Michael Alden Hedges (December 31, 1953 – December 2, 1997) was an American composer, acoustic guitarist and singer-songwriter.
Michael’s life in music began in his hometown of Enid, Oklahoma, where he flirted with various instruments before focusing on flute and guitar. He eventually enrolled at Phillips University in Enid to study classical guitar, but more importantly, to study under the tutelage of his compositional mentor, E. J. Ulrich. Michael then went on to earn a degree in composition from the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore while concurrently nurturing an interest in electronic music. “I went to the school of modern 20th century composition. I listened to Leo Kottke, Martin Carthy, and John Martyn, but my head was headed more towards Stravinsky, Varese, Webern, and a lot of experimental composers like Morton Feldman.”
Michael’s interest in electronic music led him in 1980 to Stanford University’s renowned electronic music department. While playing in nearby Palo Alto, Michael was heard by Windham Hill co-founder and guitarist Will Ackerman, who later recalled, “Michael tore my head off. It was like watching the guitar being reinvented.”
Hedges covered a wide range of musical styles and was considered an extremely dynamic performer in concert. Hedges made ends meet playing and singing in pubs and restaurants in the Baltimore Metro area during his tenure at Peabody. From 1976 to 1977 he played electric guitar and flute for a local jazzy folk rock group called Lotus Band, which he left to start performing solo acoustic. In 1980, he made plans to move to California to study music at Stanford University.
Hedges was contacted in February 1981 by William Ackerman who heard Hedges performing at The Varsity Theater in Palo Alto and immediately (using a napkin from The New Varsity) signed Hedges to a recording contract on the Windham Hill label.
One of my personal favorites is his “Ragamuffin“.
If you’re a fan of Spotify, here’s a couple tunes to get you started:
- “All Along the Watchtower”: https://open.spotify.com/track/78lk0UcNsyWoLuqpaBo3Qb
- “Ritual Dance”: https://open.spotify.com/track/3kzxedaCJKTBCLM8IQLnAr
Albums: View List
- Martin D-28 guitar with a combination of a Sunrise S-1 magnetic pickup and FRAP. Check price on Amazon.com
- Ken DuBourg custom made steel string guitar.
- Takamine guitar. Check on Takamine.com
- Lowden L-250 guitars. Check on Lowdenguitars.com
- Martin J-65M guitars. more info
- 1920s Dyer harp guitar configured with a FRAP/autoharp pickup combo / reconfigured with Sunrise S-1 and two Barcus Berry magnetic pickups. Check on Dyerharpguitars.com
- Steve Klein electric harp guitar. more info
- Circa 1913 black Knutsen harp guitar. Check on Harpguitars.net
- Alto flute. Check price on Amazon.com
- Shure SM-15 Headset Condenser Mic. more info
- Samson UT-4 Transmitter.
- Samson UR-4 Receiver. more info
- T. C. Electronics 1140 Parametric Equalizer/Preamp. Check on Tcelectronic.com
- XLR out to Split Channel 1. Check price on Amazon.com
- Acoustic Lens transducer . Check on Tranceaudio.com
- Trance Audio custom preamp on strap. Check on Tranceaudio.com
- Vega T-677 Transmitter on strap. Check on Dpamicrophones.com
- Vega R-677 Receiver.
- XLR out to Split Channel 2.
- Sunrise S-1 Magnetic Pickup. more info
- XLR out to Split Channels 3 & 4.
- L. R. Baggs Ribbon Transducer. more info
- L. R. Baggs custom preamp/mixer on strap. Check on Lrbaggs.com
- T. C. Electronics 1210 Spatial Expander. Check on Tcelectronic.com
- XLR out to Split Channels 5 & 6.
- Countryman Active DI Box. Check price on Amazon.com
- XLR out to PA Channel 7.
- Barcus Berry Magnetic Pickups for sub-basses. Check on Barcusberry.com
- Autoharp Magnetic Pickup for all 11 strings. Check price on Amazon.com
- T. C. Electronics Footpedal Parametric EQ. more info
- T. C. Electronics SCF Stereo Chorus/Pitch Modulator/Flanger. Check on Tcelectronic.com
- 2 x Countryman Active DI Boxes. Check price in Amazon.com
- XLR out to Split Channels 8 & 9
- D’Addario strings. Check price on Amazon.com