Mitch Greenhill
Michael Gulezian
Henry Kaiser
Phil Kellogg
Peter Lang
Rick Ruskin
Charlie Schmidt

BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA (click here for info)

Following the recent death of guitar legend John Fahey, fellow guitarist Mitch Greenhill posed the question: "How will we explain John Fahey to people who never met him?"

How, indeed. The godfather of modern solo acoustic guitar continuously re-invented himself. This evening of acoustic guitar music, performed by some of those directly touched by Fahey, may help fill in some of the blanks.

John died in February at the age of 61 in a Salem, Oregon hospital following complications of a heart bypass operation. At the time of his passing, he had just completed what will be the last of some 40 albums.

In the early 1960ís, Fahey breathed new life into the self-satisfied folk music scene with instrumental music that at the same time celebrated and convoluted what was then known as country blues. His joyous yet somehow spooky music drew from the techniques of such pioneers as Skip James, Bukka White and Charlie Patton (three blues guitarists whom he helped rescue from obscurity).

But Fahey was way beyond "technique". He rarely stayed with any one style long enough to be branded as a practitioner, leaving us only with his own description of his music: American Primitive. Through the years he delved deeply into Eastern, Ragtime, Classical, Brazilian, Spirituals, Jazz, Dissonance, and a handful of other traditions. What emerged from his hands was always cereberal and unmistakably Fahey.

John founded Takoma Records (and later, Revenant Records) to nurture other artists that shared his spirit of adventure and his quest for artistic excellence. Several of those guitarists will be appearing during this very special evening. The Takoma catalog was subsequently purchased by Fantasy Jazz Records, and this show will be recorded by Fantasy for an upcoming release.

The guitarists gathered for this special tribute night are participating out of love and devotion. They are coming in specifically to honor a man who changed each of their lives.

Originally from Massachusetts, Los Angeles based Mitch Greenhill is a Fantasy recording artist who has also produced albums for Doc and Merle Watson, Rosalee Sorrels, John Renbourne and others.

Coming in from Nashville, Michael Gulezian recorded for Takoma Records and later founded his own label, Timbreline Records. A percussive fingerpicker extraordinaire, Michael started as something of a student of Johnís before breaking his own ground. The late Michael Hedges referred to Gulezian as "a kindred spirit".

Eclectic Bay Area guitarist Henry Kaiser has recorded extensively as a soloist and with such groups as French/Frith/Kaiser/Thompson and Yo Miles!. A Fahey devotee who calls himself more of an improvisor than composer, Henry offers a faithfully twisted interpretation of Johnís vision.

Bay Area guitarist Phil Kellogg, an adventurous fingerpicker who opened for John in the 1980ís, organized this event with the generous assistance of Johnís surviving friends and family. Phil has recently returned to performing following a nearly 2 year hiatus due to a playing-related hand injury. As an author, Kellogg recently released a chronicle of Johnís performance phases called "Recollections of a Die-hard Fan".

From Minnesota, Peter Lang was a close friend and colleague of Johnís. Peterís deft fingerpicking was captured on a landmark Takoma release that spotlighted himself, Fahey, and another of Johnís discoveries, guitarist Leo Kottke. This will mark one of Peterís first public performances in several years.

From Seattle comes Rick Ruskin, a Takoma recording artist who also appeared on some of Johnís own albums as a duet partner. GUITAR PLAYER described Ruskin as "so brilliant at times that he seems to transcend normal approaches to the guitar."

Charles Schmidt, a close friend and student of Faheyís, will join us from Chicago. Charles is a true "Fahey scholar" who will perform pieces popularized by John (who was often beguiled by Schmidtís uncanny ability to play them "better than him").

John Fahey's legendary Recording King guitar will be used by some of the performers this evening. This guitar was used for the recordings "America", "Fare Forward Voyagers", "After the Ball", and "Of Rivers and Religions". This special contribution to the evening will be provided by Fred Sheppard, the craftsman who put it back together.

John Fahey will join us all in spirit.

TICKETWEB (click here)
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Acoustic Guitar magazine

D'Addario Strings

Rita and Orin Stadden (private donors)