In the fall of 1984 I was a freshman at University of Maine Orono, and while walking thru the school’s student union building I was suddenly overwhelmed with the most exquisite sound: Michael Hedges on guitar.
As a child I took acoustic guitar lessons for almost 50 minutes, enough to understand I would never be able to play this difficult instrument. Never the less, or perhaps because of it, I was always drawn to, and amazed by, talented musicians who have mastered this difficult instrument.
The sound I heard that day came from a television set playing a repeated VHS loop promoting advertising Michael’s upcoming concert.
I bought ticket immediately, and was treated, among thousands of others, to an introduction of Michael Hedges. In the following years I went to Michael Hedges concerts whenever I could, dragging friends and family who then, with 100% rate, also became fans.
After Michael performed at Bowdoin College, my wife and I managed to slip Michael a written invite to our upcoming wedding reception. Weeks later we received a card from him with “congratulations, but sorry…. I only do Bar Mitzvahs” written inside.
He pioneered percussive fingerstyle guitar, calling his craft, among other things “Acoustic Thrash and “Deep Tissue Gladiator Guitar.”
Michael Hedges wrote his own music, and covered existing songs in his own style, with alternate tunings….
“Come Together” (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) https://youtu.be/d5ApSROL7Og","_id":"00000178-7e06-ddab-a97a-7e3ed8240000","_type":"035d81d3-5be2-3ed2-bc8a-6da208e0d9e2"}">
“All Along the Watchtower” (Bob Dylan) https://youtu.be/XqGHE5GqZ44","_id":"00000178-7e06-ddab-a97a-7e3ed8240002","_type":"035d81d3-5be2-3ed2-bc8a-6da208e0d9e2"}">
“A Love Bizarre” (Prince), https://youtu.be/BOqaJDPsvqQ","_id":"00000178-7e06-ddab-a97a-7e3ed8240004","_type":"035d81d3-5be2-3ed2-bc8a-6da208e0d9e2"}">
In early December 1999 a friend called me with the tragic news: Michael Hedges had died, crashing his Porsche off a cliff in northern California. My wife and I both cried.
Since then I play his music whenever I can, and am always asked ‘Who is THAT?”…. after explaining I have to then disappoint them with the cold hard fact: there will never be any new Michael Hedges music.
Michael Hedges is now widely considered to be one of the greatest and most influential solo acoustic guitarists of all time, and his music continues to move me.