The Man Who Revolutionized Finger-style Guitar.
Tonight, May 20, 2010, we feature Michael Hedges, #12 among 20 Icons of Echoes. All of his instrumental albums set the standard for modern acoustic guitar playing. Here are my favorites.
Five Best Michael Hedges CDs, Plus One
This is a middle period Hedges album and a conceptual work. It’s a musical biography, inspired by the symbology of the famed late mythologist, Joseph Campbell. The music is wide-ranging and features one of Hedges’ signature songs, the stroming assualt of “Ritual Path” as well as the sweetness of “Chava’s Song.”
I know purists might place this later on the list, but I always thought it was Hedges’ most perfectly conceived album. In addition to his wonderful guitar playing on tunes like “Ignition” it also has some beautiful arrangements, including Hedges playing flute and harmonica and Michael Manring on electric bass, that highlight him as a composer as much as a guitarist.
His second solo album, it has classic Hedges tracks like “Rickover’s Dream.” It also includes an experiment from his Peabody Conservatory of Music days, “Spare Change.” You can be astounded by the complexity of “Menage a Trois” or the sweetness of his cover of Neil Young’s “After the Goldrush.”
This is the kind of debut that makes a musician a favorite for life. It’s hard to believe Breakfast in the Field came out in 1981, nearly 30 years ago. Breakfast in the Field was a shot across the bow of acoustic guitar albums with songs like “The Happy Couple,” and “Silent Anticipations.”
This album gives an inkling of the power Michael Hedges brought to his live performances. It features many of his best known tunes in definitive performances as well as covers of songs by Hendrix and The Beatles. Yes, Michael sings on this one, but that wasn’t always such a bad thing.
PLUS ONE: Beyond Boundaries
I usually don’t put anthologies in these lists, but if I wanted to introduce somebody to the Hedge’s oeuvre, I’d probably go with Beyond Boundaries. And not because I wrote the liner notes. It’s all instrumental and features his best songs from across his first 4 studio albums as well as some live tracks recorded on Echoes. And I’m not recommending it for that reason either.
You can hear an interview with Michael Hedges tonight , May 20, on Echoes and see the complete list of 20 Icons of Echoes.
John Diliberto ((( echoes )))