Micheal Hedges -Singer/Songwriter

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The Music of Michael Hedges


DEC 3, SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Michael Hedges, an acoustic guitarist and composer known for his unusual two-handed picking style, was killed in an automobile crash. He was 43. Hedges died in a one-car crash on State Route 128 in rural Mendocino County, about 100 miles northwest of San Francisco, California Highway Patrol Officer Bob Burke said Wednesday. A work crew discovered the guitarist's body in his wrecked 1986 BMW Tuesday morning. Burke said it appeared Hedges' car skidded off a curve and down a steep embankment a few days earlier. Known for innovations such as simultaneously picking both ends of the guitar, the Grammy nominee described his own music as ``heavy mental'', ``acoustic thrash'' and ``new edge.'' In the early 1980s, he helped establish the Windham Hill label with his albums ``Breakfast in the Field'' (1983) and ``Aerial Boundaries'' (1984). He also collaborated with such musicians as bassist Michael Manring, guitarist Dweezil Zappa and Crosby, Stills & Nash. ``He was a great friend and one of the most brilliant musicians in America,'' David Crosby said Wednesday from his Southern California home. A native of Enid, Okla., Hedges' early interest in the guitar and flute led him to study classical guitar at Phillips University in Enid. He eventually earned a degree in composition from the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore. He also studied electronic music at Stanford University, where he met Windham Hill co-founder and guitarist Will Ackerman. ``Michael tore my head off,'' Ackerman once said of Hedges' playing. ``It was like watching the guitar being reinvented.'' His music, Hedges once said, was without category. ``If I did have a formula, it would be one more limitation that I would have to deal with, and I'm not in this business to make limitations for myself,'' he said. ``I'm in it to get high. That's what happens to me when I write music.'' In recent years, Hedges lived in Mendocino, recording in his Naked Ear Music studio. There, he incorporated vocals into albums such as ``Taproot'' (1990) and ``The Road To Return'' (1994), but had returned to instrumentals in his most recent album, ``Oracle.'' He was scheduled to perform in the Guitar Summit Tour on the East Coast beginning this winter. He also had been working on his next album, tentatively titled ``Torched.'' Hedges is survived by his mother, Ruth Ipsen, of Fresno; sister Carol Hedges of San Francisco; two brothers, Craig of Los Angeles and Brendan of Madera; and two sons from a former marriage. December 3, 1997 - Article from San Francisco Associated Press by Martha Irvine, Associated Press Writer