What can I say about the man, the legend, John Fahey?
I guess I can say that the legend of Blind Joe Death carries true today just much as it did yesterday. I will say that his contribution to blues is often understated. The truth is that his unique take, his very west coast inspired take, his contemporary American take without question cements Fahey as one of the 20th century’s most inspiring and most compelling blues enthusiasts and influences. He did some crazy mind-boggling things and he was in Salem, Oregon–where I went to Willamette University. Salem has a tremendous music scene and always has–a strong portion of the Portland music scene originated in Salem–how’s that for some waaaaaa news? Back to Fahey, one would not typically pick this small capital city as laying claim to hosting the latter life of one of the most mysterious and inspired blues and Americana musicians of our day and age–even if the latter years were fairly dark for Fahey. The truth is that his unique type of finger picking has a ghostly beauty that most cannot capture or achieve–it was the essence of Fahey that made his music so remarkable.
His inventions for acoustic and electric strings are the stuff of legend. I mean, numbers don’t lie– Fahey has 30 albums, and “his presence has unsettled audiences from here to Tasmania.” He was also an avid painter, inventor and dark humorist with a pen just as ferocious as his guitar. This ramble on the legend does not do justice to Fahey’s unique musical vision, adaptations and contributions to the music of America. If you don’t know the man, go check him out now. He died some years ago but his memory will not go unforgotten.
Enjoy today’s tribute to Fahey and Blind Joe Death.