Fahey was born to a decently musical family in Washington, DC, in 1939. Soon after that, as WWII was winding down in 1945, Fahey's parents chose Takoma Park, Maryland as the city in which to raise young Fahey. In his early years, on top of the musical exposure which he undoubtedly gained from his parents' piano playing, they seemed to steep him in the great country & bluegrass music which would pass through their hometown. Notably, Bill Monroe's playing on Blue Yodel No. 7 helped to spark what would become Fahey's lifelong curiosity about music.
Clearly, Fahey's individual tastes, beyond just his parents' tastes, began to blossum in his teenage years (which took place in the early 50s). Evidenced by his purchase of a $17 Sears & Roebuck guitar at the age of 13, Fahey probably began to realize that music was his path to roam. Of course, known as a voracious student of history, he began to collect records at this time, and scored a surprise record by one Blind Willie Johnson, playing "Praise God I'm Satisfied", during a record hunting trip in Baltimore. With a mixture of record-collecting tastes ranging from old jazz, to pre-war blues, to bluegrass, and even classical composers, the primordial soup was set for Fahey's unique style.
Wanting to follow in the footsteps of his newfound heroes, Fahey sought out the awesome Joe Bussard, who helped record Fahey in 1958. From then on, Fahey recorded about an album a year until his death, which is quite a remarkable feat and shows how much music was part & parcel to his life. Around the same time, perhaps with encouragement from his parents, Fahey began his studies (in pursuit of old ways of the past) studying Philosophy, Religion, and eventually Masters in studying the music of Charley Patton with the help of one Alan Wilson.
The rest of Fahey's life clearly revolved around music, and though he was plagued by ill mental & physical health throughout this life, he still managed to through-put an amazing body of work which is rife with hidden gemstones all over the place.