Michael Hedges

Torched

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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.

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