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Album Review

Torched consists of recordings that guitarist Michael Hedges was working on at the time of his fatal automobile accident in December 1997. A collection of demos, this 1999 Windham Hill release has all the intimacy listeners might expect from such a recording without the haphazard performances, as Hedges possessed uncommon technique and emotional connection with every note he played. In this raw format, the rock influences of Hedges' youth appear most notably in vocal phrasings that are more expressive, almost aggressive at times. When compared to completed studio releases, tracks like "Promised Land" and "Spring Buds" have a strong contemporary singer/songwriter cast that is generally absent in Hedges' prior recordings, which possess something of a unique new age flavor. Other cuts, like "Shell Shock Venus," cover a bit more traditional Windham Hill ground. An intellectually curious and by all accounts warm and kind human being, Hedges is represented with two fittingly serene cuts ("Java Man" and "Free Swinging Soul") that finish up Torched, a concise tribute to an extraordinarily precious artist and human being.

Customer Reviews

haven't heard his likes yet

Michael Hedges was unbelievably gifted.

A Beautiful Memory of What Should Have Lived On

Torched was Michael's last but incomplete album due to his fatal car accident on a rain-slicked road in Mendocino County, CA on December 1st, 1997. Before his death, Michael was working on his tentatively titled album "Torched" but never completed it. After he died, Michael's good friends believed that his last works should be revealed. With the help of his producers as well as David Crosby and Graham Nash, Torched was completed. The finished product is nothing short of a masterpiece. The album is perfectly balanced with Michael's infamous guitar work as well as his passion to go beyond boundaries with new and beautiful sounds and lyrics. The last recorded song made by Hedges was his song Java Man, followed by a tribute to Michael with his 1994 recording of Free Swinging Soul.
Though Michael has left our world, his spirit and voice will live on forever.

"Heaven is all around, translated into sound
And the more I hear, the deeper I dig down
I keep digging down
Where his ashes lay
And where the needles decay
Seeds take hold, and I will grow
'Til I free my swinging soul"
-The last words sang by Michael on the last song of his final album.


Born: December 31, 1953 in Sacramento, CA

Genre: New Age

Years Active: '80s, '90s

One of the most innovative and acclaimed solo guitarists of his era, self-described "violent acoustic" artist Michael Hedges rose to success on the strength of a unique performing style that utilized harmonics and picking to create the impression of multiple guitars playing simultaneously. Born in Sacramento, CA, in 1953, Hedges studied classical guitar while in college, subsequently earning a degree in composition from the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore. In 1980, he enrolled in Stanford University's...
Full Bio