Calum Graham is an award-winning guitarist and singer-songwriter from Canada. At 22, Calum was listed by Acoustic Guitar magazine as one of the 30 great guitarists under 30. His music embraces elements of folk, world, and blues, using fingerstyle technique as his foundation. Learn more about Calum and his music at CalumGraham.com.
I was first introduced to Michael Hedges
through Andy McKee’s beautiful tribute,
“The Friend I Never Met.”
Little did I know that I was about to open a doorway to a lifetime of inspiration and endless fascination, as I put my headphones on to listen to Aerial Boundaries.
For the next 37 minutes and 36 seconds, the world stood completely still.
I was deeply moved and transported to another world, especially when I first heard Hedges and Manring cover “After The Gold Rush.” I instantly fell in love with the sound of the Fretless Bass and Acoustic Guitar together.
Years later, I met Michael Manring at the Canadian Guitar Festival. Since that day, he has become a mentor, a friend, and an inspiration in more ways than one.
I’ve also become good friends with Andy McKee and it was an honour to be invited to his Musicarium earlier this year to teach alongside him and Michael Manring.
Days before the camp, I was learning how to play “Dirge” and asked Manring if we could perform it together during his set. To my delight, he said yes and told me he hasn’t played this song since he played it with Hedges.
Watch Calum Graham and Michael Manring perform “Dirge” (by Michael Hedges).
I immediately felt that playing “Dirge” was stepping on sacred ground.
Manring mentioned to the audience that Hedges was interested in Taoism and the relationship between life and death, and wrote this song as a lament for the deceased.
As we began to play, a powerful emotion filled the air. I felt Michael’s presence in the room, sharing the euphoria of that beautiful moment with all of us. Tears filled my eyes as I felt the mutual appreciation that every single person in the room had for Michael, as well as a lingering sadness acknowledging his absence.
Sharing the stage with Michael Manring was a profound musical experience which I will cherish for the rest of my life.
Watch Calum Graham and Michael Manring perform “Farewell” (by Calum Graham).
Through my own personal challenges, Michael’s music has been a lifeline for me.
Every time I hear his music I feel a connection to something larger than myself. It’s incredibly rare to hear music that moves your soul and speaks directly to your heart. I certainly wouldn’t be where I am today without Michael and his music. Thanks to him, I felt inspired to follow my dreams, listen closely to my inner voice and “train my mind to follow the flow of my heart’s river” (as Michael so eloquently said in Rhythm, Sonority, Silence, published by Stropes Editions).
Thank you Michael for “dreaming out loud” and sharing the beauty of your imagination with all of us.
Watch Calum Graham perform his original song “The Nomad” — which is inspired by Michael Hedges’ “Aerial Boundaries.”