Sometime around 1985 for my birthday I was taken to see John Fahey perform at a music store in Atlanta, GA. He was touring for his most recent album " Rain Forests, Oceans, and Other Themes" which he autographed for me after the concert. He was much older than I expected but was not at all grumpy like his reputation seemed to dictate. He was quite nice actually and I told him I had always been a big fan which he seemed to appreciate. I'm not sure when I first heard him but remember listening to "The Yellow Princesss" one of his early albums quite a lot when I lived in Gainesville, Florida in the late 1960's. There seemed to be a little cult around his music then.
|Fahey and umbrella|
He may have performed at the White Springs Folk Festival outside of Gainesville as well because I distinctly remember seeing him perform with a very attractive woman seated next to him shielding him from the sun with a large black umbrella which I thought was the coolest staging of a guitarist I had ever seen.
|Ben Davis and Tim Berger, circa 1990.|
When I lived in Austin, Texas, in the early 1970's I met a guitarist named Tim Berger who taught me how to play in opening tunings which completely revived my interest in guitar playing especially when he revealed how Fahey got his unique sound that way.
So I would say that Fahey and Berger were my main inspirations for playing guitar. I always keep a few instruments tuned in open G, D, and E. I still have the album Fahey signed for me which he did with a ball-point pen that deeply etched his signature in the album sleeve.
|Rain Forests, Oceans, and Other Themes, 1985|