A deeply innovative musician whose style is credited as the foundation for the minimalist style of American Primitive Guitar, the output of John Fahey is both illustrious, far-reaching in its influence, and difficult to categorize. From the 1960s through the 1990s, Fahey's music frequently leapt between the realms of jazz, folk, world music, blues, country, and avant garde in equal measure, while demonstrating the wide range of flavors to be found in traditional finger-picking guitar techniques. Poor health and poverty dogged him towards the end of his life however, leading to his death in 2001, only to be posthumously ranked by Rolling Stone magazine as one of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of all time a few years later.
Fahey's approach to the guitar is on full display on his first major label release in 1972. Of Rivers And Religion is heavily indebted to the Delta Blues of the 1930s, as well as New Orleans Dixieland jazz, and is notable among his works as the first to feature a larger ensemble of musicians, (An array of brass, string, and reed instruments accompany Fahey's finger-picking and slide guitar work) including contributions by Chris Darrow of The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. Of Rivers And Religion was acclaimed in its time, and now stands as one of Fahey's finest efforts.