This artist is largely responsible for the start of my own personal guitar journey and I thought he absolutely needed to be mentioned in a show. For those that are familiar with him you should be reminded of his importance in the acoustic guitar world, and for those who have never heard his name, you are in for an absolute treat.
His inventive approach to the acoustic guitar resulted in an entire movement within the acoustic music world. The two hand tapping, the slap harmonics, and the wildly altered tunings were his tools to create beautiful sonic landscapes.
Michael Hedges was an artist that defied all the norms of the acoustic guitar and exposed what it truly was capable of. Hedges created masterful melodies that forged a new path for the acoustic guitar. Not only did he play with grace and elegance, he also sang as well as played other instruments on his albums.
He was signed to the Windham Hill label in the year 1981 and proceeded to leave a fantastically huge musical legacy behind. Michael’s mind bending explorations on the guitar are on full display from his first album, Breakfast In the Field, all the way to his final studio album, Torched (released posthumously). Mind bending in this context doesn’t necessarily mean wild guitar pyrotechnics and hot picking; what I am referring to here is the intricate melodies and beautiful tone he coaxes out of the guitar.
Michael’s guitar playing paved the way for many modern fingerstyle guitarists today and I would strongly recommend adding his music to your playlist since much of what modern fingerstylists are playing today came as a direct result of his influence. To start your Michael Hedges listening journey I would recommend his first two albums… they are simply otherworldly. Both Breakfast In the Field and Aerial Boundaries are quintessential for any acoustic music lovers record collection. If you wish to have more of a summarized version of Michael Hedges’ career you can take a look at a compilation entitled Beyond Boundaries, this album will offer a wonderful cross section of Michael Hedges’ intoxicating guitar work.
All in all, Michael Hedges needs to be on your guitar geek radar due to his influence on current players, and the incredible catalog of acoustic guitar centered music he created.
Michael Hedges Links