Praise for GUITAR INNOVATORS: John Fahey and Nels Cline
“In Search of Blind Joe Death is an excellent introduction to one of the key musicians of his time. Newcomers and fans alike will find a lot to treasure here.” - Daniel Eagan, Film Journal
"Guitar virtuosity is given twin billing courtesy of two documentaries about inventive, innovative axmen. James Cullingham's portrait of John Fahey mixes traditional talking-head soundbites and archival footage with eclectic aesthetics (including animated line drawings and haunting environmental panoramas) to capture the iconoclastic spirit of its subject -- a unique explorer who was in constant search of his next sonic revelation. That makes him a kindred soul to Nels Cline, the avant-jazz performer and lead guitarist of Wilco, who comes across in Steven Okazaki's jamming-in-the-studio doc as a similarly adventurous artist, always pushing boundaries and investigating new sounds (folksy harmonies, chaotic distortion) through collaboration. Together, these engaging films present artistic creativity as an unpredictable, ever-flowing journey from one unconventional locale to another." - Nick Schager, The Village Voice
“If you didn’t already admire [Fahey’s] music, you may be searching for more of it after seeing this documentary…a portrait of the man, grainy but with a rich soundtrack.”
- Neil Genzlinger, The New York Times
"Double the pleasure…a fascinating look at two American originals"
- Tom Keogh, The Seattle Times
"A riveting documentary short that shows the avant-garde guitarist in action… The film has been paired with James Cullingham's "In Search of Blind Joe Death: The Story of John Fahey" for an insightful double feature about two of our greatest guitar virtuosos."
- Danny Miller, MSN Entertainment
"Mesmerizing." - Twi-NY
"Most delightful, though, is Cullingham's layering of talking head tidbits on Fahey that are joined to elements of his sound. When someone makes note of Fahey's alternative tunings, a song in the background bends into some realm between tones, and the Bartók name-drops come complete with light dissonance…It's these subjects, who speak less about the concrete facts of Fahey's life than the impressions he made on them, that give In Search of Blind Joe Death its greatest power." - Jake Cole, Spectrum Culture
"A fascinating slice of Americana, this look at an eccentric musical genius shows how the influence of American Roots Music can be seen in so many different genres today. Director James Cullingham tracks his subject carefully while never allowing casual music fans to get bored. The film doesn't paint its subject with too much reverence allowing for his idiosyncrasies to shine through, like his obscure vinyl record hoarding and painting with his bare ass. Fahey's brilliant, but flawed life is told to us by the people who loved and admired him, obvious faults and all." - Dork Shelf