Phil Keaggy - Phil Keaggy
by Paul M. Carhart
Originally published in The Lighthouse Electronic
word gets out that a new Phil Keaggy project is about to hit the
shelves, the first thing I think is: "What's it gonna be this time,
Phil?" Ask that question of this project, and one might be surprised.
Keaggy, who is renowned within both the Christian and mainstream
markets for his guitar playing prowess, has traveled many different
musical paths from soft acoustic instrumentals to Beatles-esque
pop/rock and electrifying lead guitar antics. The name Phil Keaggy
on a disc, it seems, can mean different things to different people.
On his new self-titled project, one will happily encounter a sampling
of many of Keaggy's personas.
Keaggy is perhaps Keaggy's most well-rounded project to date.
The opening track, "A Sign Came Through A Window" is a smoothly
rocking acoustic/electric combination that sets the tone for the
entire album. While Keaggy has, in the past, released primarily
either acoustic or electric projects, Phil Keaggy actually
seems to find a comfortable balance between the two guitar mediums
from the get go.
common stylistic element in recent Keaggy recordings is the Celtic
factor, which is explored no less than twice on this outing in such
songs as The Continual Burnt Offering inspired "Under The
Blood-Stained Lintel" and "Above All Things." If the Beatles-inspired
Keaggy is more your cup of tea, you will find those McCartney-like
elements within "Tender Love," "Quite Suddenly," "Days Like You"
and "Under The Grace." If you like to spend your time checking out
and analyzing the latest Keaggy lead guitar licks, you'll be wearing
out "My Unspoken Words," "Chase The Bad Away," as well as the aforementioned
"A Sign Came Through A Window" and "Days Like You" on your copy
of Phil Keaggy.
are also several ballads included in the mix as well. In fact, the
longest song on the project is also the most tender. The final track,
"Jesus Loves The Church" speaks of all of the things we sinners
do to each other, sometimes even in God's name, and yet we are still
loved by Jesus. One listen to this haunting bit of truth set to
music is worth the price of admission alone.
voice, which is often absent on some of his other projects, is in
rare form on this one. Perhaps the finest vocal recording he has
done in years, surpassing even his landmark 1995 project, True
Believer, Keaggy shines as the lead vocalist and his presence
can be heard as the primary background vocalist on most of the album's
to sum it all up, Phil Keaggy is the Phil Keaggy fan's project.
Nearly every aspect of Keaggy's diverse musical background can be
found nestled together in this surprising vocal project. There are
acoustic and electric guitars merging together. There are traces
of Celtic influence as well as little morsels of modern rock to
whet the taste buds. Indeed, Mr. Keaggy has taken the opportunity
he was given with this project to prove that his music is very much
like a bottle of fine wine: After nearly thirty years, it only gets
better with time.