Steve Lowenthal: Dance of Death: The Life of John Fahey, American Guitarist (Chicago Review Press) | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Steve Lowenthal

Dance of Death: The Life of John Fahey, American Guitarist

Published by Chicago Review Press

Jul 29, 2014 Issue #50 - June/July 2014 - Future Islands Bookmark and Share

John Fahey was an acoustic guitar master, a musician’s musician, and a player who transcended blues and folk styles to create his own “American Primitive” instrumental mastery. However, Fahey also was a troubled soul, battling demons including stage fright, alcohol and drug abuse, and a troubled childhood that would haunt him until his death in 2001. Journalist Steve Lowenthal attempts to unravel that myth that is Fahey’s life in this concise biography. Somewhat short at 240 pages, Dance of Death benefits from astute research and interviews with friends, contemporaries, fellow musicians, and family, painting a vivid picture of a remarkable man. Fahey’s legendary rage and audience baiting is discussed, as are his numerous marriages, so many seemingly sabotaged by a man whose difficulty relating to others nearly exceeded his guitar skill. Of course, Lowenthal eventually finds Fahey living in squalor out of motels, with little to his name. But despite Fahey’s rise and disgraceful fall, it’s the music that lives on. The marvelous music. A new form. Genius. (

Author rating: 7/10

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December 18th 2014

Hi Jules!I love that you explored Brooke Candy   she’s fscianating, right? I recently went to a Rhonda party and the fashion was definitely inspiring, so much so that waiting outside in line and checking everyone out was just as fun as getting inside and dancing. I hope next time I can run into Brooke Candy there Also, I do think she makes an interesting point about appropriations from underground culture. Stefani in particular has run into trouble with cultural appropriation too (Bindis, Harajuku)  I’ll have to think about the similarities and differences. At some point, aren’t we all wearing clothes inspired by underground culture, whether it’s dance/club culture or arts culture?We must discuss over tea next time you’re in town!Ava