Known as "the father of American Primitive Guitar" and considered by many to be a foundational figure in American folk music, John Fahey made a fundamental contribution to the global understanding of classical American musics such as Delta blues, Appalachian bluegrass and New Orleans jazz. His own music stretched the boundaries of nations and traditions, creating a complex musical dialogue with his steel-stringed solo guitar. Fahey transcended his essential Delta influences combining bluegrass, Brazilian, classical, Indian, New Orleans, musique concrete, and gothic industrial ambience.
James Cullingham's evocative documentary seeks clues to the essence of the late virtuoso, scholar, author, jester, and iconoclast whose playing influenced guitarists as varied as Thurston Moore, Leo Kottke, and Pete Townshend (who sings Fahey's praises in the film) and whose life and music resisted easy characterization to the very end.
An inveterate trickster and mythmaker, Fahey co-credited his first album to Blind Joe Death, an alter ego he created as part gag, part tribute to blues greats like Blind Willie Johnson and Blind Blake.
James Cullingham is an educator, award-winning documentary filmmaker, widely published writer, and seasoned broadcaster. He is a professor of journalism at Seneca College in Toronto and has served as an executive producer with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). His documentaries concerning social justice, politics, history, and popular culture have been screened around the world, and he has been published by Canada's leading newspapers and magazines.