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John Fahey

From Academic Kids

If you are looking for the former Premier of New South Wales, see John Fahey (politician).


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.

He founded the Takoma Records[1] (http://www.wirz.de/music/takomfrm.htm) 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.

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