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September 20, 1985 - Image 7

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1985-09-20

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The Michigan Daily - Friday, September 20, 1985 - Page 7

Fahey entrances with

fits of


By Jere Williamson
between John Fahey and his
guitar. It is an extension of his body.
He flows right through it. And that is
how he started his show at the Ark
Tuesday night.
With little fanfare and self-
introduction, Fahey launched right in-
to his act. Soon enough, he had
everybody tapping their feet as he
began twanging a high-pitched, up-
beat number, wailing like a train. A
bearded, paunchy Fahey im-
mediately hypnotized his audience
with entrancing, energetic picking.,
His first two numbers were received'
with much hootin' and hollerin' and he
managed to keep the pace alive,
rarely speaking between numbers,
tipping his head back and smiling into
the depths of his beard.
Fahey is a veteran performer. He

has been playing since the late '50s
when he first pioneered his intricate
style. It was'evident that he was
much respected by his audience
which was amazingly quiet
throughout the first set, hanging on
every twang.
Later in the set he switched to a
Gibson six-string, laid it flat across
his lap, and retrieved a slide from his
side. He picked with his right and slid
with his left, turning out a bluesy,
wailing ballad, sliding up and down the
register and punctuated by high-tone
picking. It was a southern Mississippi
cry of low down wailing blues.
The Aik was filled with anticipation and
energy as Fahey did a version of
"Silent Night," moving with a slow,
measured, melody achingly deter-
mined by the slide. He then rendered
up, believe it or not, "Old Man
River." Fahey kept a low bassline
against the spirited, yet mournful
melody. Relaxed, Fahey joked with
thie audience: "I play better when I

Fahey's sound is metallic and steely
with an almost clangy quality ar-
ticulated by intricate picking. Each
string has its own voice. They're
played separately and together, for-
ming a cacophony of rhythm and
melody picking, flapping around each
other, rushing forward, headlong at a
tremendous clip. Sometimes, he
seems nearly to wear off the tips of his
Fahey joked as he announced one
song, "Rain Forest," as a piece he
had first composed at the tender age
of 12. Such a tender age it was that he
had repressed the song. "It came out
in psychoanalysis, really!" he said.
Fahey tied the first set together

with a tune called "The New York
Central Railroad." Trains are impor-
tant images in his music; their
repeating, endless, rhythm is the one
from which Fahey draws his songs.
He once released an entire album,
Railroads, dedicated to their rhyth-
mic, clicking, wailing sound.
This first set was the better part of
the show. In fact the audience
seemed surprised when, after having
played for over an hour, Fahey an-
nounced he would play a second set
after a short break.
Diving right back in, eyes closed
and head moving from side to side,
Fahey played on. And on. His music is
so intricate, it defies tidy
categorization. Slow, melodic ballads

are fused into intense, tight fits o'
picking. But such complexity can only
be fully appreciated in short doses.
The length of the show-over three
hours, including a break-became an
issue as attention spans were strained
and some rose to go. Yet at least half
of the audience were veteran Fahey
fans, who seemed content to sit and
listen as long as he cared to play. His
last pieces seemed to run together as
Fahey's fingers continued to pick out

extremely complex, layered melodies
at lightning speed.
Afterwards, Fahey said of the
show: "Better than the last time I
played here." Having just finished a
four-night run in Tornoto, he was "in
practice." And he was, with a
vengeance. This quality is part of
Fahey's style. He doesn't sell a lot of
records, but is widely recognized and
appreciated for innovations in the art
of acoustic guitar.

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Art Association party

(Continued from Page 6)
working toward developing interest
and support for an art school here at
the University of Michigan. Their ef-
forts were successful, for in the mid-
1940x, the University School of Art
came into being. This major goal ac-
complished, the Association moved
off campus and devoted itself to its
original ideal, broader community
programming for the arts.
The 1950s and '60s were marked by
a period of increased growth, and the
Association continued its exhibits of
national and regional art. Also during
this period, the Association was in-
volved in the founding of the Street
Art Fair, and began to sponsor a wide
range of art classes that are still
being offered today.
In 1972 the Association rented
facilities on Platt Road, which served
to centralize their exhibits and in-
structional programs. Up to that point
they had operated without a per-
manent home. This move provided
them with more community in-
Tlvement in the developing and
~Manning of their organization.
5The Liberty Street downtown
" location was purchased in 1976,
renovated, and is now in full use with
a program of studio art classes for the
beginner through advanced, for
adults and young people, professional
development workshops for artists,
and special audience programs. In
addition, an exhibit gallery provides
display opportunities for young
professional artists and a sales
gallery provides a retail outlet for
regional artists.
This wekend's pARTy, held at the
Association's gallery at 117 West
Liberty, is their way of saying "thank
you" to the Ann Arbor community for
75 years of loyal support. For while
the Association is funded by private
foundations, the Michigan Council for
the Arts, the Michigan Foundation for
the Arts, and the National En-
dowment for the Arts, among others,
public support is vital to the continued
growth and prosperity of the Ann Ar-
bor Arts Association.
In addition to the participation ac-
tivities already mentioned, pARTy
Drama - Scene From a
Distance (RCA)
Scene From a Distance is an ap-
propriate title for this album, as the
music is much better when heard at a
distance. With such songwriting
heavies as John Parker (Chicago's
"Hard Habit to Break") and Mark
Mueller, and the production by Elliot
Schiener - whose portfolio includes
Steely Dan and Donald Fagen - it's a
wonder this album is so disappoin-
*ting. In an effort to attain a new wave
electricity, Drama falls somewhere
in the realm of Kajagoogoo and
Berlin. Perhaps the medium was
wrong for Susanne Jerome Tyler -
an "idcredible vocalist - and Pat
Taylor, a Dave Stewart-type one man
band. This husband wife team have
talent and connections but the wrong
direction. In short, Scene From a
Distance should be heard in fine
elevators everywhere.
-Dave Cottrell
Social Fact - Ispo Facto
(Fun Stuff)
Social Fact's debut album presents
a collection of synth-pop dance songs
with backing brass and a Latino per-
cussion track comparable to San-
tana's. A good first effort for this

L.A.-based "vanilla urban contem-

will offer demonstrations in sculp-
ture, weaving, ceramics, cartooning,
and many more. Live entertainment
will feature James Dapogny, Mr. "B"
Mark Braun, Rick Burgess and
vocalist Patty O'Connor, and Joann
Gustafson accompanied by pianist
John Jarrett.
Admission is free and refreshments
are to include hot dogs, knockwurst,
soft drinks, beer, wine, and much
"We are gratified by the en-
thusiastic response we are receiving
from the community, and we look
forward to an exciting and fun-filled
afternoon," Chamberlain said.

Mac Technics
The Macintosh Users Group
P.O. Box 4063
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48106
" Monthly newsletter
" 55 Public domain disks
" Over 400 current members nationwide
" Bulletin Board (995-9164)
Next Meeting: 9-11am This Saturday, Sept. 21
Schorling Aud., School of.Education Building
Questions? Call Chris Vargas at 662-0175

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