Throughout most of his career, the late guitar innovator Michael Hedges was unfairly tagged as a New Age artist. Sure, his Windham Hill recordings lean in that direction, but at his best – on his second release Aerial Boundaries (1985) and in live performance – he was much more a storyteller than your typical purveyor of chamomile tea audio. He could stand on stage all alone and make you believe you were hearing two or three guitarists, each with a different speciality. He’d tap out placid but endlessly complex codes on the fretboard, then strum tense clustered chords with a metal god’s fury, then caress a melody so earnest and true it sounded like a whisper from some idyllic children’s garden.
Hedges (1953-1997) was a consummate technician and an unorthodox guitar thinker, but that was never the dominant impression – he was far too musical to stoop to trickery. His lowkey mastery defines this 1987 live performance of Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major, on the harp guitar.
Suggested Hedges listening: Aerial Boundaries, Taproot.