Digital Reviews

Jackson’s life (1767–1845) saw the 13 colonies become an industrial powerhouse fueled by slavery and pushing relentlessly westward, obliterating the native peoples in its path. Jackson himself played no small part in the process. To capture those cross currents, Hedge brought in performers proficient in all the strains of music that filled the air in
late 18th- and early 19th century America: Congolese drummer Titos Sompa, Navajo-Ute flute player R. Carlos Nakai, bluegrass mandolin master David Grisman, Hedge himself on guitar, dulcimer and keyboards, and a host of other accomplished musicians. Nakai and Sompa play together for one piece—a cultural pairing that evokes the early Americans who are often omitted from the national portrait.
To capture even more authenticity, Hedge sought out historical locations in which to record some of the selections. Sometimes, says Hedge, “the history of the place and the experience of creating music within it became what the music was. . . . The music is affected by that essential reality even without the audience knowing the back story.”
The Atrocious Saint offers an entertaining reminder that there’s more than documentary evidence to the historical record. Available through or downloadable at