album here, and more about the life of Ed Ackerson in our February 2020 cover story.

Downloads of Closer to Heaven are $20 on Bandcamp (linked below), with proceeds going toward an education fund for Ackerson’s daughter Annika, who started kindergarten this fall.

The project was begun while Ackerson was alive (though without his knowledge) when Swedish musician Jonatan Westh learned of his illness. And Susstones promises to add even more tracks to the tribute, so apparently, Closer to Heaven will just keep growing. As will Ackerson’s legacy.