It has been eighteen years.
I first heard of the man when the first video from his second album came out. A great song, but not the best on the album. Mostly just him walkin' around, with his guitar over his shoulder like a hobo with his stick and bag. It was his second video that made me get his album.
And man, that's all it took. I think that's all it took for everybody.
A friend of mine met the man once. He was a fellow guitarist and editor of the college paper and used that to get a backstage pass and interview time. Complete abuse of power, but hey, I'd do it too. Anyway, he struggled to get past his idol-worship and do the interview, and after a while the tour manager knocked on the door and said "Hey, wrap it up! We gotta go!" The man said "Hey, I'm talking to this guy!" It would've been the easiest thing to blow off the rest of the interview, but he finished it, which made the man so much cooler in my friend's eyes. And in mine.
The state of the art has not, as of yet, moved past him.