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Album Review

On this his fifth Windham Hill release, Michael Hedges relates characters from his self-described autobiographical myth with song. The mostly instrumental collection reveals no story elements as the guitarist uses his compositional skills to illustrate characters representative of his friends and loved ones. The music is touching in its purity and conveyance of honor and affection. A virtuoso guitarist, Hedges also incorporates tasteful synth patches, as well as a few percussion and wind instruments — presumably performed by the composer himself as no other musicians are credited. Fans of experimental guitar will enjoy the guitarist's generous use of the Steinberg Trans-trem on tracks like "Nomad Land" and the unique exercise in acoustic tapping on "The Rootwitch." More than just a new age technician, Hedges also demonstrates his immense melodic talent on brooding numbers like "The Naked Stalk" and "Scenes (On the Road to Shrub 2)." Celtic-influenced marches ("The First Cutting") and groovy almost rock ("Nomad Land") are included as well, providing for a dynamic, yet theatrically consistant listening experience. The closer "I Carry Your Heart" (adapted from the poetry of e.e. cummings) is the only track featuring Hedges' smooth vocals, and perhaps the most poignant song included. With its yearning melodies and expressive yet mature emotional language, Taproot reinforces Hedges' reputation as a gifted, self-realized composer, musician, and human being.

Customer Reviews

As good as Aerial Boundaries

This album in my humble opinion is as good as Hedge's classic, Aerial Boundaries. It hints at the future that would be realized in Oracle and the posthumous Torched, with a strong rock feel. This is helped along by excellent accompaniment on various woodwinds by Mike Moore and on several tracks (#2 & #9) by percussive instruments (Bryan Lanser). The last song (lyrics by e.e. cummings, singing by Hedges) includes bass (Michael Manring) and stellar harmony vocals by David Crosby and Graham Nash. All other songs are instrumentals. If you can't puchase the whole album, at least get Naked Stalk, Nomad Land, Ritual Dance, and I Carry Your Heart.

His Finest Work

Taproot is an amazing album filled with an array of different styles, textures, and sounds that go above and beyond Michael's famous fingerstyle guitar albums.. This album was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1991 and for good reason. From the beginning tones of the somber, yet beautiful song "The Naked Stalk" to the ending harmonies of Michael, Graham Nash, and David Crosby singing "I Carry Your Heart", this album delivers an incredible collaboration of talent from several prominent musicians. Michael does more than fingerpick/slap his acoustic guitar, including woodwinds, percussion, and a custom built electric harp-guitar. The genres played extend from psychedelic, rock, funk, and jazz to military march, electronic, and fingerstyle. Do yourself a favor and smoke a joint, sit down in a comfortable chair, put on your headphones, and listen to this album the whole way through. I guarantee that you will enjoy yourself.

Michael described this album as an "autobiographical myth told in music". After listening to it through, I somehow knew what he was talking about.


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