Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Master and the Musician

Anyone who says that Christian music is vapid has never heard Phil Keaggy play.

I recently attended a concert performed by this amazing artist.

The stage was bare except for a stool and microphone. Just after 7:30, Phil walked out with a single Olson acoustic guitar and plugged in to his direct box.

He combined vocals with long stretches of instrumental interludes. He finished his third song at 8:00.

Phil used his patented looping technique to build complex layers of thumps, strums and finger picking. And he did this so seamlessly that I had difficulty telling when he was starting and stopping the recording of each loop.

Here's a video of Phil talking about the looping technology:

Of course, he made expert use of hammer-ons, pull-offs and bends. On one song he used two capos, each covering only two strings to produce a unique celtic sound. He used several unorthodox tunings, all on the same guitar, all while talking and noodling around on the fretboard. He also changed the tuning of individuals string while they were vibrating in the middle of songs. He used the classic ebow for the eerie theremin sound. He used an egg shaker to strike the strings. He even used his pick to create the hip-hop scratch.

Here's Shades of Green:

Early in the evening he played Salvation Army Band:

He played two songs inspired by poems written by C. S. Lewis, and sang a third, "As the Ruins Fall." He played several older songs from his more than 50 albums, as well as some brand new ones. He even threw in a "Beatles" version of an Elvis song as an afterthought.

One of the two songs inspired by Lewis, "Addison's Walk":

Phil played some of his classics:

True Believers

The Maker of the Universe

Thank You for Today

Your Love Broke Through

Phil also did a more recent piece, "New Song":

In response to a request, Phil performed "Time"

Pay special attention to his comments near the end of the video.

After the intermission, Phil started with "Here Comes the Sun":

Here are a couple of clips of more of Phil:

Phil performed the confrontational "Why."

The final song was "Let Everything Else Go."

After a prolonged ovation, Phil came back out for "John the Revelator":

All this from one man with one guitar—and nine fingers!

Pastor Rod

"Helping You Become the Person God Created You to Be"

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