Cracking the Fahey Code: Guitarist John Fahey’s Writing Offers Insight into Musical Iconoclast

Image from the book cover of the book “Blind Joe Death’s America: John Fahey, the Blues, and Writing White Discontent.” Shows line drawing of a man's head and shoulders. The man is wearing sunglasses and smoking a cigarette.
Image from the book cover of the book “Blind Joe Death’s America: John Fahey, the Blues, and Writing White Discontent.” Shows line drawing of a man's head and shoulders. The man is wearing sunglasses and smoking a cigarette.

Having coined the term American Primitive Guitar, John Fahey’s iconic steel string acoustic music evoked aural images of the Mississippi Delta, Appalachia and American faith traditions during the folk revival of the ‘50s and ‘60s. In later years, a new generation of musicians rediscovered Fahey, whose career had veered toward the avant-garde

But Fahey fans may be unfamiliar with the musician’s written work.

University of Minnesota Human Geographer George Henderson sheds new light on Fahey’s essays, liner notes, academic writing and what they say about the musical iconoclast in the book “Blind Joe Death’s America: John Fahey, the Blues, and Writing White Discontent.”

In this installment of WRGC’s collaboration with Georgia College’s Center for Georgia Studies, Historian Mark Huddle talks with George Henderson about his book “Blind Joe Death’s America.”

You can hear this conversation on WRGC's soundcloud page at https://soundcloud.com/wrgc/cracking-the-fahey-code-guitarist-john-fahey...

Learn more about George Henderson's book “Blind Joe Death’s America: John Fahey, the Blues, and Writing White Discontent.” at https://uncpress.org/book/9781469660783/blind-joe-deaths-america/