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In Search of Blind Joe Death: The Saga of John Fahey

By ROBERT HAM

[ONE NIGHT ONLY] Music documentaries today tend to revolve around stories of mystery, downfall or redemption—or, if the filmmakers are extremely lucky, a mixture of all three. But to tell the life story of a musician who, while quirky and irascible, led a fairly calm and charmed existence? That’s a challenge, and director James Cullingham was obviously up for the task. In Search of Blind Joe Death: The Saga of John Fahey, Cullingham’s hourlong look into the life and work of the master guitarist, gives the perfect amount of insight into Fahey's 61 years on this planet (he passed away in 2001). You come to understand his obsession with blues and folk, the development of his finger-picking style, and how the sound of his music evolved over the years. Along the way, you come to meet friends, collaborators (including local legends Terry Robb and Dr. Demento) and fans. And you get to hear plenty of his incredible music via live footage and a well-chosen soundtrack. It's as spare and intimate and engaging as some of Fahey's finest recordings.

 

Special Note

Hollywood Theatre. 7 pm Saturday, Oct. 20.
 
  • Running Time:
  • Release Date: Tuesday, October 16, 2012
  • Critic's Score: A
  • Watch the trailer
 

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