On this his fifth Windham Hill release, Michael Hedges
relates characters from his self-described autobiographical myth with song. The mostly instrumental collection reveals no story elements as the guitarist uses his compositional skills to illustrate characters representative of his friends and loved ones. The music is touching in its purity and conveyance of honor and affection. A virtuoso guitarist, Hedges
also incorporates tasteful synth patches, as well as a few percussion and wind instruments -- presumably performed by the composer himself as no other musicians are credited. Fans of experimental guitar will enjoy the guitarist's generous use of the Steinberg Trans-trem on tracks like "Nomad Land" and the unique exercise in acoustic tapping on "The Rootwitch." More than just a new age technician, Hedges
also demonstrates his immense melodic talent on brooding numbers like "The Naked Stalk" and "Scenes (On the Road to Shrub 2)." Celtic-influenced marches ("The First Cutting") and groovy almost rock ("Nomad Land") are included as well, providing for a dynamic, yet theatrically consistant listening experience. The closer "I Carry Your Heart" (adapted from the poetry of e.e. cummings) is the only track featuring Hedges
' smooth vocals, and perhaps the most poignant song included. With its yearning melodies and expressive yet mature emotional language, Taproot
' reputation as a gifted, self-realized composer, musician, and human being.