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Michael Hedges — Because It's There
Album: Live on the Double Planet
Avg rating:
7.8

Your rating:
Total ratings: 1139









Released: 1987
Length: 3:05
Plays (last 30 days): 1
(Instrumental)
Comments (117)add comment
Some impressive accolades from other guitar players in the wiki entry!
 bluematrix wrote:
My favorite guitarist ever. 

Funny story... many many moons ago I had a roommate who, while he had somewhat similar musical tastes as I did, tended more towards heavy metal. I told him about this guy Michael Hedges who was coming to the Lawrence Opera house. I told him he played solo acoustic and warned him that while he could be mellow at times, but as a guitar player, I was pretty sure he'd enjoy the show regardless. We went and Hedges started the show with a blistering version of AC/DCs Back in Black. My friend's mouth dropped open and he became a big fan.

When Hedges died years later, it was really the first time the death of a famous person (who I had only met briefly after a show - another good Hedges story) really affected me and made me feel the world was a lesser place without him in it.

RIP, king of the acoustic guitar
 Ok, now for the "another good Hedges story". ...


Reading all the glorious comments made me tear up.  I had the fortune to see Michael Hedges perform live several times as a young college student; I'm forever grateful.
*For you die hard fans - Funky Avocado was influenced by a fabulous dance club and a great but long gone Natural Grocer here in Baltimore.  

I was devastated to learn of his death; it was a horrific way to go, only adding to my sadness over his loss. 

Many awesome acoustic guitarists out there, but he was the first. 

If you ever have the opportunity to see Clive Carroll perform his homage to Michael, it will make you cry.
 ecojot wrote:
He reinvented acoustic guitar playing and now there are lots of fingerstyle players who do the tapping and slapping. They are all technically very good, but Michael Hedges was first and foremost a composer.
 None touch him in technique IMHO.

Sweet.  Live?  Impressive.  
 HawkCircle wrote:

I was also at that Carnegie Hall show where Michael opened for Leo and they jammed on Eight Miles High as an encore.  That was my first of many Hedges shows in a variety of clubs/theatres.  
 

 acupunk wrote:
I was lucky enough to see Michael Hedges several times in 1986 and 87. The first time was at my alma mater SUNY New Paltz at our Earth Day Festival. Actually spoke with him briefly. The second time was at Carnegie Hall in a double bill he did with Leo Kottke. The third show was in Terrytown NY. All three shows were amazing but the first time at school was such a surprise. I was an instant fan. Not enough superlatives for his guitar work. Why do the great ones leave so soon??
 

 bluematrix wrote:
My favorite guitarist ever. 

Funny story... many many moons ago I had a roommate who, while he had somewhat similar musical tastes as I did, tended more towards heavy metal. I told him about this guy Michael Hedges who was coming to the Lawrence Opera house. I told him he played solo acoustic and warned him that while he could be mellow at times, but as a guitar player, I was pretty sure he'd enjoy the show regardless. We went and Hedges started the show with a blistering version of AC/DCs Back in Black. My friend's mouth dropped open and he became a big fan.

When Hedges died years later, it was really the first time the death of a famous person (who I had only met briefly after a show - another good Hedges story) really affected me and made me feel the world was a lesser place without him in it.

RIP, king of the acoustic guitar
 

Great story,–I was introduced to him under the same pretenses! And yeah, life-changing. Such a pleasant and whimsical fellow to meet, and of course, pure guitar bliss to experience live. I too, mourned his loss hard. Thank you for sharing, and long live his music and our fond memories.
Every note and sonority of the guitars coming through loud and clear listening at 44 kHz and 320 kbps.

Thank you BillG. 
My favorite guitarist ever. 

Funny story... many many moons ago I had a roommate who, while he had somewhat similar musical tastes as I did, tended more towards heavy metal. I told him about this guy Michael Hedges who was coming to the Lawrence Opera house. I told him he played solo acoustic and warned him that while he could be mellow at times, but as a guitar player, I was pretty sure he'd enjoy the show regardless. We went and Hedges started the show with a blistering version of AC/DCs Back in Black. My friend's mouth dropped open and he became a big fan.

When Hedges died years later, it was really the first time the death of a famous person (who I had only met briefly after a show - another good Hedges story) really affected me and made me feel the world was a lesser place without him in it.

RIP, king of the acoustic guitar
How long since we've been unable to rate songs on the mobile web page? This track is just superb, but I can't rate it and thus add it to my favorites.

Anytime else first assume he was playing a Stick?
He reinvented acoustic guitar playing and now there are lots of fingerstyle players who do the tapping and slapping. They are all technically very good, but Michael Hedges was first and foremost a composer.
Not bad for a guitar-bass trio. Except of course it's just the one guy, and no overdubs. Blows my freaking mind.
Michael Hedges, so cool. So moody. Left us waaay too soon :(
 k-man wrote:
...

very cool story.

 


 Proclivities wrote:

Cool, but if you went to New Paltz you should know that the village down and across the river from there is "Tarrytown", not "Terrytown".

 

 colt4x5 wrote:

Possibly true, although they are 60 miles apart. You could spend a lifetime in New Paltz and never visit Tarrytown, except to pass through on the train on your way into the city.
 
{#Yes} Especially some of the students who attended SUNY New Paltz.
I love Michael Hedges.
 Proclivities wrote:

Cool, but if you went to New Paltz you should know that the village down and across the river from there is "Tarrytown", not "Terrytown".

 
Possibly true, although they are 60 miles apart. You could spend a lifetime in New Paltz and never visit Tarrytown, except to pass through on the train on your way into the city.

 
 acupunk wrote:
I was lucky enough to see Michael Hedges several times in 1986 and 87. The first time was at my alma mater SUNY New Paltz at our Earth Day Festival. Actually spoke with him briefly. The second time was at Carnegie Hall in a double bill he did with Leo Kottke. The third show was in Terrytown NY. All three shows were amazing but the first time at school was such a surprise. I was an instant fan. Not enough superlatives for his guitar work. Why do the great ones leave so soon??

 
Cool, but if you went to New Paltz you should know that the village down and across the river from there is "Tarrytown", not "Terrytown".
 calypsus_1 wrote: 
More than 3 years later, virtually an identical playlist. Bill - are you being lazy? Godspeed to you if this is the case.
 Dosequis wrote:

If only Michael and Jeff Beck could have played together. Now that would have been even better! 
Next you'll wish for Debussy and Gilbert & Sullivan.  Hedges and Beck would seem a very incompatible duo, though both are great musicians. Too bad Michael can no longer entertain the possibility.
 fatcatjb wrote:
I'll bet that Michael and Jimi are having a rocking good time
 

 
If only Michael and Jeff Beck could have played together. Now that would have been even better!
Well over 20 years ago Boston Acoustics issued a bunch of promo discs, designed of course to show off their speakers' abilities, one of which was Michael Hedges live. Oh, lord. "Because It's There" is the hands down show stopper. For all of the acoustic gymnastics on the studio recording, the live recording catches his nuanced dynamics at their height. Imagine what he would have done...
marked it a 7 because my spouse said it was wonderful guitar - marked it a 9 after I listened to it myself
I was lucky enough to see Michael Hedges several times in 1986 and 87. The first time was at my alma mater SUNY New Paltz at our Earth Day Festival. Actually spoke with him briefly. The second time was at Carnegie Hall in a double bill he did with Leo Kottke. The third show was in Terrytown NY. All three shows were amazing but the first time at school was such a surprise. I was an instant fan. Not enough superlatives for his guitar work. Why do the great ones leave so soon??
a good friend of mine turned me on to hedges about fifteen years ago, been astounded ever since!
 stewliscious wrote:

It blew my mind when I found out this was one guy, one guitar. 


Well, that ain't just a regular guy, and by no means is that song played on a regular guitar.


I walked into a bagel shop here in town, and they were playing a Hedges/Manring duet, the Neil Young cover took me far away.

I said, "Who the heck is that?"

I went to search out the album, but couldn't find the one with After the Goldrush. Instead, I got Micheal's "Watching My Life Go By," which included his cover of "All Along the Watchtower." Fancy that about a week later, I got to see him perform at the tiny jazz club known locally as the Kauumba.

Out walks Micheal with a Martin 6 string, and he launches into All Along the Watchtower. My jaw hit the floor, I had no idea that what I'd been listening to on the album was just Micheal with a silly acoustic guitar--6 strings in all, with no over dubs.

And after all that time, I'd thought the track was composed with two over-dubbed guitars!

Even more amazing is that he didn't swap out his guitar after the song. Such a funky tuning, for sure, any other player would have grabbed another box that was tuned correctly for the next song. But without comparing strings, Micheal tuned up again, and launched again into another mind-bending number.

And that's the way it was for the rest of the evening, every song a new tuning, and he'd tune each string by ear, without comparing string tones. I was lucky in that I got to see him play about 10 times live. Yes Mr. Micheal, we miss you, and your soul.

beautiful music...  love it...
 
 Lewis_Moon wrote:

Sadly...was.
 

Wow...  I just looked it up...  that is so sad...  love this music...


 (former member) wrote:


Yes... Hedges is an incredible artist...

 
 
Sadly...was.
 msymmes wrote:

Very nice!!
 

Yes... Hedges is an incredible artist...

 

Very nice!!
wow, i started doing something after rodrigo and gabrielle but this one was amazing, i stopped what i was doing and just sat still, completely content to listen to the music
Amazing artist... Great set Bill! Thanks!

Thought it was Trace Bundy!

Excellent guitar work!
He was just so good.

awesome music from the virtuoso with the lightning fingers...  love it...

 
 dalemarushy wrote:
Very Reminiscent of John Butler (or Vice Versa).  Only Butlers "Ocean" knocks the socks off of this song.
 
Let's hear more John Butler on RP!
 parnoldo wrote:
Michael Hedges is my all time favorite acoustic player. Discovered the Aerial Boundries LP when in college in the eighties and was blown away. Almost twenty-five years later and I'm still blown away every time I hear him. Very disappointing that I never got to see him live. More Michael Hedges on RP!

 
I was lucky enough to see Michael open for Shadowfax maybe around '86 or '87, he really was extraordinary.  Shadowfax wasn't half bad either, I really dug their Shamanic Fusion thing.

I'll bet that Michael and Jimi are having a rocking good time
 
ah^^
RP is always a source for new-found-goodies. never heard this before - beuatiful!
Very Reminiscent of John Butler (or Vice Versa).  Only Butlers "Ocean" knocks the socks off of this song.

this guy was crazy good.  loved that live cd...
Michael Hedges is my all time favorite acoustic player. Discovered the Aerial Boundries LP when in college in the eighties and was blown away. Almost twenty-five years later and I'm still blown away every time I hear him. Very disappointing that I never got to see him live. More Michael Hedges on RP!

 stewliscious wrote:

It blew my mind when I found out this was one guy, one guitar.  Saw him live in Ashville NC once and in the middle of this song he went into "Inna Gadda Da Vida".  We miss you Michael.


 
Saw him at the Gordon Center for performing arts in Reisterstown, MD in the late 90's and he did the same thing.  Has to be the best concert I ever saw because of the small venue and the quality of music. 

Reminds me of Don Alder, world finger style champion.  Good Guy, too.
this is okay but i always loved the stuff with his old group benson and hedges.
Yahh! Luv it.
 healyf52 wrote:
Check out Andy McKee on Youtube. He's carrying the torch in an admirable fashion.
 
Very cool, thanks! Don Ross is another great guitarist. In fact there is a Youtube video of Andy McKee and Don Ross playing together. But here's one of Don on his own:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ip111lXjDSs


I have a friend who used to be a roadie for Hedges.  He actually got to go on stage once to play some kind of hand-drum, but he was a bit too surprised (it wasn't planned...) to really do anything with the drum, like keep proper time...
Great music, tragic loss.
 inindian wrote:
One of the best pieces of music ever!
 

Yeah, this is cool...


One of the best pieces of music ever!

It blew my mind when I found out this was one guy, one guitar.  Saw him live in Ashville NC once and in the middle of this song he went into "Inna Gadda Da Vida".  We miss you Michael.


 fuh2 wrote:
He seems to be playing directly from the heart of the Universe.
 

C'mon man. Look through your sock drawer and find those testicles! 
Hey, I know this guy from my Windham Hill collection.  Kinda like Will Ackerman.  I stocked up on those one year when I needed some meditation music.  Good stuff.
The new Capitol visitor's center in Washington DC uses Michael Hedges (I think Aerial Boundaries) as the opening soundtrack for the movie they now show everyone to start the tour.  Thanks to RP I recognized it.  "Aha, Michael Hedges." 

Loving this, dunno why, but its making my evening :)

 WonderLizard wrote:
As a musician, I don't know of any other musician, especially my guitarist friends, who would agree with this.
 
Ditto.  Unmemorable?  Listen closer


TriskyJen wrote:
I had the pleasure of seeing him perform twice in a tiny venue here in the Hudson Valley (The Towne Crier) in a room of about seventy or eight people. He was so amazing to watch. Eyes closed most of the time. He just about picked you up and took you for a ride with him.
Lucky you. I live nearby and relish the acts that thrive through the Towne Crier. Would have loved to have seen him. Sad.
Actually, it was George Leigh Mallory, who disappeared in an attempt to climb Everest in 1924, who uttered that quote. It later led to Robert Service's tribute to him: Why seek to scale Mount Everest, Queen of the Air, Why strive to crown that cruel crest And deathward dare? Said Mallory of dauntless quest `Because it's there.' Mallory's body was finally found on Everest in 1999.
Shimmer wrote:
Stunt guitar. Impressive and pretty, but not very memorable.
As a musician, I don't know of any other musician, especially my guitarist friends, who would agree with this.
Check out Andy McKee on Youtube. He's carrying the torch in an admirable fashion.
LLMikeJ wrote:
beautiful. a long time ago this was the first michael hedges song i had heard and i thought it was at least two guitarists playing. for those of you not familiar with mountain climbing lore, the title of this song refers to Sir Edmund Hilary's explanation as to why he would risk his life to climb the highest mountain in the world. :meditate:
Rest in Peace Sir Edmund Hillary.
TriskyJen wrote:
I had the pleasure of seeing him perform twice in a tiny venue here in the Hudson Valley (The Towne Crier) in a room of about seventy or eight people. He was so amazing to watch. Eyes closed most of the time. He just about picked you up and took you for a ride with him.
hmmmm...
I had the pleasure of seeing him perform twice in a tiny venue here in the Hudson Valley (The Towne Crier) in a room of about seventy or eight people. He was so amazing to watch. Eyes closed most of the time. He just about picked you up and took you for a ride with him.
STOP! I CAN'T TURN THE RP OFF! Segue Miester Magician! :whipit:
Love MH, think the original (Aerial Boundaries, on the album by the same name) is a little better.
thinkthinkthink wrote:
i love being in his music
fun response....I agree!
Veldig dyktig.
Michael Hedges was not only very technically skilled but he played with pure joy :guitarist: Simply stunning :meditate:
Some very good videos of this on YouTube. Easy to find, just search by his name or the name of the tune.
i love being in his music
LLMikeJ wrote:
beautiful. a long time ago this was the first michael hedges song i had heard and i thought it was at least two guitarists playing. for those of you not familiar with mountain climbing lore, the title of this song refers to Sir Edmund Hilary's explanation as to why he would risk his life to climb the highest mountain in the world. :meditate:
Sorry I missed this being played. Maybe on the next rotation. Michael Hedges is one of my absolute favorite musicians - both a master at guitar and a beautiful singer/songwriter too. As one other RP listener remarked already, Michael is, unfortunately, no longer with us. But I like to think that he lives on, for those of us still earth-bound, through his music. The quote below is from the only album I so far own - the last Michael was working on when he died - Torched.
Amazon.com Torched is the album Michael Hedges was reputedly working on when he was tragically taken from us in a car wreck in November 1997. It reveals Hedges exploring his fervent desire to be a singer/songwriter, rather than the virtuoso guitarist who influenced a generation of string-pickers. Hedges played the whole guitar, not just the strings, turning it into a tribal orchestra that rendered his gorgeous and often quirky melodies. That Hedges is rarely heard on Torched. Instead Hedges's vocal side prevails. Torched is a scattered collection of nearly completed songs and rough tracks, all highlighting his spiritual search and romantic yearnings. As a singer/songwriter, Hedges was influenced by the 1960s and '70s Jackson Browne-James Taylor axis of earnest proclamations. He's even joined by '60s veterans David Crosby and Graham Nash, who added their harmonies to "Spring Buds" after Hedges passed. On the title track, he sings of spiritual transformation by fire, adding some distorted fuzz guitar to scorched effect. On "Promised Land" he waxes biblical. There are a few instrumentals as well, including "Fusion of the Five Elements," an early, triple-speed demo for the song that wound up as the title track to Oracle, Hedges's last official album. Other pieces like "Dream Beach," "Arrowhead," and "Ursa Major" would have fit comfortably on Oracle with their wistful melodies and arrangements that have Hedges playing flutes, percussion, and keyboards in addition to guitar. Posthumous albums are always problematic. We'll never know if Hedges actually wanted these tracks to be released, and over all the vocal songs don't match his more carefully articulated Road to Return vocal album from a few years back. With Torched we're left with embers from a musician who usually gave us bonfires of brilliance. --John Diliberto From Jazziz While Hedges brought a new sonic architecture to the acoustic guitar that stunned even his fellow guitarists, he also loved to sing. The posthumously released Torched presents the late, much-loved musician in both roles, with moving results. In progress at the time of his 1997 death from a car accident, these tracks are largely unfinished home recordings of Hedges'. In many cases though, Torched presents realized compositions, not just promising sketches; a clarity of purpose is communicated that feels whole. Many of the 14 tunes reveal what must have been a tremendous amount of work on Hedges' part. There are beautiful, overdubbed vocal harmonies on "Rough Wind in Oklahoma" and "The Holy Flame," wonderful keyboard coloration on "Sapphire," and, on "Ursa Major," a mix of gentle chords, harmonics, and sampled wind that sounds like Redwood trees strung with guitar wires, resonating in the breeze. With the sinewy power of his guitar and the direct appeal of his singing, Hedges also put grit into a singer/songwriter genre. He had the ability to frame emotions so they glowed with both sophisticated intelligence and primal passion, and his lyrics offered a penetrating vision that struck at the heart of meaning. this guy was truly tuned into something else.
Click here for the Amazon reference. Note: If these people praise the album Torched as a collection "nearly completed songs and rough tracks" I can't wait to hear his other albums because, to me, Torched seems highly polished! Click here for the complete Amazon.com listing of Michael's available albums. Click here for the AllMusic link for those wanting to read more about Michael Hedges.
He seems to be playing directly from the heart of the Universe.
kazuma wrote:
I could stand to hear some more from this fellow.
agreed
I could stand to hear some more from this fellow.
Shimmer wrote:
That's not true. George Winston gets some amazing sounds out of his piano. I've seen him in concert with the hood of his piano up, plucking the strings by hand! Sounds great.
Had front_row center seats a few years back to see George Winston & it was one of the best concerts I've ever been to. Wish he was on RP more frequently..
I always appreciate it when you play Michael Hedges. Thanks
majortom505 wrote:
What does Bill have against lyrics, one instrumental an hour is way too much, two in a row is just awful.
Most of the comments here about MH or whoever are pretty positive. Makes the dumb negative musically biggoted ones stand out so badly :lol:
Wrong! So wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Shimmer wrote:
Stunt guitar. Impressive and pretty, but not very memorable.
maryte wrote:
Probably the only Windham Hill artist who pushed the limits of his instrument...
That's not true. George Winston gets some amazing sounds out of his piano. I've seen him in concert with the hood of his piano up, plucking the strings by hand! Sounds great.
jagdriver wrote:
Been into Michael since I first discovered the Windham Hill LP collection at our local library. Thanks to the inspired librarians of Traverse City, MI!
Probably the only Windham Hill artist who pushed the limits of his instrument...
Shimmer wrote:
Stunt guitar. Impressive and pretty, but not very memorable.
Boy, talk about a backhanded compliment!
Stunt guitar. Impressive and pretty, but not very memorable.
Michael Hedges rules over all accoustic guitarists. As long as he doesn't sing and play that damn whistle!
Java Man at his best. It's amazing how young the most talented guitarists we've had in the last 40 years have died: Hendrix, Stevie Ray, Michael Hedges. Really a shame.
The guy is clearerly a skilled string artist.
You just made my day. This is one of the first CDs I ever bought (my vinyl collection at that point was extensive). Just beautiful.
I just don't get how anyone could diss this guy. For those who aren't into this song, have you ever seen video or attended a concert of this guy playing? Do you know the tragic story of how he died? I am hopeful that the haters will change their view once they get some background on Michael Hedges.
I was able to see MH not all that long before he was killed. To this day, that concert remains one of the best and most awe-inspiring concerts I've ever had the pleasure of seeing. He is greatly missed.
Gribnif wrote:
Talented? Yes. Interesting? ...huh? Oh, I think I dozed off.
Try listening to it on a clear warm summer night in the middle of the Canadian Rockies, while looking up.
Talented? Yes. Interesting? ...huh? Oh, I think I dozed off.
mettle wrote:
Um, what do you have against instrumentals?
They make the voices in his head louder.
majortom505 wrote:
What does Bill have against lyrics, one instrumental an hour is way too much, two in a row is just awful.
Um, what do you have against instrumentals?
Virtuosos or fast and flash players tend to get on my nerves whatever the instrument (Gordon Giltrap, Jean-Luc Ponty and all). He does not. An achievement in itself. Magnificent player with musicality above technique. Instrumental? So what! with that level of musicianship every piece carries itself very well thank you.
I really like the tribal flute and the drums
majortom505 wrote:
What does Bill have against lyrics, one instrumental an hour is way too much, two in a row is just awful.
Another head scratcher of a comment.
phineas wrote:
The quote is actually from British mountaineer George Leigh Mallory, who ended up dying on Everest in 1924. No proof either way if he made it to the peak or not. Hedges was simply amazing.
ah crap. that's what happens when i try to go from memory. btw, be sure to visit Everest News for news on current expeditions, as well as an expedition that's researching the fate of the Mallory & Irvine expedition. There are a few teams making a push for the summit as I type.
What does Bill have against lyrics, one instrumental an hour is way too much, two in a row is just awful.
Very nice. :meditate.gif:
This song brings back wonderful memories -- I yearn for the days of "Nitelite" with John Beaudin on CKXM 100.3 .... it was through John that I learned about the wonderful diversity of music ... and it's through Bill (Hi Bill!) that I continue to stay sane in the wasteland of radio these days ....
Great tune to be sure, but little more than a variation on Arial Boundaries, which this may just a live variation of....
LLMikeJ wrote:
beautiful. a long time ago this was the first michael hedges song i had heard and i thought it was at least two guitarists playing. for those of you not familiar with mountain climbing lore, the title of this song refers to Sir Edmund Hilary's explanation as to why he would risk his life to climb the highest mountain in the world. :meditate:
The quote is actually from British mountaineer George Leigh Mallory, who ended up dying on Everest in 1924. No proof either way if he made it to the peak or not. Hedges was simply amazing.
Been into Michael since I first discovered the Windham Hill LP collection at our local library. Thanks to the inspired librarians of Traverse City, MI! Check out Barbara Higbie & Darol Anger live at Montreaux!
I was lucky enough to see Michael in concert many years ago. WOW, what a loss...
Truely amazing and insirping musician imho. Check out his influence with Michael Manring's work (also truely amazing - check out a dvd called bass day '98 and be blown away).
beautiful. a long time ago this was the first michael hedges song i had heard and i thought it was at least two guitarists playing. for those of you not familiar with mountain climbing lore, the title of this song refers to Sir Edmund Hilary's explanation as to why he would risk his life to climb the highest mountain in the world. :meditate.gif:
Always liked this guy's work.
This guy played the bass line, rhythm and leads on one guitar at the same time live...I've never seen anything like it before or since. He was the acoustic guitar god and the world is a lesser place without him.
According to AllMusic, he died in '97. Too bad. Never heard him before...pretty stuff.
Cool, reminds me of Anthony Mazella (check out https://www.anthonymazzella.com) I heard him on a music channel on Direct TV, ordered a CD, and when it came it was signed by him personally :o