Mindlessly scrolling on YouTube, I stumbled upon a small, live performance by Hayden Pedigo playing guitar. I had no idea who this man was or what his music sounded like. But he seemed like a nice enough guy, so I tuned in. Before I knew it, I had watched his full concert. Fully amazed by what I had heard, I instantly began looking more into Hunter and his discography.
Who is Hayden Pedigo?
Hayden Pedigo is a guitarist from Amarillo, Texas. Also known for his songwriting and experimenting with diverse ambient sounds. Pedigo, at the age of twelve, started learning the guitar and was heavily influenced by artists of the American Primitive Guitar style: John Fahey, Robbie Basho, Daniel Bachman, and Mark Fosson. In the Texas Monthly’s article “Plains Sounds”, it is reported that Pedigo’s first album contract came from sending a video of himself playing the guitar in an abandoned school to Maramara Records in 2012.
As of now, Pedigo has released five albums, a large increase from his beginning. His music plays with sound that is not too familiar with the mainstream. Although produced well, Pedigo is more focused on a listener’s experience than he is with top hits. Yet, because of his music’s authenticity, he still has managed to amass quite the following, with his song “Carthage” almost being at one million streams on Spotify.
Hayden Pedigo’s Tiny Desk Concert
This past Sunday (11/12/23), Hayden Pedigo performed a set for the National Public Radio’s (NPR) Tiny Desk Concert series. His range is wide and absorbs influence from his hometown in Texas. Even in his more experimental pieces, like his album Greetings From Amarillo, the unaware listener can recognize its southern roots.
Pedigo’s NPR Playing
Hunched in an acute posture, his cream dress shirt folded in spots his arms don’t fill, Pedigo plucks at his guitar fingerstyle. Fingerstyle is a method of plucking the strings on the guitar directly with the player’s fingertips, fingernails, or picks attached to their fingers. Pedigo’s set list consists of three meaningful tracks: “Elsewhere“, “Carthage“, and “The Happiest Times I Ever Ignored“.
What’s the Point of Pedigo’s Music?
Between songs in his NPR performance, Pedigo shines light onto his life, as well as to what he’s playing. He mentions that these tracks portray the intimate nature of where he’s from, despite its assumed reputation and rugged looks. These themes within his songs are delicately sounded out as he plucks his strings, like a child slowly announcing the vowels and consonants of a newly learned word. They are beautiful, close, and pure, offering a unique lens to an old image.
What can we Expect Next from Pedigo?
It is hard to predict what we’ll see next from Pedigo. Pedigo’s music asks listeners to reconsider preconceived notions, and offers them to look at familiar moments with different eyes. He does not follow traditional routes in terms of following a music-releasing-guidline. His music asks his listeners honest propositions, and his songs, although lyricless, moves his audience to think of past memories and new solutions without having to say a word. So, what does that mean in regards to future releases from Pedigo? It means that his listeners will continue to be taken seriously, and strung along for a self-reflective journey that Pedigo crafts.
What are some other songs that deeply inspire you?