First Listen (Jimmy Galloway)

by | Dec 2, 2021

Submitted by Jimmy Galloway

The year was 1988. My friend Max brought over a 90m cassette tape. On one side was Breakfast in the Field, the other side was Aerial Boundaries. I just started playing guitar 2 years earlier, learning Jimmy Page, Chet Atkins and Mark Knopfler. I was reading about guitar in several magazines geared towards musicians, and stumbled on a few Hedges articles. When he brought the tape over, I took that as a sign I needed to really check this out. I was never the same after. The sheer vocabulary I was introduced to started me on a lifelong quest that I’m still on. That tape led me to go and get every recording he was a part of.

I have been an evangelist to Michael’s work for many years since and always steer my own guitar students to him to see who set the bar so high. I remember teaching at Atlanta Institute of Music, for the Fingerstyle guitar class. The students asked me what I thought about X,Y & Z players [all incredible talents themselves]….. I asked them, “Do you know who Michael Hedges was, because he invented the genre you are referring to- and influenced every player you just named”….. Silently, they sat… I pulled up the Cello suite in G [Bach] of a video he did in New England, on Harp Guitar [Thanks to YouTube]. You could have heard a pin drop. We sat in silence for a few seconds, and I realized that I just turned a room of 40 aspiring guitar students into instant fans. All in a day’s work.

I’m so glad to see he lives on in the hearts and minds of so many musicians. He was a singular talent, and is sorely missed. I was so influenced from his approach, and owe him a great deal of gratitude.

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