In the late 1950s, fingerstylist John Fahey birthed an alter-ego named Blind Joe Death, a mythic bluesman who personified what music critic Greil Marcus has dubbed old, weird America. In shaping his eccentric personal mythology, Fahey once claimed to have built a guitar from a baby’s coffin. He christened his own music American primitive, though it was neither purely American (he incorporated Indian ragas, as well as classical, jazz, and Latin rhythms, into the form) nor primitive (he could neither read nor write music, yet his odd tunes were complex).

American Primitive Guitar