But this 1969 album is the one that started it all. Kottke’s brilliant debut was released, fittingly, on John Fahey’s Takoma label.
Showing the influence of Fahey himself (and Takoma labelmate Robbie Basho), Kottke performs impossibly difficult solo compositions that meld blues, bluegrass and jazz techniques.
Whether surefooted and quick (“The Driving of the Year Nail,” “Jack Fig,” “The Fisherman”) or slow and reflective (“Ojo,” “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring”), Kottke’s instrumental work is simply awe-inspiring.
He forge an entire career out of this music and eventually incorporate singing onto his albums, but this gem is Kottke at his very best.