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American Primitive Guitar

The new documentary In Search of Blind Joe Death: The Saga of John Fahey is an impressionistic account of the life and music of the enigmatic guitarist who coined the expression “American primitive guitar” to describe his playing. Fahey’s music, while anchored in the blues, country, and folk styles that fall under the catchall term “Americana,” is also adventurous and eccentric, spiky and dissonant in places. His playing influenced many later acoustic guitarists but also rockers such as Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore and the Who’s Pete Townshend (who is interviewed in the documentary).

Check out In Search of Blind Joe Death from Richland Library’s collection, as well as the CD John Fahey: Best of the Vanguard Years. You can also stream the contents of several Fahey albums from Freegal (or download six tracks per week free of charge). Listed below as well are albums by other guitarists who may be said to follow in the Fahey tradition - in particular Glenn Jones, who recorded with him before Fahey’s death in 2001.