Listen to more Icons of Echoes:

Loreena McKennitt

Pat Metheny

Steve Tibbetts

Robert Rich

Lisa Gerrard & Dead Can Dance

Brian Eno

R. Carlos Nakai

Mickey Hart

Steve Roach

Andreas Vollenweider

Over the years certain artists have emerged as icons of the Echoes soundscape. These are musicians who shifted the direction of music, whose work influenced a generation and usually, musicians who also tend to be articulate thinkers about their art. In this series, you'll hear features Echoes has produced on these artists, often encompassing their entire careers.

An Icon of Echoes

In the liner notes to a Michael Hedges collection called Beyond Boundaries, Echoes host John Diliberto wrote:
"Sometimes in music, there is a clear before and after. Jazz was never the same after Charlie Parker. Rock is easily demarcated by the arrival of The Beatles. And no musician could look at an electric guitar the same way after Jimi Hendrix. Michael Hedges is in that same company. He altered the way an entire generation plays the acoustic guitar. By tapping the fretboard with the fingers of both hands, he attained a pianist's range. Slapping the strings gave his attack the bite of an electric guitar and he'd beat on the soundbox for percussion."
We can't add much to that except to say that Echoes has always had a personal relationship with the music of Michael Hedges. He played on Echoes twice, coming into our living room and unfolding his music in kinetic performances. We also profiled Hedges a few times and made him on of 10 Artists for Ten Years of Echoes. There isn't a acoustic guitar player you hear on Echoes that doesn't have to acknowledge, if not outright thank Michael Hedges.

Michael Hedges: One of Ten Artists for Ten Years of Echoes (1999)

If you're an electric guitarist, you have to confront the legacy of Jimi Hendrix. Any trumpeter has to acknowledge Miles Davis and every saxophonist must bow to Charlie Parker. In that same way, every acoustic guitarist will have to confront the ground-breaking style of Michael Hedges.

Beginning with his 1981 debut, Breakfast in the Field, Hedges transformed the idea of acoustic guitar with a range of innovative techniques. But he did more than that, wedding his skills to evocative, impressionistic melodies and live performances that were never short of exhilarating. Michael was killed in a car accident in 1997, but his legacy lives on. In 1999, we paid tribute with a sound portrait of Michael Hedges, One of Ten Artists for Ten Years of Echoes.

Michael Hedges: Savage Myth Guitar  (1990)

Michael Hedges played "savage myth" guitar, one of his names for an aggressive style of acoustic guitar playing that won him a loyal following beginning with his debut, Breakfast in the Field. In 1990, Hedges talked with us about his Trans-Trem guitar and his new album at the time, a concept work called Taproot.

Michael Hedges's Guitar Transformations (1996)

Michael Hedges was the critically acclaimed Windham Hill guitarist who in 1996 released what we consider his best album, Oracle. At that time, Hedges talked about the influences on his new music, ranging from yoga to chants of Oklahoma. He took us inside the music of Oracle, revealing the tone poem designs and metaphysical sources.

A Living Room Concert with Michael Hedges (1994)

In the fall of 1994, Windham Hill recording artist Michael Hedges visited the Echoes living room for a concert of freewheeling, high energy acoustic guitar.

Another Living Room Concert with Michael Hedges (1996)

Windham Hill guitar virtuoso Michael Hedges returned to the Echoes Living Room in 1996, pulled up a chair and played music from his then-new album, Oracle.  His selections included a tune from Frank Zappa and an old Hedges favorite from his first solo album, Breakfast in the Field. In this performance, Michael Hedges brought his idiosyncratic guitar technique to bear on some of his most beautiful compositions.

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