The Film

In Search of Blind Joe Death: The Saga of John Fahey is a biographical documentary that visually evokes the vision of a great artist. It employs beautifully textured, non-linear, cinematic and thoroughly entertaining means that launch a wide audience into the universe constructed and inhabited by John Fahey. The film relies first and foremost on the music of John Fahey. With the active support and cooperation of both The John Fahey Trust and Dean Blackwood of Revenant Records, the second of Fahey’s own recording companies, the film presents a rich and otherwise inaccessible Fahey archive of musical recordings, moving images, photographs, prose and paintings. The visual archive of Fahey performing is very rich. The collection of photographs is equally extensive. This live action archive is further augmented by short animated sequences that evoke Fahey’s artistic, imagined universe.

Tamarack Productions (c) 2010
All archival materials used with the support of the John Fahey Trust


In narrative terms, viewers hear most frequently from Fahey himself, both in video and audio recordings made during his lifetime and in voice-over from his outstanding prose. The film narrative relies on a small handful of informants with intimate and highly nuanced appreciations of John Fahey’s life and times. These informants include his former wife, the visual artist Melody Fahey, guitarists Terry Robb and Pete Townshend; Fahey’s partner in Revenant Records and friend Dean Blackwood; Grammy Award winning musicologist Rob Bowman; and the writer and author Li Robbins.

Pete TownshendRob BowmanMelody Fahey

Pete TownshendRob BowmanNancy McLean

Terry RobbLi RobbinsTim Knight

Terry RobbLi RobbinsTim Knight

Ayal SeniorTownshend & crewJoey Burns

Ayal SeniorTownshend & crewJoey Burns

Inventive and highly cinematic video recordings from the film locations evoke the natural and urban environments that inspired Fahey’s work. The documentary was filmed in the area of Washington, DC where Fahey grew up; in the Mississippi Delta, where he pursued a quest to understand the origins of blues music; and in Salem, Oregon and the rain forest of the Columbia River gorge which nurtured the extraordinary, sometimes troubling, artistic output of the last 15 years of Fahey’s career and life.