Thursday, December 05, 2013

The Last Recorded Performance of the Greatest Acoustic Guitarist of Our Era

And no, I don't know what "our era" is supposed to mean, but I wanted to shoot for something grandiose. Anyway, what a wonderful find on YouTube this is: Michael Hedges, a tremendously talented and innovative acoustic guitarist (and first-rate folk and electronic musician, composer, and cover artist, as well as a very funny man), performing in Sommerville, MA, only a couple of weeks before his tragic death in a car crash in early December, 1997. The visual quality is poor, and you can't always hear his jokes, but the sound comes through brilliantly--and what a brilliant sound it is! I've been listening to this all morning, and it's been taking me back. Melissa and I saw Hedges twice: once at the University of Utah (as part of an acoustic tour which featured the then-local artist Kim Simpson, who we really need to see again someday), and then again years later at The Barns at Wolf Trap in Virginia. He would have been 60 this year, and what a loss to the world of music his absence over the past 16 years has been. Michael Hedges, RIP.


Matt said...

Are you sure he's better than Richard Thompson? That sounds unlikely to me, but who knows.

Russell Arben Fox said...

Yes, Matt, I'd have to say he is. Richard Thompson is an enormously talented folk and pop composer and artist (as evidenced here; he definitely has far more great songs to his credit than Hedges ever did. But simply as an acoustic performer on the guitar? I'm going to have to stick with Hedges.