new-york

John Fahey

Audio Visual Arts (AVA)

The influential output of the self-made, self-taught, and self-mythologizing guitarist and American iconoclast John Fahey has been the subject of fervent interest since his death in 2001. Thanks in part to Thurston Moore (who identified the wayward musician as a “secret influence”), the rise of the freak-folk musical genre in the mid-2000s, and several recent tribute albums, Fahey’s revered American primitive–style fingerpicking and hymnlike blues albums are today more recognized (and fortunately more accessible) than they were when he was alive. There are some other positive and important aspects of Fahey’s resurgence. For one, it turns out that he was a remarkable painter.

Until recently, those cognizant of this little-known fact were fans lucky enough to attend one of Fahey’s shows at the end of his career. After a set of songs—Fahey was then borrowing from classical, Brazilian, and

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