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I Am the Resurrection: A Tribute to John Fahey
     

I Am the Resurrection: A Tribute to John Fahey

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The most common method of tribute album compilation involves corralling the biggest names possible, regardless of their empathy to the artist being lionized, and throwing the results together in hopes that things will hang together, if only by a thread. M. Ward, who assembled this loving homage to the late guitar guru, managed to craft the

Overview

The most common method of tribute album compilation involves corralling the biggest names possible, regardless of their empathy to the artist being lionized, and throwing the results together in hopes that things will hang together, if only by a thread. M. Ward, who assembled this loving homage to the late guitar guru, managed to craft the polar opposite by seeking out performers -- some with moderate profiles, others all but unknown -- who've clearly carried the torch that John Fahey passed on when he died in 2001. Ward himself is one of the more reverent participants; his take on "Bean Vine Blues #2" resonates with much the same hushed intensity that Fahey himself projected. Devendra Banhart is similarly deferential in handling "Sligo River Blues." But it's most intriguing to hear artists take a few liberties with Fahey's work, something the late guitarist would no doubt appreciate, given the interpretive spin he often put on traditional music. Sufjan Stevens, for instance, manages to work his trademark vocal arrangements -- wordless wisps, as usual -- into "Commemorative Transfiguration and Communion at Magruder Park," an elegy into which he also deftly incorporates a bit of the "Hallelujah Chorus." Calexico take a more corporeal route into the heart of "Dance of Death," using Fahey's serpentine melody as a back-alley entry to a beautifully menacing film noir landscape, while Grandaddy put an Indian spin on "Dance of the Inhabitants of the Palace of King Philip XIV of Spain." I Am the Resurrection doesn't have much to offer folks who demand that music grab them by the shoulders and shake them silly, but for those who prefer a more intimate interaction, it's hard to imagine a more moving collection of sounds.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Alex Henderson
The late John Fahey was to fingerpickers (or simply "pickers") what Jimmy Smith was to soul-jazz/hard bop organ -- Fahey, in other words, wrote the book on fingerpicking, an earthy, rootsy, instrumental style of folk-rock acoustic guitar playing. And just as Smith influenced countless organists, the seminal Fahey was a musical guru for Leo Kottke, Robbie Basho, Stefan Grossman, Duck Baker, Peter Lang, Michael Gulezian, and many other acoustic guitar-playing instrumentalists who surfaced in the '60s and '70s. Given his impact on folk-rock, Fahey is well deserving of a tribute -- especially from fingerpickers. But the interesting thing about this Fahey tribute compilation, I Am the Resurrection: A Tribute to John Fahey, is the fact that it isn't dominated by fingerpickers and Fahey disciples. The songs are familiar -- at least if one is heavily into Fahey's work -- but what the artists do to them are not. Hearing Peter Case (formerly of the Plimsouls) on "When the Catfish Is in Bloom," Lee Ranaldo (of Sonic Youth fame) on "The Singing Bridge of Memphis, Brooklyn Bridge Version: The Coelcanth," or the Fruit Bats on "Death of the Clayton Peacock" is a lot like hearing rock en español artists saluting Mexican norteño legends los Tigres del Norte on the Fonovisa compilation El Mas Grande Homenaje a los Tigres del Norte -- it isn't the first thing you would expect, but it generally works. And the fact that most of these artists interpret Fahey's material instead of offering carbon copies of the original versions keeps the intrigue factor high. Some purists will inevitably insist that a Fahey tribute should adhere to an all-pickers-all-the-time policy, but clearly, this compilation wasn't assembled with purists in mind. And while the disc is a bit uneven, I Am the Resurrection is full of pleasant surprises and is a memorable demonstration of the fact that Fahey's compositions can be useful well beyond the fingerpicker field.

Product Details

Release Date:
02/14/2006
Label:
Vanguard Records
UPC:
0015707978927
catalogNumber:
79789

Related Subjects

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Lee Ranaldo   Guitar
Robin Amos   electronics
Joey Burns   Guitar,Vocals,Upright Bass
John Hanes   Drums
David Immerglück   Guitar
Bruce Kaphan   Lap Steel Guitar
Victor Krummenacher   Bass
Jack Rose   Guitar
John Convertino   Drums,Marimbas
Howe Gelb   Piano (Upright)
Michael Knobloch   Drums
Dan Strack   Track Performer
Glenn Jones   Guitar
Kevin Barker   Percussion,Electric Guitar,Recorder,Vocals,Track Performer
Sufjan Stevens   Acoustic Guitar,Banjo,Bass,Flute,Percussion,Drums,Electric Guitar,Oboe,Recorder,Triangle,Vocals,Track Performer,Shaker
Michael Bloom   Bass
M. Ward   Guitar
Rosie Thomas   Background Vocals
Devendra Banhart   Track Performer
Mike Gangloff   Banjo
Eric Klee Johnson   Track Performer
Otto Hauser   Percussion,Drums,Track Performer
Patrick Best   Bass
Lazy 8 Chorale   Voices

Technical Credits

Sandy Bull   Inspiration
Peter Case   Author
Lee Ranaldo   Engineer,Author
John Fahey   Composer
Joey Burns   Author
David Immerglück   Producer,Author
Kevin Jarvis   Engineer
Bruce Kaphan   Producer,Author
Victor Krummenacher   Producer,Author
Jim Waters   Engineer
Howe Gelb   Author
Glenn Jones   Liner Notes
Kevin Barker   Engineer,Liner Notes
Sufjan Stevens   Producer,Engineer,Author
M. Ward   Executive Producer,Author,Audio Production
Devendra Banhart   Author
Mike Coykendall   Engineer
Mike Gangloff   Author
Stephen Brower   Liner Notes,Executive Producer
Eric Klee Johnson   Author
Aaron Mullan   Engineer
Mikel Dimmick   Engineer

Customer Reviews

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I Am the Resurrection: A Tribute to John Fahey 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Acoustic steel-string guitar maverick John Fahey was an iconoclast, visionary, legend and an innovative composer. He’s frequently lumped into the folk genre and misunderstood. Fahey influenced many avant, alternative and indie-rockers, including current or former members of Sonic Youth, Giant Sand and the Plimsouls, among others. The most enlightening tracks on this tribute reinterpret rather than mimic. Sufjan Stevens uplifts and lays bare Fahey’s spirituality during “Variation on ‘Commemorative Transfiguration & Communion at Magruder Park.’” Calexico fleshes out “Dance of Death,” incorporating Southwest themes, Delta blues and Eastern drone. Cul de Sac’s live take of “The Portland Cement Factory at Monolith, CA” is propelled by noisy dissonance. However, Currituck Co.’s medley is a lukewarm, Grateful Dead-like jam. Lee Ranaldo’s reinvention of “The Singing Bridge of Memphis, Tennessee” is uninspiring. And Howe Gelb’s piano solo rendition of “My Grandfather’s Clock” weakly winds down this Fahey homage. Yet, more often than not, Fahey’s imagination and talent radiates, and that’s the point.