Phil Keaggy: In His Own Words

Contents

Greetings...

Biographical Topics
Phil's Childhood
Phil's first guitar
"The Marionette"
"Paka"
Phil's first public performance
"Surfer Joe"

The Early Bands
The Keytones/The Vertices
The Persuaders
The Squires
Phil's first recording
"All Our Wishes"
"Real Life"
Meeting John Sferra
The Volume Four/New Hudson Exit
"Blessed Be The Ties"/"Lost In Her World"
From New Hudson Exit to The Glass Harp
"Batmobile"/"I Don't Care"
"Of The Little White Clouds"/"Whatever Life Demands"/"Children's Fantasy"

The Glass Harp Years
"I've Just Begun"
Valentine's Day, 1970

Bernadette and the Keaggy Children
Meeting Bernadette
The Keaggy Children

The Love Inn Years
What A Day
Early Collaborations: 2nd Chapter of Acts/Paul Clark/Honeytree
Love Broke Thru
How The West Was One
The Phil Keaggy Band: Emerging
"Ryan's Song"
"As The Ruin Falls"

The Kansas City and California Years
Writing The Wind And The Wheat
The Master And The Musician
The Sparrow and Nissi Recordings
Getting Closer
Recording The Wind And The Wheat
"The Lion And The Lamb"

Glass Harp Today
"The Further Adventures Of..."

Songwriting, Performing, and Recording
A diversity of styles...
The role of producers
Live recordings?
The joys and trials of live performance
Motivations and influences
"Quite Suddenly"/"Beneath The Blood-Stained Lintel"
Songs written with Phil's sister, Geri Bobeck
"Father-Daughter Harmony"
"I Have Days Like You"/"Chase The Bad Away"
Find Me In These Fields
True Believer
Favorite and influential musicians
"Ralph's Peace"
"Legacy"
Some collaborators: Mark Heard, Bob Bennett
Songwriting Methods
"Wished You Were There"
"It Could've Been Me"
"Calling You"
"Once I Prayed"
Roles of instrumental and vocal music
"Golden Halls"/"Beyond The Screen"
"Evensong"
"Wedding In The Country Manor"/"Procession Of The Hoppers"
Joy
"March Of The Clouds"
"When Night Falls"
"Joy In The Morning"

Postscript

Greetings

Let me first say that your fans are some of the nicest people on the Internet!

Yes, nice people, aren't they?

They really are. I've done a bunch of projects on the web, and by far, having done this web page for you has been the most encouraging thing to me. Hardly a day goes by without one of your fans writing to me and thanking me, and saying what a wonderful effect you've had in their lives. I think that says a lot about your ministry, that you bring that out in people, and I wanted to pass that along.

I appreciate that. I now and then get letters from people as well that are very kind. And it's interesting; sometimes they cite or make mention of a particular song---that might have been one of the more obscure ones---that meant something to them. It can be, sometimes, the quietest, simplest song that can really influence someone's life.

[At this point I passed on a number of "hellos" that had been sent in on the occassion of the interview.]


Phil's Childhood

Let me start with some questions to "fill in some holes" in your biography. You were born in 1951, the ninth of ten children. Your parents' names were Jim and Marguerite?

Yes. In fact, Alicia's middle name is Marguerite.

Was it in Hubbard, Ohio, that you were born?

I was born on the north side of Youngstown---I think Northside Hospital---and lived out in Hubbard, in the rural area.

That was where, at the age of four, you had the accident with the water pump [which severed Phil's right middle finger]?

Yes. That took place when I was either four or five. I think it was four, but it could've been five. [Photo: Phil at the waterpump in Hubbard, Ohio; by Dave and Robin Eastburn, August 1991]

When did you start playing guitar? Some articles about you mention you started playing when you were around 10 years old.

Right. I used to copy playing the guitar; I used to pretend to play guitar, for many years. And you know what? I still pretend now and then!

[laughter] You do a great job! It's pretty convincing!

I try not to be pretentious, but... [laughter] I try to apply my imagination into my fingers, which has been what I enjoy doing the most with the guitar. For instance, if you have the Backroom Trax tapes, there's one piece called "The Marionette" [on Backroom Trax Vol. 5]...

I wanted to ask you specifically about that piece!

Calvin Miller's little story...

That is just a brilliant piece of music. I really love that piece of music.

I'll tell you how that happened. Michael Card was doing a radio special about the imagination, and he said, "Could you come to the studio..."---he has a studio called Mole End, and he has Calvin Miller on tape, just reading the story---and if I could, could I put some music to it, while I'm listening to it. Actually, they wanted me to hear the story, and then I was going to make music, and then they were going to put it together. What I ended up doing was saying, "Why don't you let it roll on tape, and give me a stereo track, and I'll just play along with what I'm hearing." And so we did it once through, and I said, "Let me have just one more pass from beginning to end nonstop." And it was the second take.

So that was just improvised?!

Improvised.

That was not worked out?!

No; nothing was worked out. In fact, the first time I went through it, it was different from the second time. I really enjoyed that! What you hear---some of the phrases on the guitar---were just lines as I was responding to what I was listening to. So it's good to be a musician who listens to what's going on around you, even while you're playing.

That is remarkable to me. I've heard a lot of stories read by actors, with musical accompaniment, and your accompaniment is one of the most appropriate. The way you match the events in the story---like the way you hit those high notes and those harmonics when the puppet's strings are clipped---it's almost unbelievable that you did that "on the fly." That's incredible.

Well, you know what I'd love to do, someday? The Chieftans, Bobby McFerrin, Mark Isham... a lot of artists on Windham Hill have done that very thing, where their music is accompanying the telling of a story. I would think it would be a wonderful experience to do a project like that. They did a really great thing when they did it for Windham Hill. They would have the recited story with the music accompaniment. Then, after the story was over, they would have just the tracks, which is just brilliant. Sometimes I like to listen to just the music because you know the music was inspired by a story.

Yes, those were the ones that I had heard, too; Michael Hedges has one.

Oh yeah! Yeah! And that one I've not heard.

So let's see... you were playing guitar around age ten. Sometime after that, did your family move to California?

I actually asked for a set of drums for my tenth birthday, 'cuz I was into Sandy Nelson. I really love drummers; I enjoy watching Gene Krupa in the movies, Cozy Cole. My dad came home on my tenth birthday and gave me a Sears Silvertone, which was about a $19 guitar. [A photo of] an exact replica of that guitar is on the Way Back Home album---you can see a guitar with a white pickguard. That was the kind of guitar, and when I first started playing, I didn't know chords, I didn't know anything. I'd put the guitar in my lap and I'd play with my thumb and with my other thumb.

[laughter] Almost like a lap steel player or something...

Yeah! I think maybe somehow, sometimes maybe some of those lap steel players ended up becoming so great at what they do because they never changed their style from the beginning, from when they started to play.... [a touch of irony in Phil's voice]

So that's how it started. The first tune I recall playing, I think, was "Third Man Theme;" the second tune I think was "Peter Gunn"---the theme from "Peter Gunn." Real simple melodies. And then my brother Dave, who was a guitar player, spent some time with me when I was eleven. We moved to California in 1962; it was in the winter, because I remember driving across.

Where in California did you move to?

The first place we moved to was Wittier, in LA county. Then we finally rented a house in La Habra, when I was in fifth grade. From La Habra, we moved to La Mirada...

Wow, you moved around a lot!

You wouldn't believe how much I've moved around! I don't know why. I think part of the reason was my dad's work. He was a structural ironworker. He also built bridges. I wrote a song for him recently called "Paka" that I hope to record. It's an alternate-tuning guitar song; the tuning, from the sixth string down, is E B C# G B E.

That is peculiar. Was "Paka" your nickname for him?

That was the name that most of his grandchildren called him. And consequently, some of his own children would refer to him as "Paka" because that's what the grandchildren called him. "Paka" I think comes from a Dutch name for "grandfather." I called him "dad;" and my kids call me "poppy," and have called me that ever since I can remember... and since they can remember!

So... we lived out in California. Then---because my dad went where the work was available, and so we could stay together as a family---we moved back to Ohio in 1964, perhaps; I was in sixth grade. I went to Immaculate Heart of Mary school in Austintown. When we lived in Austintown, we lived on the corner of Racoon Road and Mahoning Avenue. I think it was a little shopping strip-mall, with a little laundramatte, grocery shore and shoe store, or something like that. There was literally a house set on top of this little plaza---the oddest thing you've ever seen---a green, shingled house protruding out of the top of a little strip-mall. We lived there!

My very first performance in front of a crowd was before my fellow students in fifth grade. The name of the school was, if I'm not mistaken, Howard D. Cling school.

Was that in California?

Yes.

What did you play?

Well, what I played was... My brother Dave, for Christmas in fifth grade, the year after I got my acoustic guitar, he bought me a 3/4 size electric guitar, with no name to it, no brand name. It was apparently custom made by somebody. It had one pickup on it, and it was a great guitar. That's where I really began to excel in my desire to learn. I played through a little Orpheus amp; he got me a little amp with like an eight inch speaker in it with just an "ON" knob and a "Volume" knob; I think it had two inputs. I played with a drummer---and I forget my friend's name---but the two of us played for our fifth grade class.

Original stuff? Or Beatles tunes...?

Actually, I think I did an original song called "Surfer Joe" that I wrote; that was the first song I ever wrote. The Safaris wrote a song called "Surfer Joe." But I wrote a song called "Surfer Joe" before I heard the Safaris' version! That doesn't mean I'm more original than they are [laughs]. I just came to California, and that's where people surfed! Then we did "Moondog," which was a Beach Boys tune, an instrumental.


The Early Bands

When did you actually first form a band? Was that back in Ohio?

The first band I ever formed was with a schoolmate named Don Graham. Don played the drums, and we put a group together: Don Graham, Sam Crumweed; the three of us played.

Is this the Keytones?

Yes. That was the Keytones. And then we changed our name to the Vertices. Don's mom used to drive us around in the station wagon. We used to play teen centers and schools. We entered a "battle of the bands" and we were top band.

Was this in Ohio?

No, in California.

So you were really young!

Oh yeah! We went back to Ohio and I was there for sixth grade. Then we went back out to California. We lived in Buena Park, and I went to a school called McComber.

When was that second time you moved to California?

This would be 1965, because I remember Beatles 65 came out. So then we played out there. I used to sit in with another band called the Persuaders that were a neighborhood band close to where Don Graham lived. Then there was an instrumental band; their bass player got sick, and so they asked me if I could play bass. I said, "Well, I can try!" I remember playing a Fender bass. All these guys were really great musicians, and I had a rehearsal with them and everything.

So, we had the band The Vertices. From there, seventh grade, I went back to Ohio again. We were back and forth as if it were going across town! We moved a lot. My dad didn't like working in the winters, so if he got a good job putting iron up in the good weather in California, he'd do it. Plus we had family living out there, which was part of the reason.

You dad's family or your mom's?

My mom's and dad's other kids, who were much older than me. Peg, for instance, Mike; and I think at the time Dave lived out there, who started me out on guitars. Dave is a great guy; all my brothers are great guys! Dave continued to show me, now and then, some things.

Then in the summer going into eighth grade, I went back to Ohio and I joined a band called The Squires. We lived with my grandmother for a short time before we got a place out in Austintown again, on the corner of Meridian Road and Burky. So I joined The Squires, and we played at Lake Milton a lot.

Was that a trio as well?

This was a four-piece band. There was another guitar player named Al Frano, a drummer named Jim Love, and Bob Flamisch played bass.

I think there's a picture of The Squires in your [1990] Songbook.

Yeah! My mom commissioned Bob Flamisch, our bass player, to keep an eye on me because I was playing a lot of clubs, and I was just this eighth-grader. Bob took good care of me and watched over me like a big brother. He's the guy with big grin and dark hair in that picture, and quite the jovial face! [Photo: The Squires; Bob Flamisch, top; Jim Love, left; Al Frano, right; Phil, bottom]

You look like the youngest.

Oh, I certainly was! I was fourteen or fifteen.

Yeah, you look like a little kid and the others look like young men.

Yeah, that's true. You know, Del Sencak, and other people who worked at a store called Ducy Music on Market Street down in Youngstown, they were so encouraging. We actually did a demo tape of The Squires, which was my very first recording. The very first song was called "Just A-Walkin;" and we did "Love Bug"...

These were originals?

Yeah, the band's originals. And we did an instrumental tune called "Rendezvous." Then from there we went to a studio I think was called United Audio, and we did our own first actual demo that really sounds good! In fact I've got an unfotunately very rough copy of it, because that's the only thing that has survived my collection over the years. We did songs called "Time's Up," "As A Boy," "Just To Be Near You," and "A Star In The Sky;" those four songs.

You should put some of that on a Backroom Trax!

Oh, I know I should! We were a good band. In fact, one of the reasons why I thought we became a good band was because we used to do The Beatles and we used to do The Ventures---we played a lot of Ventures songs. And here's something that's kind of an "insider" tip for you. I have a song on my Blue album called "All Our Wishes." "All Our Wishes" is basically a story about my wife and I losing our baby. That song was written, musically, in 1967 when I lived on Meridian Road in Austintown when I was ninth grade.

Without lyrics, then?

No, I had lyrics then called "All My Wishes," and I have a copy of that. But if you played the song "A Star In The Sky," which was on the old Squires demo, "All Our Wishes" is really the music of "A Star In The Sky" going the other direction. There's this little lick that goes... [Phil hums the melody to the refrain of "A Star In The Sky"]. When I turned the tape over, I wrote a completely different song called "All My Wishes," so the guitar refrain goes... [Phil hums the guitar refrain from "All My Wishes"]. So I did a new demo of that, and wrote new words for it in 1993. I was very happy with it. I used the exact same principle: I turned the tape over, and it's the entire song going the other direction. That's how I wrote that song. So there's a song that was remade from way long ago and put on an actual album. The recording that's on Blue is what I did on the 8-track downstairs in my studio.

I just saw you a couple months ago play Houghton College [in upstate New York], and you used the JamMan to do exactly that melody, and flip it exactly that way!

Oh yeah, I did it that night then, huh? Yeah, I use my JamMan. I wrote a new song recently, just about a month ago, called "Real Life," where I incorporate two tracks on the song that are all JamMan backward guitar parts in a refrain that sounds very Celtic. It's one of the songs I'm most excited about these days.

With both parts in different sample channels?

No, one part at a time.

When did you meet John Sferra?

As I mentioned, in the summer of 1966, if I'm not mistaken, I moved back to Ohio, and I was going into the eighth grade. It was in eighth grade that I was introduced to John Sferra by one of our teachers. [Photo: Phil Keaggy, 1966]

You were classmates?

Yeah, we were classmates, and our moms were friends; they knew each other and were very close friends. John and I established a real affinity for each other. We fancied ourselves as being like "the little Beatles," you know. He kind of looked a little like John, and I looked a little like Paul when I was a kid. So we used to get together and sing the Beatles songs from the Help! album, and Peter and Gordon songs. But though he was a drummer, and a very good drummer at his young age, he also played guitar. We thought about having a band, but we didn't really pursue it. So instead of going into a band with John, I joined a band called The Volume Four, who were at the school that I was going to then.

I went to Ursuline High School for half the year of ninth grade---a Catholic high school---which was a great high school, in fact. I have good memories of that school and the teachers I had. But then I transfered to Fitch High School in Austintown, Ohio, and that's where I met these fellows. They auditioned me for their band, and I joined. I left The Squires, which disappointed the fellows because we had been together for a couple years, maybe. But in that band I continued to grow. We started to write songs, but we did mostly covers. Then we changed our name to The New Hudson Exit.

The New Hudson Exit was a four-piece band. The players were Bob Barbone, Tom Husjack, Mitch Benke, and myself. Then someone contacted us and somehow we ended up getting an opportunity to make a record. We did a record on Date Records with "Waiting For Her" on one side and "Come With Me" on the other.

So it was a single?

A single. It was on the same label that The Distant Cousins were on, and Peaches and Herb, back in those days. I think there were other artists. In fact, I think Argent was on Date, with "The Time and the Season," or The Zombies; it was one of them. It's interesting because I loved The Zombies when I was in seventh grade.

I don't know their music...

"She's Not There"...

Oh, sure!

...and "Tell her no." It's interesting because, jumping into the future when we did Sunday's Child, I remember thinking about The Zombies when we were doing a song called "Blessed Be The Ties."

Oh, that's my favorite song off that album.

I had written my own lyrics to it. It's called "Lost In Her World," and it's about an elderly woman who reminisces on her younger days with her family, and all the things that she finds in her attic.

So it's the lyrics that changed with the other writers?

Yeah. Those things happen sometimes.

It came out as a great song anyway.

It is a great song, and I think the lyrics work great. And Steve Taylor is, in my opinion, a better lyricist than I am; he's a creative, creative writer, a very creative person.

So... John and I, we stayed friends. Even though I joined The Volume Four and then went with The New Hudson Exit, we remained as friends. Then what happened was that I was repeatedly getting laryngitis, all the time, for some reason, in my teenage years. I think I was working too hard, I was keeping late hours, trying to get up for school and going to bed too late. I think that was a pattern that was happening. I've never taken voice lessons. I attempted to.

Recently?

No; it was probably ten years ago, maybe twelve years ago that I tried to take them. I decided, "no, that's not for me." What's happened is, I just kept singing and singing. I seldom lose my voice now. I can sing night after night, seven days a week in acoustic concerts and never lose my voice. But when I go out and work hard with a band, and lose sleep at the same time, that very definitely puts my voice in peril and in danger of losing a bit. There is a point, though, that's between losing your voice entirely, and having an edge to it. That's why in some cases, over my albums, there's a different texture or quality to my voice.

I've especially enjoyed your singing on the last few albums. There's a wider dynamic range to it: the yells that you do, but still the quietness. I've really enjoyed that.

I think I enjoy singing today more than I did ten years ago or twenty years ago.

Is it easier or harder?

It's easier. It's easier to hit all the notes. When I was in high school, for me to sustain a G or an A note was such hard work. But today I can do it. Like in "The True Believers" [on True Believer] for instance; I'm hitting A's and B's in that song.

And nailing them!

I can play it in concert, even though I tune down a half-step. I recently performed that song at a Christmas Gala in town [Nashville] a week ago, and I sang it at normal pitch, and I got through it pretty well. I was very grateful for that! So at 44 years old, it's nice to be able to hit A's and B's; easier than it was when I was 20.

So maybe there's hope for me!

Yeah, go ahead!

So... when did Glass Harp finally happen? It sounds like New Hudson Exit was making records and...

Yeah, we made one record. Actually, The Squires made a record that was played on the radio a little bit...

Oh really? A single as well?

Yes, a single called "Batmobile." "I Don't Care" was the flip side. I cowrote the song "I Don't Care" with a friend of mine; I forgot his name. It's on the record, but I don't have the record. He wasn't in the band; it was actually his lyrics I put music to. And "Batmobile".... There was a guy named Mike Monas who started Penguin Records, and he was the owner or manager of The Penguins' Roost, which was a place The Squires used to play on the north side of Youngstown. And it was his idea to make a "Batmobile" record. It was a thrill for us, because here was an eighth-grader who had a 45rpm single. Then I had my single with New Hudson Exit in ninth grade.

Then a very strange event took place. I was getting very restless and unhappy in the band. I ended up going out to California without my family. I took a flight in February of 1968, and the band was pretty upset. In California I stayed with my sister Peg. I finished tenth grade at a school called Savannah High School in Santa Anna. The kids over there used to call me "England," because I had a Beatle hair cut! Everybody else combed their hair straight back like surfers do. I was small and didn't participate in sports. I just delved into the guitar even more so at that time.

How long were you there for?

I stayed there from February 1968, until in June 1968 I decided to come back to Ohio, without my family.

So your family had moved out to California in the meantime?

Yeah, they did, they subsequently moved out. Just after I took a flight out, they drove out.

When you returned to Ohio, is that when you went to live with John?

Yeah, I went to live with John; that's where I went to first. And then the band---The New Hudson Exit---they invited me to a gig that they did. We got talking. John and I weren't having a lot of success with finding a band. We were talking about forming a band like The Electric Flag...

Right, a seven-piece or something like that?

Yeah. Somehow we got discontent or a little discouraged or something, and the band was saying, "Hey man, we're already established, you know a lot of the music already; why don't you come back with us?" So I went back with them, and I remember playing the Gazebo Room or someplace like that, some gig we did. And as soon as I was back in the band, they let me go. I recall---I think because of anxiety---I had vocal troubles. Because I remember I was unhappy. And remember, I was a kid in high school...

A kid in an adult world...

Yeah, and I didn't have a sense of roots because we were moving so much, and I didn't know Jesus; that didn't come until later. I wanted to be a good kid, and I wanted to do right; but I also wanted to be the best musician I could possibly be. At that time, from February 1968 to June 1968, I wrote dozens of songs, and put them on tape; a lot of songs that ended up becoming bits and pieces of songs later in the future, in Glass Harp days. I wrote a song called "Of The Little White Clouds," which ended up becoming, lyrically, what went into the song, "Whatever Life Demands." I wrote a song called "Childrens Fantasy;" the lyrics were retained, and we did new music to it on the Glass Harp album, our first album.

So what happened was, I was with the band The New Hudson Exit, and then out of the band again. What happened to me then? My mom found out that I was staying there, and she called my brother Dave who came down and took me...

So Dave was in Ohio at this time...

Yeah, what I think happened was, Karl took me to his house in Hubbard---my brother Karl lives in Hubbard---and then after I was with Karl for a couple of weeks, Dave came down and took me to Erie, PA, where he lived. I stayed with Dave through the month of August. During that time he and I took a trip to New York City, and met a lady named Bunny Jones. He was helping me try to shop my music. This lady said she knew The Beatles, so that got me all excited---here I am talking to someone who actually met them, that type of thing. Nothing came of it, but it was a great trip. We were walking down the streets of New York City, hearing over the speaker by a music store "Hey Jude," which had just come out.

I ended up staying up there, and John would come up and visit me. Actually, John and Bob Flamisch---who was the bass player from The Squires---came up, since we were all friends; and we used to jam in Dave's living room. We even made a couple recordings, just on a tape recorder, which I don't have anymore; I wish I did. It was fun stuff; we did "Caravan" by The Ventures, other songs....


The Glass Harp Years


Glass Harp, 1971: Dan Pecchio, Phil Keaggy, John Sferra

That's when John and I got talking. So I went back down to Ohio. I ended up moving in with a family called the Martins; if I'm not mistaken, Joe and Connie Martin. They were kind enough to take me in as kind of a son away from home. Mind you, I was away from my family since June, and here we are starting the school year. I enrolled back at Fitch High School, in the eleventh grade.

Connie and Joe were a very friendly, Italian family. They had a son named Tommy, and another child, but I can't remember that child's name. John and I then put The Glass Harp together with a bass player named Steve Markulin. So our seven-piece group never did come together, but we ended up becoming a three-piece band. We ended up, later that fall and into the winter, doing a demo album, which some people have as a bootleg. It's got two horrible renditions of Beatles songs I completely butchered. One, especially, called "Eleanor Rigby."

Was there a title for that album?

No, it never was released, and never titled. But one of the songs was "I've Just Begun"...

Oh yeah! From Sunday's Child.

Yeah, we changed the arrangement a little bit, and rewrote the lyrics; Lynn Nichols and I wrote the new lyrics to it. So that's another old song from the past that came back.

So John and I worked with Steve for a while, I think for maybe six, seven, or eight months. Then John Carazino played bass with us for a short time. And then we had a manager in Youngstown, Geoff Jones. And then Dan Pecchio joined the band, and that's when we became The Glass Harp as the three of us. Geoff helped us get our start which I appreciate to this day.

So you had actually been playing with John for almost a year in that band?

Yes, before Dan joined. And Dan was older than John and me. We respected him; he seemed like the smart one, and he seemed to be the one who would always try to look out for the best for us. We soon ended up getting different management; Chip Killinger and Bill Able ended up managing the band. We ended up doing demos with Dan up in Cleveland. Eventually, Louis Merenstein came to hear the band play, and signed a production deal with us. We did our first Glass Harp album in September 1970, if I'm not mistaken.

But what happened was, Dan joined the band, if I'm not mistaken, in 1969. My family didn't come back to Ohio until about April, 1969. So, as you can see, that was ten months without living with my folks, and that was at a time when I lived in many households. I lived with John; I stayed a short time with Mitch Benke; I went to Karl's; I went to Dave's; I went to the Martins' home.... [Photo: Phil, 1969]

So you were 17 or 18 at this time?

Seventeen, yeah. I ended up moving in with my brother Bill. Everybody had to put up with me! I was like this little vagabond teenager; I didn't mean to cause trouble or anything, but I was fairly restless and discontent until I was able to find my niche. I drifted into experimenting with drugs during that year of 1969. It's something I'm not proud of; a little lost boy is what I was. I continued on in that vein until my mother was in this car accident, Valentine's Day of 1970. We were living in Boardman on Boardman-Poland Road at the time. I managed to get through the eleventh grade. When I started the twelfth grade, there was trouble because the band was beginning to get more popular, and we started getting invited to go on the road. John ended up taking a correspondence course; I ended up taking a correspondence course...

Is that how you got a high school degree?

Yeah, that's how I got my diploma, through Lasalle, out of Chicago.

So you were on the road when the Valentine's Day accident happened.... [Photo: Phil, 1970]

Yes, I was. I remember going and picking out a Christmas tree with my mom. I remember that last Christmas with her very vividly. It really saddens me to realize that I was disappointing her, getting my head caught up in things. The Beatles were an identity; The Moody Blues were an identity. So when this accident occurred on Valentine's Day, I came home, and I was shocked and very saddened; but I thought mom was going to live. There was some indication, someone had mentioned, "We think she's going to come through it." And she passed away a week later.

Was she concious at all during that week?

Yeah, I went to visit her in the hospital, and the last thing she said to me and my sister Geri was, "I love you kids." Those were her last words to me. And I remember her eyes, and I remember her looking straight into my soul. And I believe her prayers are what brought me to Jesus.

At the funeral, the first thing.... The morning of the funeral, I was staying at a friend's house. The clock radio came on to wake me up, and it was "Bridge Over Troubled Water." And so I couldn't keep a dry eye for the next two years every time I heard that song. It shows the power of music, because it was very sad, and yet comforting at the same time.

My sister Ellen---my oldest sister, who used to be a movie star, a moderately successful actress for a short period of time---she brought me and my sister Geri to faith in Jesus.

Was it the day of the funeral?

It occurred a couple days after that, because she was in town for that. I went to a small church in Boardman, Ohio, an Assemblies of God church, and Pastor Paul Dear was the Pastor, who remains a friend to this day. Then I began to meet other people, like Johnny Kay, who was a WHOT radio discjockey from Youngstown....

Was that a Christian station?

No, it was just a pop radio station. These men were very influential to me, as was Father Charles Crumbley, from St. Patrick's church. I was raised Catholic, but my committment to Christ occurred in an Assemblies of God church. But my mother's legacy of a life devoted to God and family, that's what really was the thing that made me hunger for God.

There's a very touching interview with you just a month or two ago in CCM magazine, where you describe your mom as a "Roman Catholic woman full of the Spirit of God." I've never heard anything but respect from you about the Catholic church; but I've always wondered, as a Catholic myself, what was missing in your upbringing that Ellen was able to show to you that day. What was the final thing that helped you meet the Lord?

I think it was not so much [something missing]... because the Gospel is preached in many Catholic churches, and the truth is known there. It was just the condition of my heart. As it says, "God would take away the stony heart, and give us a heart of flesh," a heart that's alive and human, and not hardened, not fossilized by the world [see Ezekiel 11:19; 36:26]. So I think it was me that changed, because it's the same Gospel. Over the years, I've been a part of many nondenomenational churches and denomenational churches, but I have even a higher regard and respect for my Catholic upbringing, because I believe it planted the seeds of faith in me. And I read books that give me a greater understanding of the Catholic faith today. I'm not a practicing Catholic, but I believe that I'm a true believer who responds to the truth that is there. Because it's ancient tradition; it goes way back. I think Martin Luther had some great ideas, and showed us that we're saved by grace through faith, but he was a Catholic when he posted all that up! He didn't all of a sudden become some Protestant; he was protesting the wrong that was there. I have great fellowship with my Catholic brethren today. I have some dear friends across the country that I've made. That's a whole other subject; but I think when the Lord looks at his Bride, he doesn't see the walls that we use to divide ourselves from each other. He sees one body, and that body is comprised of his children, those who he bought and paid for with his blood.... I love the liturgy; I think liturgy with the Spirit is one of the most powerful ways of communicating the life of God to us.

That's certainly one of the attractions of Catholicism for me.

God is in his body the church, Christ the head---all over the world.


Bernadette and the Keaggy Children

Was it almost exactly a year after your mom's accident that you met Bernadette? [Photo: Phil and Bernadette Keaggy, 1990]

Exactly.

How did that come about?

Well, we had done our first album, and we were playing locally as well as up in Cleveland. We played Akron a lot, and we played this club called Oden's Den there. She was coming with a girlfriend of hers. I noticed her one Monday night that I played. I noticed her a second Monday night that I played, because she always sat on the floor at the same place. The third Monday night, I couldn't resist! I had to go and talk to her and introduce myself.

Was Bernadette a Christian at the time that you met her?

No, she came to the Lord just a few months after we met. We'd share out of the Bible together and talk about faith.

So she was searching when you met...

She was searching; yes, she was. And she told her parents that there was something different about this young man that she met, who happened to me a musician...

...and happened to be a Christian!

Uh huh!

So her family wasn't Christian?

Oh, they were, and they had been praying for her, just like my mom. I was very close to her mom and dad, and they took me in like a son. I think it's one of the most special relationships I've ever known---with Bernadette's mom and dad. They suffered with us through the times we lost our kids, our babies; and then really greatly rejoiced, and drove all the way from Akron to Kansas City to see Alicia.

We lived there for four years, between 1979 and 1983; Alicia was born in March, 1980. Olivia was born in California. When we moved to California in 1983, Bernadette was actually pregnant with her, and she was born on Valentine's Day of 1984. [Photo: Olivia, Ian, and Alicia Keaggy, 1990]

Oh, wow!

The same hour that accident took place, around the hour of 6pm.

That is amazing.

That is an incredible blessing. And she is a blessing; she's a real blessing. All our kids are.

You have a beautiful song, "She's AOK With Me," on Backroom Trax. I hope that one makes the CD!

Well, you know, hopefully someday it will come out.


Phil and his children, 1990


The Love Inn Years

I'm talking to you from Ithaca [in upstate New York]. Sometime between the Glass Harp days and the birth of your kids you spent some time nearby in Freeville, at the Love Inn. How did someone who comes to Jesus in Ohio find out about this little community in upstate New York? How did that come about?

Well, I left Glass Harp after doing three albums, and one live recording that was never released.

Hopefully it soon will be!

Perhaps they will soon. Dan Pecchio is looking into it. It might be released, just independently.

That would be great; there's a lot of interest in it.

Yeah; all he needs is a distributor.

So, I left Glass Harp in August of 1972; and that was not an easy parting.

Were you married to Bernadette yet?

No, we married eleven months later, in July of 1973---which would probably be between eleven and twelve months later. I stayed on in Ohio after I left the band, and I played acoustic dates with a friend named Peter York.

Right; he's now the head of Sparrow.

Peter and I were and remain very close. He made me laugh like no one in the world ever made me laugh. It was just pure joy being around him; young, innocent, full of life, full of anticipation for the future, full of music.

This was here in upstate New York?

No, this was in Ohio. He lived in Warren, Ohio; I lived in Youngstown.

I went up to Love Inn because I knew of the Scott Ross show. I heard the show on the radio, and I liked it; I liked the songs they played. So I went up for a visit, stayed for a couple of days, and then came back down and told Bernadette all about it. We got engaged in October, and sometime in the fall we went up for a visit, and we thought, "Well, maybe this is where we should move."

What ended up happening, though, is that I got invited to play on the Love Song tour just a month after we were married. So we drove out in our Ford van....

You hadn't moved to Freeville, New York, at that point yet?

No, no. We went out to California and played with Love Song. We stayed out there for a month, then came back to Ohio. While we were back in Ohio, we stayed with Bernadette's folks, and I'd go out on tour; I did two more tours, I believe. That was a great experience! I made some life-long friends, especially Tom and Shelly Coomes. Tom ended up being a big, big, serious help on The Wind and the Wheat.

Yes, I was trying to remember what recent album I saw his name on; that was the one.

Yeah, that's right. So, we went back to Ohio. We rented a house out in Warren, just down the road from Peter. We continued to work through December to July. The last tour I did with Peter at that point was with Paul Clark, and I was convinced on that tour that I needed to get off the road; and I was hungry to get into fellowship. So we decided to fill up a U-Haul with our little belongings, and we drove up to Freeville New York. We rented an apartment there. Then we lived in Dryden the second half of that time. I had done my What A Day album in January of 1973, in about a week's time... [Photo: Phil, 1973]

A week?!

Yup, with Gary Hedden, up in Cleveland. We'd do two songs a day; record 'em and mix 'em! That's how we did it. And Gary came to the Lord---he and his wife came to the Lord---during that period!

During that recording? Or shortly after?

Yeah, shortly after.

That's wonderful!

Uh huh. I made some good friends, too. I met Turley Richards; ever heard of him?

No...

Yeah, there's someone you ought to investigate; what a voice! A great voice. In fact, he was produced by Louis Merenstein also, and did an album on Reprise Records. He had a great song called "I Heard The Voice Of Jesus." We keep in touch.

So, in July 1974 Bernadette and I moved up to New York. We stayed there until August 1979.

So the move was right after you recorded What A Day?

It was a year and a half after. In January 1973 I recorded What A Day, but didn't have a label for it until Scott Ross started a label called New Song. Then it was released in May or June of 1974.

Did Sparrow eventually pick that up?

No, Word did, through Buck Herring, who invited me to play on In The Volume Of The Book [by 2nd Chapter of Acts] in January 1975. Through meeting Buck and Annie [Herring] and Matthew [Ward] and Nellie Ward, I became good friends with them, and Bernadette became very close friends with them also.

Here's what happened. I did a couple albums; I played on Paul Clark's Come Into His Presence in April or March 1974---it was still kind of cold, but it was moving into Spring. Bernadette went with me to Kansas City while I did that. Then, in January 1975 I played on In The Volume Of The Book, and then in, I think, Spring 1975, I played on Paul Clark's It's Good To Be Home album. We got John and Jay from Love Song back together with us and did it in Kansas City; either there, or we went to Oklahoma City, one of those two places. And then, if I'm not mistaken, in the Fall of 1975, I recorded with Honeytree, on her Evergreen album. So I was doing these albums with other people, but I wasn't doing any of my own music since January 1973. I would have loved to have recorded again, but it was Buck who actually went to Scott Ross and said, "I'd like to produce an album for Phil Keaggy." And we did Love Broke Thru...

A classic!

... yeah, we recorded that in May 1976.

An incredible album; there's incredible chemistry on that album between the players.

Yeah, yeah, it was good. Then I continued to work with 2nd Chapter of Acts. I played on their Roar Of Love album, which was a Narnia album, in, if I'm not mistaken, December 1976. 1977 comes around, and I think somewhere along the way we did the In The Courts Of The King praise album out of Love Inn [the praise music of Ted Sandquist, featuring Phil and other Love Inn musicians]. At this point, Bernadette and I had lost children two times, during all this time; November 1975, August 1976, and April 1977.

And one of those was a set of triplets?

Yes, the first one, in November 1975. The story is in Bernadette's book, A Deeper Shade Of Grace.

So Bernadette an I went on the road with 2nd Chapter of Acts and we did a tour. How The West Was One came out of that tour.

Incredible album!

Two nights were recorded in Redding and Sacramento; that was July 1977. Then in August 1977 I did the Emerging album with my band that we had put together the year before, with Lynn Nichols...

Yeah, Lynn was in that band; and Phil Madeira. Did you know all these folks---the 2nd Chapter and Lynn and Phil---from Love Inn? How did you hook up with all these folks?

I met Phil Madeira when I was on the road with Love Song in November 1973. I met Lynn Nichols when I was visiting Love Inn the first time in August 1972. And I met Matthew, Annie, and Nellie in January 1975. I met Paul Clark for the first time in November 1973 on tour with Love Song; that's where I met him, too. We all became good friends, and we still remain friends to this day.

Do you still have friends in the Freeville or Dryden area?

Yes, I consider Ted Sandquist a friend still. And although I don't talk to too many people up there, I remember with a grateful heart people like Peter Hopper and his wife Nina, and other friends who have moved away from there as well: Ray Crognell, who moved there while I was there; but he was originally from Youngstown, so we knew each other from the Youngstown days. Of course Madeira moved there, and Lynn moved there, and now they're all down here; Phil, and Lynn, and Ben Pearson. We were all friends up there together. Bill Clarke, who wrote the lyrics to "Ryan's Song," was up there.

Oh! I didn't realize that wasn't your lyric.

No, that was a poem he gave to me out of feeling grief for our situation. I was trying to write a song, and I couldn't. I wrote the music, I wrote the melody; but I had no words. He gave me the words, and it fit hand-in-glove, perfectly. I didn't change any of his words at all to make it fit my music, it just fit.

So, Bill and Gloria Clarke, I appreciate them. And Chris and Linda Christensen---a lot of people who were very encouraging to my music. Chris Christensen---not Chris Christian!---he's a student, he's going to school for a degree in psychology. He is a C. S. Lewis and Tolkien enthusiast, and he got me interested in Lewis. In fact, he encouraged the music to "As The Ruin Falls." I said, "I got an idea of putting music to this," and he said, "You oughta do that!" And it encouraged me to do that.


The Kansas City and California Years

So eventually we did leave upstate New York and moved to Kansas City, because we'd gone through a lot of disappointment and heartache up there. Paul Clark, and his friends from his church, became good friends to us. And a man named Bruce Coleman shared that he believed God was going to give us a child, and prayed for us, and said, "Listen, and take to heart the things I tell you." And we did. So when we discovered Bernadette was expecting again, we felt we should move to Kansas City. That's why we moved there. We moved there in August 1979, and she [Alicia] was born in March 1980.

Was it Kansas City itself where you lived, or was it Leawood [Kansas]?

Leawood.

I had remembered that from the liner notes to Underground.

Yeah. I got my first little 4-track cassette player portastudio in the Summer of 1980, and began to write a lot of music which went into The Wind And The Wheat and Underground. [Photos: Phil with Cross Section, Dayton Ohio, 1980; by Curtis Alley]

Oh! It dates back to that time?

Well, "March Of The Clouds" was written in September 1980...

That's a wonderful tune...

...and "Where Traveler's Meet" was written around that same time. I've got a mix of all these ideas; some of it went into one of the Backroom Trax...

Yeah, there's a medley of "March of the Clouds;" a whole bunch of different versions of it.

Yeah.

When was The Master And The Musician recorded? Was that at Love Inn?

Yeah, I lived there at the time.

The original version has this peculiar story that came with it that wasn't in the re-release.

Right; I didn't want it in the re-release. Not that it's a bad story. It's actually a well-written short story, but I left it off the re-release. It was originally going to be done with me and with Richard Souther. He and I were going to write the album and co-produce the album. We got excited because we had a chemistry together when we did How The West Was One. That long version of "Rejoice" [on How The West Was One] shows that we spontaneously really worked well together. But our collaboration didn't work out. I ended up doing The Master and the Musician primarily alone, with the help of some local musicians from the Chicago area. I went to Chicago with a few bits and pieces.... The thing was, I went and worked with Gary Hedden, who did my What A Day album. He had a studio in Chicago, actually Schaumburg [Illinois, near Chicago], and we ended up doing that album. I worked on it for two weeks, and then I went back to New York; and then later, went back out again. And this time, Lynn Nichols assisted me in terms of encouragement, having a companion, having a pal, and helped get me through the final process of recording and mixing the album. It ended up turning out being one of the most special albums I've ever done.

Is it one of your personal favorites?

Yeah, it is.

There's so much going on throughout that recording. That's one of my favorite albums to take an evening and just sit with headphones and try to listen to you doing all kinds of things in the background, with various voices coming in and out. It's just amazing that you did that on the fly!

Yeah. Jumping into the 80s, I signed to Sparrow in late 1979, and Buck Herring had a lot to do with me getting hooked up with them. I did Ph'lip Side, Town To Town, and Play Thru Me while I was there. I think there are good moments on those albums, but I don't think they're as free as what I'd done on The Master And The Musician. I felt that there was a real amazing freedom on Underground, which were just my cassette demos, basically.

That was on Nissi Records. Was that your own label?

No, it wasn't.

The first Way Back Home was on that label. [Photo: Phil, 1986]

So was Getting Closer, which was a nice album.

There are classics on that! "Sounds" is just a killer tune; so many good songs on that. "Like An Island" is a great tune, and "Riverton" I really love.

Yeah, I do too! And that was with Richard Souther; we wrote that while we were on tour. We toured in 1984 together with a band...

Yeah, you discuss that on your video [Electric Guitar Style].

The band was Dave Spur, Richard Souther, Rick Cua, and Peter York. It was quite a band. We'd open up the concerts with "The Ransom" [from Underground]; we did some of Rick Cua's music. We were, I thought, a real good band.

Then I went through some real ups and downs with direction and record company stuff. My friend Tommy Coomes invited me to do a couple of sample songs for the Colours samplers [Colours was a series of instrumental recordings released by Maranatha! Music]. That's when I did "I Love You Lord," and then a couple months later, "The Wind And The Wheat." Then he said, "Why don't we do a whole album?" I said, "I would love to; it would mean so much to me to do a collection of songs."

So that's the origin of The Wind And The Wheat! Was "The Lion And The Lamb," on Backroom Trax 2, originally a cut for that album? It has that same kind of feeling.

It was recorded, I believe, after. Jeff Lams [keyboard player on many tracks of The Wind And The Wheat] and I became friends, and Jeff helped me arrange "March Of The Clouds." He played piano on "Where Travelers Meet." "The Lion And The Lamb" has, I think, a cool vibe.

Definitely. It's one of my favorite Backroom Trax cuts.

Yeah, I would love to put out a CD of the best of Backroom Trax. I've talked with John Schroeter [who runs the Phil Keaggy Club] about it.

Right; you mention that in the [winter 1995] newsletter. A lot of your Backroom Trax cuts are very professional-sounding. Some of them you've done on 8-track.

Yeah. I've done some stuff recently. I've done a sequel to "March Of The Clouds" called "Beyond This Day" that I'm very pleased with. My son Ian gave it the title! You could put it out, as far as I'm concerned, as it is.


Glass Harp Today

Before we go on a little bit, I want to jump back a little, because I have a few questions some Glass Harp fans have asked. Some of your fans are wondering why Glass Harp broke up, and what Dan Pecchio [Glass Harp bassist] has been up to since Glass Harp. We know John has been working on an album and has recorded with you, but nobody has heard much from Dan.

Well, I think Dan got real heavily into auto racing; kind of a Jacky Stewart type of thing. I don't know how far into it he got, but I know that was an interest of his. Also, after Glass Harp he joined the Michael Stanley Band for a while, from Cleveland; they were very popular. Presently he is involved with his church. He's been working with the music in his church---it's an evangelical church---and I'm really delighted to hear that.

Where is he living?

He's in Cleveland. I think that he's been singing still, doing some clubs, and I think he's helping his son, Toto, who is in a band, sort of helping manage them. But we just talked recently, a lot, because of new interest in Glass Harp stuff. We managed to do a reunion in 1981, and 1987, and 1993, I think. We've played off and on; nothing real consistently, but we have picked up our guitars together and played a little bit. He was an essential voice and player in The Glass Harp. He helped John and me to musically grow up a bit.

Are there any plans for any future reunions?

It's possible. If this Glass Harp album gets released---the live one---we might be able to do a date up in Cleveland together, which could be a real blast.

Now, if I have the chronology right, I don't think you were a Christian yet when you recorded the first Glass Harp album....

Yes I was. I became a Christian in February 1970, and we did our first album in September 1970, I think. In fact, there are references to the Lord...

That's why some fans have been wondering about that.... There is obviously this special chemistry you have with John and Dan, and the old songs are really wonderful. But for my tastes, I think your writing and performing is better now than ever. I was wondering if you ever get tired of all the attention some fans give Glass Harp.

Well, I think part of it is nostalgia, because it takes them back to a time in their life---memories, growing up, transition periods. We had an energy, and we were a uniquely formulated band in our personalities and in our music style. When John and I did the Crimson and Blue album, to play with John again brought out the fire in my guitar playing...

That was incredible!

Yeah; it wasn't heard on my records, except for "Sounds" [on Getting Closer].

"The Further Adventures Of...", the cut on Blue and Revelator, that is just incredible!

Yeah, that was a complete, spontaneous expression of freedom between the two of us.

The amazing thing to me about it is the way the two of you respond to each other. It's as articulate as two people having a conversation, the way you respond to each other.

Exactly. In fact, we mastered the album with Doug Sax in California; and when we mastered the EP, which is called Revelator, we put "Further Adventures" on that, and he said, "How come this isn't going on the main album?" He said, "This is terrific! This is fantastic!" Then there was talk with Word about putting together the Blue album, which I think is a real collectors' item, personally, because it has the Badfinger cut, it's got "All Our Wishes;" it's just more streamlined, I think ["The Further Adventures Of..." also appears on Blue]. And actually, the "Doing Nothing" version on that is a mix of the two versions; the performance and the verses are from Revelator, digitally edited with the jam from the studio version. It came out really good.


Songwriting, Performing, and Recording


Phil, 1990

You strike me as almost musically restless, because you cover so many styles, and you seem to master a variety of them. A lot of your albums are like a stylistic picture, and one album is very different from another. I was wondering, do you plan the albums that way---do you say, "I'm going to make a blues-rock album" and then "I'll make an album that has acoustic ballads"---or do the albums just reflect the writing you do during a certain period of time?

I think it's both. I have a real tenderness toward acoustic music and soft-spoken music. At the same time, it's usually my buddies like Phil Madeira and Lynn Nichols who like to hear me really wail on the guitar! In fact, I did a jam the other night, at Cafe Milano in Franklin [Tennessee], where we worked up a bunch of blues-jazz versions of Christmas songs, and did songs like "Green Onions;" it was just a blast, it was fun! But the night before that, I played an all-acoustic concert with a percussionist and bass player. So yeah, I have a tendency to go back and forth. The music I've been writing over the last two months is both. Beyond Nature-ish, Wind and the Wheat-ish, and rock and stuff. I'm just applying myself and doing what comes at hand; whatever comes into my mind, I'll do that.

How great a role do your producers have in setting the mood or the atmosphere for a particular recording?

I think they have a lot of influence. Lynn Nichols and I, we discussed, for the Crimson and Blue album, how we wanted it to be really a very bluesy Glass Harp/James Gang/Cream type of album. The album took a more diverse direction, perhaps a little too diverse. But it contains happy songs like "Love Divine" and "Reunion of Friends."

Those are fun tunes!

Yeah, they're fun songs! They're kind of picking on The Beatles, you know. I don't get hung up on that, the references. That was a major influence. But then, so was Michael Bloomfield, and so was Eric Clapton. That comes out in some of the stuff.

I would love to do an album that's a combination of instrumental and vocal songs, acoustic and electric songs. But that remains to be seen, how that could come together.

I think there are plenty of people who are very happy with you doing just what you want to do. There are certainly lots of them on the Internet! And I'm sure there are even more of them who don't know anything about a computer, but who do know great music when they hear it. Do you have any desire or plans to do a live album, acoustic or electric?

Yeah, I've desired that. I've had walks and talks with my manager about that kind of a thing.

A lot of artists, it seems, just tour with an ADAT [an 8-track digital recorder], record tons of gigs, and just pull out the best ones.

I played up in Wisconsin recently, and that would have been a wonderful album. Recording concerts properly would be a most excellent idea.

Was that the Milwaukee concert [Serb Hall, November 18, 1995]?

Yeah.

There has been a bit of really great feedback about that show on the 'net, some of your fans saying there was just a fantastic show in Milwaukee.

It was; it was one of the highlights of the year!

Wow, I wish I was at that one! I wish you had the ADAT at that one!

I do, too.

A lot of your solo shows are acoustic shows. Is that by choice, or is it the finances of the venue, or the logistics of rehearsing and touring with a band? Is it your ideal to do those, or would you like to tour with a band more? [Photo: Solo acoustic show at Virginia Military Institute, January 1996; by James Messick]

This is getting into the thick of it, because I don't like touring, because I don't like being away. I did a Twila Paris tour last Fall, and I did one last Spring. There was a band there, and we did work up some songs, but I ended up most of the time doing just my solo set because the response from the audience was good. So I said, "I might as well do this; I'm getting the greatest response by doing my music with my JamMan and with my acoustic guitar." I toured with John [Sferra] and [Phil] Madeira and Wade Jaynes, and we did a Crimson and Blue tour, and it took a while for me to get my head into it. Actually, it took about ten days for me to really get comfortable with playing. But for that tour we were booked in a lot of churches, and I don't like playing loud music in churches. I'm very free, I have a great amount of freedom acoustically in any venue, whether it's a hall, a college, a church, a cafe. But there are logistics involved with a band tour, and that means the finances are a factor, people being committed to going on the road; that sort of thing. For me, I like to get out and get back home as soon as possible.

I remember seeing a really great show of yours in this really strange pink warehouse-shaped church in Chicago in the late 80s, and in the middle of the show you paused and took some questions from the audience. You were talking then about being really tired of touring, and thinking about leaving music, even. Some fans have said that last year, too, you seemed really tired on tour. More recently, people are saying you are energized, and they really enjoy your shows. I'm wondering what it is that gets you through low points, and what causes the low points to begin with.

I think missing Bernadette and the kids is the hardest thing for me to deal with.

So it's the extended tours rather than the weekend gigs?

Right. Because if I'm rested---and I rest better when I don't go on the road for a long time---I have a better mentality, a better frame of mind. It just feels more fresh to me. You know, you're going to have ups and downs; anybody who looks closely enough at it over a period time will see these valleys and these peaks that anybody goes through. Especially in my case where I don't have a set show. In my case, I pull songs out of the hat. If I'm a little tired, I may go a direction that will accomodate the tiredness. If I feel up and energetic, I'll play music that reflects that. That's just how I am; that's the way I've always been.

Would you like to tour less than you do? Are you hoping to focus more on recording?

I would like to do concerts half the year, and half the year be constantly creative in the studio. Maybe if I can upgrade my studio so I can put stuff out that doesn't have even the slightest amount of hiss, maybe that will make folks happy. But I did get a keyboard that has some great drum samples on it...

What did you get?

It's a Korg Pro 01/W. I've been using that a bit more for a couple years now. In fact, if you heard the song, "Jill," I use it on that and on other tunes from the last Backroom Trax [volume 6]. I think a lot of the songs have that. Of course, you can go to the studio and lay down tracks, and if I had an ADAT I could just do my vocals and my guitars at home, which would be a smart way to go. That's one of the things I have in mind to do. When I work on a song, I really get focussed and committed to the finishing of an idea. And I like it.

Why do you write music, and why do you perform? Is it the enjoyment of it, or do you feel compelled to do it, just something in you...?

Well, I'm a seasonal writer. After True Believer was done, I only wrote a couple of songs through the Spring of 1995; and didn't write much in the Summer. Of course, I was touring. When I tour a lot, I feel less creative with songwriting.

Were you wanting to write, but it was just a dry period? [Photo: Phil, 1990]

Right. That's how it was. I wrote a couple songs and tucked them away. Then I pulled out the old H. A. Ironside book, The Continual Burnt Offering....

The book where you got the lyrics for some of the songs you recorded on Way Back Home...

Yeah. I wrote a song called "Quite Suddenly" out of it, and from there I wrote a song called "Beneath The Blood-Stained Lintel;" these are new songs of mine. That put me on a roll, and I got inspired again. From that point---that was in October---from that point to now, I've got fifteen new pieces on tape. I wrote other songs with my own lyrics, and wrote a bunch of instrumentals. My sister Geri penned some lyrics and I put music to them; one's called "Tender Love," and one's called "Inspiration."

You wrote "Peace," recorded on Backroom Trax Volume 5, based on one of her poems.

Yeah! A beautiful poem! There was an album called Breakaway Praise that Peter Jacobs put out. It had Bruce Caroll on it, and a group called Two Hearts, and I recorded that song for that album. I did a studio version of "Peace." And we also wrote together "Hope's Desire," which is on Backroom Trax 5; and it's on the Time collection. And we also wrote a song called "On Eagle's Wings," which is on Backroom Trax 6. Geri and I sing it together; she had come down to visit. Now she lives here.

Do your performing and writing interact at all? Do the songs change as you perform them, or are they pretty much finished creations once you bring them to an audience?

No, they do kind of change. They take on different character. I've done different versions of "Time" [from Love Broke Thru] in concert; I've done different versions of "Doin' Nothin'". I've done a different version of "Don't Pass Me By;" you know, real band-oriented songs. Even, "World of Mine." I've changed the arrangements around of a few different songs; and some of them are pretty much exactly as I recorded them. You have to do them in such a way that makes them work. There's a lot of tunes!

Do you have your audience in mind when you're writing? Like, do you think, "I'm going to write this song to try to please my fans," or "I'll write this song to try to please my family?"

Yeah, oh yes. I'll write a simple tune because I know that simple melodies stay in the heart. You don't too often hear somebody going around singing "Sounds;" it's not that kind of a song! But you may hear someone singing "Love Divine," or "Everywhere I Look," which actually was a Phil Madeira composition that he wrote for me [both tunes appear on Crimson and Blue]. When Alicia and I wrote "Father Daughter Harmony" [from Way Back Home], Bernadette went out with a couple of her friends, and I said, "Alicia, let's write a song that's memorable, that's simple and that's for us, from us to each other and a message for the world, for families." And it came really quickly. So we had that in mind---not just us ourselves, but other families.

Do a lot of your songs come quickly, or do you have to rewrite a lot when you are writing?

Actually, when I'm left to myself---and I'm not saying that I'm closed to criticism; everyone needs criticism, constructively---I can write and finish a song. I do hone them a bit. For instance, I have a song called "I Have Days Like You" I wrote recently, and I did the vocal more like the way some of the modern songs are. I was trying an adaption of my voice in a different sort of style or vein. My wife said, "Oh, that's fun; but why don't you redo the vocal and do it the way that you sing?" So I did it that way! Then, I wrote a song just last week called "I'll Chase The Bad Away." I did a vocal that's kind of Doors-ish. I listened to it and entertained myself with the way I sang it. And then I said, "Okay, now I'm going to go down..." And I did a submix of the music so I had the tracks to do it, and I did it the way I sing.

What were you most happy with?

I like the worked version; but it's like putting on a costume a little bit.

It's more intimate in your own voice?

Yeah, it's more honest. And so I bring it around to be that in the long run. Some of Sunday's Child is "putting on a costume;" the way I sing some of the stuff on there.

Sure; "Big Eraser" is like that.

I think my most honest singing is on...

Way Back Home?

...Way Back Home, and Find Me In These Fields. I think the way I sang on Find Me In These Fields is me. And I think some of True Believer is very unlike me, naturally. Like, the way I sang on "Only You (Can Wash My Sins Away)" is the way my producer, Alan Shacklock, wanted me to sing. He wanted me to sing with more emotion, he wanted me to sing with more vibrato. But then the way I sang "Don't Let Go Of My Heart" is the way I sing; that's me. "True Believer" is me. For "The Survivor," he wanted more of a gentler approach to how I sang the song, to communicate more of the emotion of it. At first I wasn't sure of it; but it grew on me.

Yeah, that cut came across really well.

Yeah, I think it did.

It's a very powerful way to end that album.

He was very impressed with my original version of that...

It's very close---except, obviously, for the electric coda---to the version on Underground.

Yeah. Working with Alan was a challenge for me. The hardest song for me to sing on that was "Wild Heart," because he used as a guide the man who wrote the lyrics, Randy Holland. He was actually on the track; he came in and did a guide vocal because I didn't know the song. I was not sure that that was me; I was a little concerned. But now I enjoy doing that song in concert. So it's a matter of me letting whatever I do grow on me so I can come around to own it in a sense.

What's sitting in your CD player right now, just to give us some idea of what you're listening to lately?

I would have Vaughan-Williams; somewhere I would have the music of Vaughan-Williams. I recently picked up a CD that's very rare called Film Music; he did some soundtracks for British films in the mid 1940s.

I had no idea he did that kind of stuff.

Yeah, and it's terrific. One of my very favorite albums that I have of Vaughan-Williams is The Quartets; there are two different quartets on it, and a quintet. One of them I've adapted for a new song of mine that I did last month called "Ralph's Peace" [Ralph, pronounced "Rafe," is British composer Vaughan-Williams' first name]. It's an adaptation of his melody. "Ralph's Peace" is my working title for it.

When I saw you in September you did a piece with the JamMan that you said was one of his melodies, and I've been going to friends who are Vaughan-Williams fans, and playing the melody for them, and nobody knows what it is. I was wondering what it was.

It wasn't on Beyond Nature?

No; it wasn't "I Feel The Winds Of God Today." It went, ... [hums melody; plays intro on guitar]

That's it!

What's that one? Where does that come from?

That's one of the movements in the quintet; and I don't even know if it has a title.

That was just gorgeous; that was one of the magic moments in that show for me.

I did a demo of it with drums, bass, and two guitars, like a gentle Holdworth/Weather Report kind of thing, and if I do an instrumental album next, that's going to be on it, hopefully.

What else have I been listening to? You know, I try this and that. I listen to different things. I like The Chieftans. Bernadette is putting in Christmas CDs already, now and then.

Are there any contemporary guitarists that you like? A lot of your fans are also fans of people like Martin Simpson...

Oh, I like Martin Simpson a lot!

Yeah, he's one of my favorites.

I like the When I Was On Horseback album.

Gorgeous.

In fact, I wrote a piece called "Legacy," and it's inspired partly by him, and partly by Hedges. It's a C tuning---did you ever see me do a C tuning song in concert?

No!

A lot of tapping... I sent copies of all this stuff to John Schroeter [who runs the Phil Keaggy Club], a lot of the new stuff, and he's got it. ["Legacy" has since been released by the Phil Keaggy Club on Acoustic Sketches.]

He's done such a great job, not just with your newsletter and the Club; but Fingerstyle Guitar Magazine is wonderful, it's incredible. [John Schroeter also publishes, edits, and writes for Fingerstyle Guitar Magazine, and runs John August Music, which publishes acoustic guitar music, including Phil Keaggy Acoustic Solos.]

He's one of the gems out there, I think; he's one of the real gifted people in this music genre of ours.

But back to some of my influences, or people I enjoy today...

Some other artists people were asking about were Pierre Bensusan...

Yeah, he's great.

...or Al Petteway....

Yeah, I've got the new Fingerstyle Guitar CD, and I think he's on there. Boy, these guys are terrific! I love it! You know, there's a lot of unsung heroes out there. Fortunately, thanks to John Schroeter... he wants these people to get heard, because they're not popular or household names, but they're terrific players. They deserve the credit, where it's been given to me, for instance, in the Guitar Player Magazine polls and all that. I don't deserve that at all. Not to be falsely modest about it; but it's the truth.

Some of them claim you as an influence! One person that comes to mind is Brooks Williams, who I just saw here [in Ithaca, NY] recently...

Really?

Yeah; seeing one of your live concerts was one of the things that pushed him over the edge into wanting to be a performer himself. I don't know if you know his music---yeah, you've met him, I think.

Yeah, we played up in Vermont together; he's really good. I think what happens is, people get an idea of what I am by the albums, and they go, "Well, I don't get it; what's the big deal?" But then they may come to a concert where I am fortunate to have a good night or an inspiring night, and they go, "Well, I've never heard this on the records!" So that's where it is. I'm free to be inspired at the moment. I have had some down times. There was a Columbia Bible College concert I did a couple years ago the day after I was in the studio all night with "Father Daughter Harmony," staying up all night trying to use up the studio time. I lost sleep, I didn't get any rest, so my concert really suffered for it; people were disappointed.

How conciously are you influenced by other artists? Do you try to emulate them, or is just an osmosis thing?

Yeah, it's more of an osmosis thing; the sponge concept. We are what we eat, we are what we take in.

You were a friend and a recording colleague of Mark Heard, right?

Yes; uh huh.

I thought his recent passing was so ironic, because it happened just as his career was finally starting to take off. He was getting some airplay in secular markets, with songs appearing on folk compilations.

Yeah; it's really a crying shame, because now he's not around any more. I'm glad that now he's being appreciated in a greater degree, for he was a wonderfully gifted songwriter.

Another artist that you work with who I happen to like and so wanted to ask you about is Bob Bennett. I had heard that you played some role in his conversion.

Yeah, he mentioned the Love Broke Thru album was a real influence in his life at the time. And I played on one of his albums.

Yes! The last one, Songs From Bright Avenue...

...which was a great album.

It really is. It's one of my favorite albums. It seems to me to have gone unappreciated.

Your Play Thru Me album had these really cool liner notes describing the origins of the songs. It's clear from that that you have a whole bunch of techniques you use when you write songs: some have lyrics first; some have a bass line first.... Do you have a favorite technique that you use, one that's most successful to you or most comfortable for you? Or is it just different for every song?

I think the most memorable songs---the ones that last the longest, and seem to work the best in concert for just an average listener, a person who likes songs and doesn't care about technique---are ones that came lyric first, because the lyrics were significant to stand on their own. But then there's another way of putting a tune together sometimes that came about in concert, and I kept an idea in mind that was inspired. So I'll take that idea, and I'll come home and I'll write a song. It'll turn into a song that's more of a fun tune to listen to.

Just some groove you got going in an improvisation? [Photo: Phil, 1981]

Yeah. Remember "Wished You Were There" [from Town To Town], the Glass Harp reference song? Well, that came about while we were doing our first reunion concert in 1981. Onstage at the soundcheck I started going... [hums riff to "Wished You Were There"]. I had that in my head, and I ended up writing a tune to it, not thinking it would ever be recorded, because I just wrote it for me and my friends---like Stacy! [Stacy is mentioned in the song.]

Do you have any formal music training? Do you know how to read, or do you know any theory? Do you think that's useful stuff?

I think it's quite useful, and I think it's very beneficial; but I can't read. I was moving too fast, or the train was moving too fast for me to hop on it. But I have a book I picked up recently called How To Learn To Read Music. It's like learning a language. Maybe in time....

Yeah, definitely; it's something I'm struggling with, too, at the moment.

I've been playing by ear all my life, so it's not easy to teach an old dog new tricks! But if I were able to do it well, then I could write parts out and let players play them; hear a part for a cello, and say, "here...". For instance, when I did Find Me In These Fields, I invited John Catchings in the studio, he brought his cello...

Oh yeah; he plays with Michael Card.

Right, and he stands on his own as a great musician. He recorded a wonderful album some years ago [Joy In The Journey, a 1989 instrumental release on Sparrow Records]. For Find Me In These Fields, I just sang the parts to him that I heard. And I sang the flute parts to Susan Kricher, who played on "Wedding In The Country Manor" [from The Master And The Musician]. I just sang those parts to her, and she just played them. I heard it in my head, and they did it, and it was great. But it would save time if I could write it out. Tom Howard, for instance, is very good, very talented. [Howard arranged parts for some of the songs on Way Back Home.]

Oh, he has beautiful arrangements.

Yeah! An album that shouldn't go unnoticed is A Hidden Passage.

I don't have any of his albums, but I have some of the Colours compilations that have cuts of his on them, and they're the best cuts on those albums.

Yup. All your readers should seek out and find The Hidden Passage by Tom Howard. It's highly recommended; it's a timeless album, really. Tom has been prolific in scoring music these days as well.

In some of your songs, you take on another character's identity, like in "Noah's Song;" or you tell the story of another character, like in "When The Wild Winds Blow." Are you trying to avoid being too confessional? What is it that attracts you to that kind of a song?

Well, I read about people's lives, and I read about what happens to people; and it could happen to any one of us. I think it's important for us to identify with the sufferings of other people. I think, if anything, I tend to be too uncreative with my lyrics. I think there are people who write songs and tell stories of people's lives that are like reading little stories. Sometimes, like in "When The Wild Winds Blow" or in "Find Me In These Fields," I'm trying to identify with people who have made mistakes, because I've made mistakes. Some people have paid more dearly for their mistakes. And how it affects peoples lives... I think we just need to be in touch with the suffering of others. Sometimes I'm fortunate to be able to pen it. I couldn't pen the lyrics to "It Could've Been Me" [on the 1994 re-release of Way Back Home]; that was given to me. Actually, Sheila Walsh wrote those words. I think that's one of the most powerful songs I've ever sung, because it could be; anyone could take a nosedive, unless you walk in obedience to God and try to do his will, and just be faithful and obedient.

That's definitely one song I've spent quite a bit of time trying to figure out. It's a great tune. Some of your accompaniment reminds me a lot of Bruce Cockburn.

Well, I wrote that song with his style in mind. I love his music!

He's incredible.

Yeah, and his old albums are timeless. Sunwheel Dance and Joy Comes In The Morning, is it?

I don't know that one...

In The Falling Dark, High Winds, White Sky is it?

I've mostly been listening to his later stuff...

Well, his old stuff... you must listen to the old stuff, because you'll say, "Oh, gee, where was I when this stuff was put out?" His first album was 1969 or 1970, and he's got a tune called "Thoughts On A Rainy Afternoon" that any songwriter should listen to. Just an incredible song. On his recent album, Dart To The Heart, there's a song in rememberance of Mark Heard ["Closer to the Light"].

You were just mentioning "Find Me In These Fields." In that song, and quite a number of your songs---"Calling You," for example---you leave room for interpretation [both songs are from Find Me In These Fields]. It's not clear what specific thing has happened to the character, what they're worried about. Is that something you do intentionally, or is there something very specific you wanted the listener to leave with when they hear that kind of song?

I think it's just that sense of poverty of heart, where you feel, "Lord, this human condition that I and everybody else seem to be dealing with---where else can we go but to you?" I think it's the cry of every heart that's hungry for good and for righteousness and for the Lord himself. That's what these songs are meant to do, because they're not good-time rock-n-roll tunes; they're songs that call and address the hunger and the longing within each one of us. Like, I imagined in the song "Calling You" the whole idea of inside, "in my mind's eye," deep down inside. That's inside of me. Then, outside of me, through the window pane, is someone who is, in a lot of ways, just like me: cold, and lonely. I think that's why.... "World Of Mine" [on Crimson and Blue] addresses that thing. There are certain songs that you can link all together and go, "I think Phil is trying to identify, in his humanity, with other people." I don't think I'm known for that. I think I'm known for writing nice, simple, evangelical lyrics. But I make slight attempts to be a bit deeper than that. And to be deeper doesn't mean to be obscure; and I'm not trying to be obscure. But... "His Master's Voice" [on Play Thru Me] is a self-portrait of my doubts about myself, and my feelings of incompetence and inadequacy. I'm embarassed by myself sometimes. I remember I used to sing with my eyes closed a lot more than I do now...

That sounds like me!

Yeah! It's not always easy to sing with your eyes wide open, having people staring at you. Sometimes if you just lose yourself in God, it's when you're the most free. When people say, "I need to find myself," I think if they really search and find themselves, they may be quite disappointed. It's in finding God that we know ourselves. "Once I Prayed" reflects that, off of Way Back Home: "I want to take a good look at myself, show me myself..." It's when I say, "Show me thyself;" that's when the change takes place. That's because then you are an object of love, and you're not.... We can only learn to love ourselves if we love God; you know what I'm saying? Because in loving God, we learn to love ourselves and our neighbor. Charles Colson wrote a good book called Loving God that addresses that.

I wanted to ask you about the different roles instrumental and vocal music play for you, as a listener and as a writer. Do they fill different needs for you, or are they all part of the same thing?

I think they fill different needs. There are days when I don't talk as much; days I talk less than I'm talking now! And there are days when I feel quite vocal. There are days I don't feel very vocal; I feel more pensive. I'm quieter and I just play. There are times when I don't like to be center stage! [laughs] I like to be a sideman, actually.

Your instrumental tune, "Golden Halls," from The Master And The Musician---you put a lyric to that on Backroom Trax 4.

Yeah. That song was originally written as a lyric song.

That's a gorgeous melody; it really stands on its own.

Thank you! Thanks.

But the sung version, too, is really nice; and the solo at the end is very emotional.

Yeah, it is. It's like the solo at the end of "D.E.B.R.A." [on Backroom Trax 3].

Yeah, that one too! Both of those---those are two of my favorite Backroom Trax cuts.

Oh thanks! I should be making a list of your favorites!

I'll send you one! So "Beyond The Screen;" was that a reference to some of the shows you did where you had Compassion International slide presentations? [Phil sponsors children through the Christian child care organization, Compassion International.]

I actually wrote that song before I met Compassion International people. I wrote that when I watched a World Vision program.

So "Beyond The TV Screen"...

Yeah. I wrote that in 1977 or 1978, originally; a long time ago.

I've also heard you in concert do "Evensong" [from The Master And The Musician], which is another one of my favorites of your melodies, and then add on to the end a lyric, "As The Days Are Going By."

Yeah, that originally was a vocal song. I wrote that from a book of poems.

So that's not your lyric?

No, that's not my lyric. It was anonymous, as I remember; but I could be wrong. There was a bit in "Suite Of Reflections" [also from The Master And The Musician] that was from another poem called "Plant A Tree," which is a popular old poem. I'd write music to poems that would inspire music. Then I ended up going into the studio with these as nuggets of melodies. So "Golden Halls," and "Evensong" were two established songs that I had written before I went to do The Master And The Musician---which probably makes up for the 25% preplanned for the album! There may have been another one on there; "Wedding In The Country Manor" was written for a friend's wedding, Peter and Nina Hopper's wedding. It was originally called, "Procession Of The Hoppers," but...

I have to thank you for my first public solo performance, which was of "Here And Now," at my sister's wedding!

Oh, really! Good!

On my Olson, too; I probably almost looked like you up there!

How about that! Great. Wonderful guitars, Olsons. They really are. [Photo: Phil with an Olson guitar]

I wanted to ask you a bit about the emotional content of your writing, because for me there's an emotional theme in a lot of your writing. The only word I would have for it is "joy;" and it's the most cherished aspect of your music to me. I don't mean a joyfulness just in the sense of being happy, although some of your songs are jubilant, like "What A Day." But there's kind of a bittersweet edge to the joyfulness of your music sometimes. It's like the joy that C. S. Lewis writes about in his book [Surprised By Joy]. I forget exactly how he put it: that joy is not so much posessing a pleasure or happiness, but the desiring of something greater than ourselves....

He calls it "longing."

Yeah, this "inconsolable longing". That really comes through to me in your music.

Yeah, it's not in the having; it's in the desiring for that we really find the joy. That's why heaven can be a joy, because even though we don't posess it yet, it can posess us. And joy can posess us without us necessarily feeling happy. So there's a difference between happiness and joy. Joy is deeper, it has an element of contentment to it.

Yeah, apart from whatever your outer situation may be.

Right. Exactly.

I was wondering if you conciously seek to create that emotion when you write, and if there are particular techniques or tools that you use---favorite types of chords or scales that you use---to convey that emotion. Or is it just an unconcious thing?

I think that's something that's, first of all, been genetically passed on to me. I think because of, in some ways, my Irish roots, there's something about that.... When I hear an Irish melody, I go, "Why does that stir something in me?" It might have something to do with something that's generations and generations old. Because people's personalities and temperaments, and their mannerisms and everything, are passed from generation to generation. I think there are some things that are unseen, unspoken, unidentifiable in a sense, that I think can be passed from generation to generation; good and bad. And I think that there are certain kinds of melodies that just seem to come out in me. There's a certain moment in "March Of The Clouds" [on The Wind And The Wheat] where it takes off in the middle bit...

Yeah, it goes up a half a step and then....

Yeah, but after that... [hums the start of the solo near the end] it goes to another chord. There's a thing that happens in me, when I play that, that has a way of expressing some kind of joy. And then at the same time, there's the more melancholy expression of it on "When Night Falls" [on Beyond Nature]. It's the same thing.

I just wrote a song a few weeks ago called "Joy In The Morning." It opens up with... here, I've got the guitar here, I'll show you. It's got a similar ring to it from "When Night Falls," and it's actually a combination of the feelings of both "Prayer," off of The Wind And The Wheat, and "When Night Falls." Of course, this is "When Night Falls:" [plays opening melody to song]. But this one goes... [plays theme of "Joy In The Morning"].

Ooo!

[plays part of the song, sometimes humming along with the melody.] And then it's got a middle bit that goes... [plays]

Ooo, a little "Beatle-esque".

Yeah. [continues to play and hum.] Actually, when the bass is on it, it's got a D in the bass, which would... [continues to play]. So that's the main thing; but it actually opens up with this as an intro theme: [plays the introductory theme]. And that is reminiscent of "Suite Of Reflections." Then it goes... [plays the riff adapted from "When Night Falls" that started the discussion]. It's slower, of course....

Wow, I can't wait to hear this new stuff; it sounds great.

I'm fairly certain it will be on the forthcoming album.

I'll sometimes try to learn a piece from your records and then show it to some of my guitarist friends, and they often comment on the extent to which standard guitar cliches and idioms are absent from much of your music. You have an extremely unique voice---very unique chord fingerings and voicings you come up with; unique melodies with large intervals. How did you develop so unique a voice? Do you just have these sounds in your head that you work out on the guitar?

I think you just have to get old! [laughter] You know, if you hang around long enough, something is bound to be unique to you as an individual. I don't set out to be different; I actually just do what comes to me. For instance, on "Epilogue/Amazing Grace" [on the re-release of The Master And The Musician], which is in an alternate tuning---that just sort of has a way of lending itself. I think if you go into alternate tunings, you're bound to come up with something that's kind of unique, if you have melody in your head and your heart.

[A phone call interrupts the conversation.]

Tom, I've got to go. We can probably resume this at some later date.

I'd love to do that. You've given me much more time than I ever expected, but I still have a page of questions.

Just give me a call. I've enjoyed talking to you; it's been good for me, too.

Oh, it's just been an incredible privilege. Let me make one more remark, and that's to tell you that what I most admire, seeing you live---and also it really came through to me on your videos---is that you have an incredible transparency when you're playing. It's almost like you're the instrument, instead of the guitar---you give yourself over to the music. To see that in someone has completely changed my own playing and the way I listen to music. Now, giving yourself to me in this interview... I just really appreciate it, and I'm sure your fans will enjoy reading some of this, too.

Well, good. Do say, "Phil says hi" to everyone.

I will.

Tom, we'll be in touch.

We will!

Bye.

Bye.


Postscript

After the interview, Phil asked that the following "postscript" be added...

I wish to acknowlege and thank many people: friends, producers, record labels, managers, musicians, poets, authors, pastors, teachers, recording engineers, bookstores, record stores, distributors, artists, photographers, road managers, guitar techs, bus drivers, and especially my wife Bernadette, our children, my extended family, and most especially God in Heaven for his grace and provisions to me and mine these many years since the beginning of my days upon this earth.

God bless you all with all that is good!

Sincerely,
Phil Keaggy
2/25/96

© Copyright 1996 by Phil Keaggy and Tom Loredo.

Back to Way Back Home...