Hedges’ fifth studio album was inspired by a Becca Coté painting called “Road to Return.” The concept album that followed was composed of mostly vocal tunes.
The Road to Return was produced and engineered by Hedges and released in summer 1994 on Windham Hill subsidiary label High Street Records. While there was plenty of impressive guitar work on The Road to Return, the extensive instrumentation on it signaled a departure from previous Hedges albums.
The recording studio itself became Hedges’ primary instrument on this project; and he used his studio in the redwood forest of Northern California to maximum effect as he brought together drum machines, keyboards, bass guitars, flutes, harmonica, various guitars, hand-held percussion instruments, and vocals.
Hedges played all of the instruments on the album (except a saw on the song “Prelude”). His friend Pipa Piñon also contributed vocal chants on several tracks. Some of the album’s songs (“Prelude” and “Sister Soul”) were previously used by Hedges on a children’s movie soundtrack, and others date back as early as 1978 (“A Midwinter Night’s Dream,” previous called “City Scenes”). Still others were fan favorites that Hedges played on the road for years (“Follow Through” and “India”).
Photo credit: unknown