Guitar Gallows Bio Information - Phil Keaggy
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Philip Tyler Keaggy (born March 23, 1951 in Youngstown, Ohio) is an American acoustic and electric guitarist and vocalist who has released more than 50 albums and contributed to many more recordings in both the contemporary Christian music and mainstream markets. He is a seven-time recipient of the GMA Dove Award for Instrumental Album of the Year, and was twice nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rock Gospel Album. He has frequently been listed as one of the world's top-3 "fingerstyle" as well as "fingerpicking" guitarists by Guitar Player Magazine readers' polls.
During a career that has spanned over four decades, Phil Keaggy has carved out a unique niche for himself in both the contemporary Christian and mainstream pop music worlds. His virtuosity on guitar has earned him wide admiration among aficionados of the instrument. It might be argued that his audience would be larger if his exceptional talents were applied to making records for a secular market. Nevertheless, Keaggy has remained true to his spiritual focus ever since becoming a solo artist, stretching the boundaries of Christian music over the course of some 26 albums.
Truly a deeply melodic, spiritual writer - Keaggy's music and guitar playing cannot help but reflect the soulful message and beliefs this consummate artist holds dear to his heart and shares with his audience.
Phil began his recording career as member of band Glass Harp, 1970; released first solo album, What A Day, on New Song, 1974; released first all-instrumental album, The Master And The Musician, 1978; recorded for Sparrow and Nissi labels, 1980-86; released landmark album The Wind & The Wheat on Maranatha Music/Myrrh, 1987; released further albums on Myrrh, Word/Epic, Sparrow and Canis Major labels, 1989-97; as singer/songwriter, recorded Phil Keaggy CD in 1998; reunited with Glass Harp in 2000; released Strings Attached, 2000; reunited again to release Hourglass, 2003.
Phil Keaggy has won Dove Awards for Instrumental Album of the Year, for The Wind & The Wheat, 1988; Beyond Nature, 1992; Invention, 1998; Acoustic Sketches,1999; Majesty and Wonder, 2000; Lights of Madrid, 2001; and Hymnsongs, 2003; Dove Award for Children's Music Album of the Year, for Sing Me to Sleep Daddy, 1998; Dove Awards for Special Event Album of the Year for Prayer of Jabez, 2002, and City on a Hill---Sing Alleluia, 2003.
Keaggy's mastery of the guitar transcends categories, Christian or otherwise. His acoustic playing is particularly fluent, utilizing unusual open tunings and deft fingerpicking. As his career has progressed, he has incorporated sampling and layering effects to extend his capabilities in concert. There are flashes of classic folk, baroque and jazz fusion in his approach that, taken together, make his style distinctly his own. As a songwriter, Keaggy has taken melodic inspiration from the Beatles and other secular pop/rock artists, as well as from Irish and American folk sources. His lyrics, rooted in Christian themes and Biblical references, touch upon spiritual struggles with a positive emphasis.
Keaggy's musical path has led him from mainstream rock 'n' roll into a secure place in contemporary Christian music. Slowly over the past several decades, he has begun to win fans among secular listeners. But, as he has repeatedly made clear in interviews, his commitment to spreading his spiritual message has not diminished with time. "The gift of music is not only something that you share with other people, it's something that you give back to your creator," he told Tom Gannaway in an interview for Fingerstyle Guitar. "To me, it has to express love and the gratitude that's in your heart, because that's ultimately what we're created to do. As it says in the book of Isaiah, 'The people whom I have formed for myself shall declare my praise.' That's the foremost reason I am a Christian musician."