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Musician weaves songs about life, loss, women

Singer-songwriter Quinn Hedges performs regularly at local restaurants and wine bars
By: Sena Christian, The Press Tribune
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Quinn Hedges holds up a notebook of tattered pages, full of handwritten lyrics. The words tell the stories of loss, loneliness, life, self-reflection, happiness and his main inspiration, good or bad — women. “This notebook has been through a lot with me,” he says. The 31-year-old musician has written dozens of songs, including about 40 he absolutely loves. He has no strict process to his songwriting. He may tinker with a song for years, or wake up and write a tune in half an hour. “Sometimes I think of a first line of lyrics and it’s killer so I run with that,” Hedges says. “Sometimes a melody pops into my head.” About a dozen of his songs will appear on his second album, “Without You,” set to be released later this summer. He released his self-titled debut album in 2006. The Rocklin resident performs regular solo gigs at Crush 29 and Suede Blue in Roseville. He can also be seen at The Chef’s Table in Rocklin, along with a handful of restaurants and wine bars in Auburn, Folsom and El Dorado Hills. His group, the Quinn Hedges Band, typically plays at venues in Sacramento, such as Marilyn’s on K. Hedges’ musical style, though, is difficult to pin down. His sound combines elements of blues, rock, folk, pop and jazz. Some songs feature only an acoustic guitar, while others interlace piano, cello, drums, keyboard and bass. To the listener, his style fluctuates, sounding like a hybrid of John Mayer, Damien Rice and Ryan Adams. “I don’t even really know how to label what I do,” he says. During shows, he performs originals but also covers artists such as Neil Young, Radiohead, Michael Jackson, Ben Folds, Coldplay, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix and Kings of Leon. The multi-talented musician plays electric and acoustic guitars, mandolin and piano. Plus he sings. He owns “every single Radiohead album ever,” and considers himself a “100 percent Beatles (guy).” Last summer, he had Bon Iver’s chill-folk album on repeat. “I had to give myself an intervention,” Hedges says. “I had to stop myself from listening to it so I didn’t get bruned out. It spoke to me — the way you can feel the soul.” Hedges grew up in Delaware as part of a musical family. His dad Bernie was a gigging musician and his mom June “sings more then she talks.” One of his sisters now performs in Sacramento 80s cover band, The Hits. His uncle and cousin make a full-time living through their musical talents. “It runs in the family,” Hedges says. “It helps growing up with a family that is totally involved.” He picked up a guitar at age 15. Around that time, his family took a vacation to visit friends in Florida. In the Sunshine State, he met teenagers who had a band together and played Stone Temple Pilots and other stuff on the radio in the early-1990s. “I thought, ‘If they can do it, I can do it,’” he says. Hedges learned how to play Nirvana songs before progressing to Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here,” which he performed at his high school talent show. This positive experience — only five or six months after he first picked up the instrument — fueled his passion. After moving with his family to Roseville at age 18, Hedges graduated from Sonoma State University with a degree in jazz studies. The following years included a stint with a band sponsored by Joe Maloof and another group called Fair Trade, which eventually broke up. At the beginning of this year, Hedges decided to launch his own band. As much as he enjoys playing with the band, Hedges’ second album focuses on his solo work. The CD stands in stark contrast to his fully produced and commercial-sounding first album. “Since that CD, I’ve grown so much as a performer and musician,” he says. “My focus on the new CD is stripped down and I go acoustic — no electric guitar, a little bass.” Bernie Hedges says he’s glad to see his son doing what he loves. “He’s pursing his goal,” he says. “Hopefully he’ll achieve everything he wants. I think he has the talents to do that. I’m very proud of him.” What Hedges wants is to keep filling up that worn notebook with lyrics and booking those gigs, so that one day, he might be able to give up his 9-to-5 job and play music full-time. “That’s the dream,” he says. Sena Christian can be reached at senac@goldcountrymedia.com. ---------- For more information about Quinn Hedges, check out www.quinnhedges.com, www.myspace.com/quinnhedges2 and search for him on Facebook.com. ---------- Upcoming shows Friday, July 23 7 p.m. at Suede Blue, 1400 Eureka Road in Roseville Thursday, July 29 7 p.m. at Crush 29, 1480 Eureka Road in Roseville Friday, July 30 6 p.m. at Natomas Park, 2101 Club Center Drive in Sacramento Saturday, July 31 7:30 p.m. at Sienna Restaurant, 3909 Park Drive in El Dorado Hills Thursday, Aug. 5 7:30 p.m. at Sienna Restaurant Saturday, Aug. 7 2 p.m. at Mt. Vernon Winery, 10850 Mt. Vernon Road in Auburn Sunday, Aug. 8 2 p.m. at Mt. Vernon Winery Saturday, Aug. 14 7:30 p.m. at Sienna Restaurant Saturday, Aug. 21 6:30 p.m. at WineStyles, 915 Sutter St. No. 100 in Folsom