It's almost a shame to label him a new age artist, for Michael Hedges' guitar playing was so incredible, it transcended countless stylistic boundaries. Hedges referred to his style as "heavy mental" and "new edge," among other names, with the ability to range from soft and self-absorbed to as aggressive as acoustic playing gets. On the albums Aerial Boundaries and Live On the Double Planet, he invented, perfected or reinvigorated many extended techniques on the guitar, from his violent two-handed tapping and frenzied Ritchie Havens strumming to bright percussive harmonics and deep, contemplative drones. His guitars were often tuned in a manner to allow rich, open-sounding harmonies and multiple intertwining melodies -- most prominently on his large combination harp-guitar. He died in late 1997 following an automobile accident on the Northern California coast.