Charlie Schmidt Xanthe Terra

The little-known legacy of solo folk guitarist Charlie Schmidt is one that’s intertwined with the king of the acoustic style himself, John Fahey. Back in the early ’90s, Fahey was invited to re-record his classic second album, Death Chants, Breakdowns and Military Waltzes. Always the rebel, Fahey had his close friend Schmidt record all of the songs and bill himself as Fahey! Whether the record label was hip to the ruse or not, the project was shelved, but some of the "bonus songs” intended for the release (which are really Schmidt originals) found their way onto Fantasy Records’ The Best of John Fahey Vol. II, billed as unearthed Fahey gems! It’s no wonder, however, that Schmidt’s expert playing could be mistaken for Fahey’s; as Xanthe Terra attests, Schmidt’s command of the steel string guitar and knack for writing engagingly simple and beautiful songs upon it is quite on par with Fahey’s. The 13 songs on this, Schmidt’s long-awaited debut album, are intriguing glimpses of a talent that’s been hiding away, developing his expertise for upwards of 20 years. This is stunning stuff that deserves its due in silver. (Strange Attractors)