Michael Hedges

Michael Hedges, an acoustic guitarist and composer known for his unusual two-handed picking style and whose albums helped put a growing Windham Hill Records on the industry map, was killed in an automobile crash. He was 43.

Hedges died in a single vehicle accident on State Route 128 in rural Mendocino County, about 100 miles northwest of San Francisco. His body was discovered Tuesday in his wrecked BMW. Hedges’ car apparently skidded off a curve and down a steep embankment a few days earlier.

Known for innovations such as simultaneously picking both ends of the guitar, the Grammy-nominee described his own music as “heavy mental” and “new edge.”

He helped establish the Windham Hill label with his albums “Breakfast in the Field” (1983) and “Aerial Boundaries” (1984). He also collaborated with such musicians as Crosby, Still & Nash, bassist Michael Manring and guitarist Dweezil Zappa.

A native of Enid, Okla., Hedges studied classical guitar at Phillips U. in Enid and later earned a degree in composition from the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore. He also studied electronic music at Stanford U., where he met Windham Hill co-founder and guitarist Will Ackerman.

Hedges lived in Mendocino and recorded in his Naked Ear Music studio where his most recent album, “Oracle,” was produced.

Hedges is survived by two sons, his mother, a sister and two brothers.

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