Phil Keaggy is perhaps one of the most admired guitarists in music today. His fans range from those who aspire just to be able to play Keaggy¹s mistakes, to professional musicians who have been strongly influenced by his style. And in between are those who don¹t play guitar, yet find solace in his beautifully penned lyrics and memorable melodies.
Phil¹s solo career has spanned more than 30 years, and has included close to 50 solo albums, both vocal and instrumental, as well as 8 releases with his band, Glass Harp. He¹s one of the most sought after studio guitarists, constantly being asked to play on albums by the famous, and those trying to achieve fame. Phil continues to amaze his fans, selling out concerts all over the United States, with his ever-changing style, ranging from rock-and-roll to fully orchestrated instrumental compositions.
Born on March 23, 1951 in Youngstown, OH, the ninth of ten children, Phil grew up in a home filled with music. On Phil¹s 10th birthday, his brother, Dave returned home with a Sears Silvertone guitar. That¹s when the magic began.
Due to his father¹s line of work, Phil spent most of his younger days moving back and forth between Ohio and California. During these years, Phil was always involved in music, and at the young age of 13, Phil joined his very first band, the Keytones. He later went on to join such local groups as The Vertices, The Squires, and the Volume Four, who later changed their name to New Hudson Exit.
But it wasn¹t until 1970, when Phil¹s band Glass Harp (with childhood friend John Sferra on drums, and Dan Pecchio on bass) recorded their self-titled first album, that people really began to take notice of this incredibly gifted guitar player. Glass Harp gained more popularity in the Ohio area, opening for such bands as the Kinks and Yes, and even performing at the prestigious Carnegie Hall in New York City. Over the next few years, they recorded two more albums entitled "Synergy" and "It Makes Me Glad".
However, during his years with Glass Harp, Phil¹s life changed immensely. While performing out of town in February 1970, Phil¹s mother was involved in a fatal car accident. His mother¹s passing affected Phil deeply, and when his older sister, Ellen, told him how he could find peace in Jesus Christ, Phil followed his heart and began a new life. It was also during his years in Glass Harp that he met a young woman named Bernadette, who would later become his wife.
By 1972, Phil saw his life going in a different direction, and made the tough decision to leave Glass Harp and pursue a solo career. His first solo album, "What A Day", was recorded in just a week¹s time during January 1973. He and Bernadette married that summer, and the following year, they moved to Upstate New York and joined a Church community called Love Inn.
During his years there, Phil took a break from recording his own music. It wasn¹t until four years later in 1976 that Phil would record his second solo album, "Love Broke Thru", which was soon followed by a string of albums, including the acclaimed instrumental album, "The Master And The Musician".
With the Christian Music industry really beginning to grow, Phil won his very first Dove award in 1988 for his instrumental album, "The Wind and the Wheat. Phil¹s second Dove Award came in 1992 for his Celtic-influenced, "Beyond Nature". Each year from 1998 to 2001, Phil has dominated the "Instrumental Record" category at the Doves, winning for "Invention", "Acoustic Sketches", "Majesty and Wonder", and most recently "Lights of Madrid". For three years in a row, Phil was voted one of the top fingerstyle guitarists by Guitar Player Magazine readers.
These days, Phil Keaggy continues to delight audiences all over the US performing primarily acoustic shows, and occasional concerts with a band. Phil continues to be a devoted father and husband first, and a musician second. He is aware that God gave him a calling to deliver the Gospel through his music, and for over 30 years, Phil Keaggy has been grateful to do just that, and will hopefully continue to do so for many years to come.
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