Michael Hedges

Because people mentioned Michael Hedges in the comments to one of yesterday’s posts, and because my friend Kevin Stampfl, whose birthday it is today, is an admirer of his, here’s a Michael Hedges video, with him playing a very wacky looking but cool sounding harp guitar:

Hedges, unfortunately, not still with us; he died 12 years ago in a car accident. Buckle your seatbelts, folks.

Also, happy birthday, Kevin!

21 Comments on “Michael Hedges”

  1. This video makes me so happy. Hedges is one of my all time favorite acoustic guitar players. He changed so much about the instrument and how players approached it. The nuances in his playing and the tunings he used were nothing short of revolutionary. Andy McKee, Don Ross, Antoine Darfur, all those guys credit Hedges as getting them started. Most guitar players agree this guy was on par with Hendrix in terms of skills and uniqueness … check out “Follow Thru” to see and hear him doing some insanely nuanced playing WHILE singing … I almost cry every time I see it.

  2. I was (and still am) a big fan of Hedges. And since Andy McKee has already been name-checked, take a look at him playing “The Friend I Never Met”, his tribute to Hedges.

  3. damn, michael hedges died too soon. i love his (bootlegged) performance of gary glitter’s “Rock N’ Roll Part 2”. the man had a gift, not just with the guitar but with charming an audience.

  4. John,

    Thank you very much.

    That’s the first time I’ve actually heard and seen the harp guitar being played. The first one I remember seeing was at Matt Umanoff’s store in Greenwich Village in the mid-60’s. Those of us trying to make a living singing used to hang out there drooling. Everything he sold was way too expensive for kids passing the hat at lowlife coffee houses.

    Rick York

  5. I got “Because It’s There” as a floppy six-inch vinyl insert into “Guitar for the Practicing Musician” or some similar magazine sometime in high school. Might even have been eighth grade. I wore it out on my dad’s turntable. I spent real money (well, at the time it seemed real) on an extra-high-quality pressing of “Watching My Life Go By”, and I had bits and pieces of his work since then. I had my guitar heros at the time, and although there were a lot of rock musicians in there, Hedges was near the top. I remember how badly I wanted to watch him play — I wanted to see how it was possible to get that much sound so well and so musically out of a single instrument.

    Recently I was reminded of him when my local library bought a CD of his solo work called “Beyond Boundaries”. It’s incredible to listen to all this music and realize it’s just one guy and a guitar (albeit sometimes a pretty amazing guitar). Anyway, I went out to YouTube and found this very video. I was blown away all over again.

    Okay, so, yeah, in the end this is an “ain’t the Intarwebs neat?” comment, but damn — it’s Michael Hedges we’re talking about.

  6. Nice! It’s always good to see Michael Hedges getting the love. I was fortunate to see him play live in a tiny club about 14 years ago. He was amazing and I still get the shivers when I hear him play.

  7. Sixteen-year-old wouldn’t come listen to this, until nineteen-year-old turned it up and I told her that yes, that’s *one* guy playing. Then she looked utterly blank for two seconds and rushed over.

  8. That clip is so Michael Hedges–I like how explains the instrument or something about the composition as if he and the audience are just sharing the love of music, as if I might just pick up the instrument and play it too. As if….

    I got to see a taste of Windham Hill concert in the mid eighties at the University of Illinois. I’m pretty sure he did a cover of “Come Together” and did his own “Spare Change” with pianist Liz Story and Bassist Mannering. I had not seen a video, and was blown away by the sight of his energetic performance. From his albums out till then Aerial Boundries and Breakfast in the Field, I assumed he would be sitting in a chair, stairing down intently. Was also amazed that it was usually just one guitar and not two or more.

    I’m off to check out the related artists mentioned above.
    Yeah for teh interwebs

  9. I had no idea that he died. I saw him in Huntington, NY probably about 12 years ago. Damn… no wonder there haven’t been any new albums. :(

  10. I’ve written 6 different comments and deleted them all.

    I’ve been wandering through youtube recordings of Hedges for the past hour.

    All I’ve got is Wow!

    How about that! I came here for Bacon-related snark and came away with an altered musical concience. Thanks John!

  11. Ditto Pizzangst. Especially I assumed he would be sitting in a chair, stairing down intently. What an eye-opener it is to see a performer perform.

  12. I knew Michael Hedges when he first arrived at Peabody muiscal school in Baltimore. I fell in love with him and his music,,,, he made a HUGE difference in my life… never far from the heart and JUST WOW what a musician and what charisma and charm. I just want to say when I met him I did say Wow you got a very strong music career ahead of you… he said you do believe so? I just said indeed.. I swear I was Micheals very first adoring fan from 1978 !

  13. First saw Michael at the Univ of Maine at Orono in ’88-’89, then again a few years later at Club Bene’ in NJ. Aerial Boundaries was my intro to him, Live on the Double Planet soothes my soul. He inspired me to pick up an acoustic guitar in the early ’90s, which i still play to this day. He is and will be forever a phenomenal acoustic genius.

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