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How Bluegrass Music Destroyed My Life
by John Fahey
ISBN 0965618323 / 9780965618328 / 0-9656183-2-3
Publisher Drag City
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The truth, Winston Churchill once stated, must be accompanied by a bodyguard of lies. Guitarist John Fahey, whose folk-informed work has inspired musicians as dissimilar as George Winston and Jim O'Rourke, adheres to that principle throughout this conversationally voiced collection of ostensibly fictitious but semiautobiographical short stories. Fahey is no stranger to the written word: in the 1960s he published a volume on blues guitarist Charley Patton, and his albums have frequently included voluminous, fanciful liner notes. Fans looking for illumination of his guitar playing might be disappointed by this book: he spends more time spinning tall tales about a periodically horrific post-WWII suburban childhood and the many remarkable people he's met (from compassionate blues musician and fishing enthusiast Bukka White to pompous Italian film director Michelangelo Antonioni, whom Fahey claims to have punched out) than he does discussing his musical methodology. But his writing flickers with the same black humor and ambivalent mysticism that imbues his music. --Bill Meyer [via]