John Fahey

Takoma Park, Maryland, US
Artist / Band / Musician
Country / Blues / Experimental
John Fahey (1939 - 2001) was an American guitarist and composer, and one of the first guitarists to perform solo works for the steel-string acoustic guitar. His music defies categorization, drawing inspiration from American folk music, blues, classical music, Brazilian music, and Indian music. In several of his later works, he experimented with dissonance and noise; these later works have been compared with musique concrète and industrial music.

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Guitar, Guitar, 1969

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

1978, Hamburg

Poor Boys A Long Way From Home

On The Sunny Side of The Ocean


Steamboat Gwine Round Da Bend

How Green Was My Valley

Wine and Roses

Hawaiin Two-Step

Candy Man

John Fahey and Peter Lang

He founded the Takoma Records label (named after his birthplace, Takoma Park, Maryland) in the 1960s, which helped launch the career of fellow fingerstyle guitarists Leo Kottke, Peter Lang, and Robbie Basho. In 1996, Fahey formed Revenant Records which supports folk and blues artists.

In later years, Fahey was much admired and cited as an influence by a new generation of musicians, probably as much for the resoluteness with which he followed his individual path as for his interest in alternate tunings. Supporters include Sonic Youth, Nels Cline, and Jim O'Rourke, who recorded and produced Fahey's 1997 album Womblife.

Fahey was also noted for his writing skills, having written voluminous liner notes which (among other things) satirized the folk music scholarship of his day. He is the author of three books: How Bluegrass Music Destroyed My Life and Vampire Vultures, (two books of essays, autobiographical fiction, and letters), and Charley Patton, an analysis of the famous Delta bluesman.

In the early 1960's John went in search of the blues musicians who he had heard on 78 rpm "race records" he collected. He and fellow collectors finally tracked down and brought back to prominence great musicians like Bukka White, Mississippi John Hurt and Skip James. The generation which heard and saw those players owe John a huge debt.

He received his B.A. in Philosophy and Religion from American University, and an M.A. in Folklore and Mythology from UCLA.

* Check out the LYRICS section of the songs for info on them.

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