John Fahey: “Voice of the Turtle,” America’s First Composer, and Other Excursions

… though John Fahey would employ a similar strategy on America’s second side (after a dose of fretboard gymnastics on “The Waltz that Carried Us Away” and “Knoxville Blues”), with “Mark 1:15,” it is “Voice of the Turtle” that comes across as the true pivot point for the guitarist as a composer. And it was just that, which he was becoming. From revivalist interpreter, to experimenter, to composer of, perhaps, the most fundamentally American works.

The Gospel Of Fahey’s Christmas Soli

As the Turkey-fare winds down and the boxes of Christmas decor make their way from the basement, a transition is needed. Ringing in the holiday season in subtlety requires a look no further than America’s finest composer and most innovative maestro of steel string. With a discography expanding beyond 40 titles, it’s possible to overlook the holiday offerings among masterworks like Fare Forward Voyagers, The Yellow Princess, and those first five Takoma releases. Smack dab in the middle of John Fahey’s first decade shifting around the tectonic plates of traditional music came The New Possibility

John Fahey :: Live in 1967

John Fahey: resurrected once again. This 1967 soundboard recording, discovered among lost readings by beatnik poets Allen Ginsberg and Gary Snyder, is the oldest recorded solo concert from the acoustic guitar innovator.

Frozen Fingers :: An American Primitive Holiday Meditation

Fingerpickers can’t seem to resist uncovering (or just plain inventing) the folk-blues roots of these timeworn melodies. Whatever the motivation, it’s always nice to have an alternative to the treacly seasonal music that is inescapable this time of year. Frozen Fingers is playlist of (mostly) acoustic wintry music that’ll put a little wonder into the most wonderful time of the year…