Acoustic Innovators Series – Michael Hedges

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Michael Hedges

"The Jimmy Hendrix of Acoustic Guitar"

Michael Hedges is one of the most revered guitarists ever. Known for his innovative manipulation of the acoustic guitar, he is widely heralded as the most influential acoustic guitar player of all time and one of the key influencers of the Modern Acoustic Guitar movement featuring such artists as Andy Mckee, Thomas Leeb and Kaki King.

He was born in Sacramento, California, the son of Dr. Thayne Alden Hedges and Ruth Evelyn Hedges Ipsen. Hedges' life in music began in Enid, Oklahoma, as he flirted with various instruments before focusing on flute and guitar. He eventually enrolled at Phillips University in Enid to study classical guitar and composition under E. J. Ulrich. Subsequently Hedges studied as a composition major at Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, Maryland, where he applied his classically trained musical background in combination with various unusual techniques to the steel-string acoustic guitar.

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.

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