The first music review for 2009 will be an album from a Christian musician I have been a fan of since the middle 70’s. The musician known as Phil Keaggy is also noted as one of the best guitarists in the world. To know Phil Keaggy is to also know some of the many urban legends created about him. Several rumors have circulated about Phil Keaggy and whether or not he had been observed by the guitar god Jimi Hendrix. The rumor begins with an interview of Hendrix on Johnny Carson or Dick Cavett where he was asked what it’s like to be considered the greatest guitarist in the world. The rumored response from Hendrix was “I don’t know, you should go ask Phil Keaggy.” Keaggy has stated that even though he did record with his old band Glass Harp at Hendrix’s Electric Lady Studios, it was well after Hendrix’s death in England. Another rumor that has circulated about Keaggy is the one about the middle finger on his left hand. If you’ve ever seen Keaggy perform you would notice that half of this middle finger is missing. The wildest rumor supposedly occured prior to his conversion to Christianity. The legend says that in a drunken stupor he wanted to prove he was the world’s best guitarist and cut the finger off himself. There are many variations as to just how he did this finger execution. Keaggy busted all those rumors many years ago. I found this video the other day where he describes what really happened to his middle finger.
Phillip Tyler Keaggy began playing guitar at age ten in his parents small farmhouse in Hubbard, Ohio on a Sears Silvertone guitar. He has frequently been listed as the top 3 “fingerstyle” as well as “fingerpicking” guitarist by Guitar Player Magazine. I received my first exposure to this masterful virtuoso guitarist while listening to a live recording of The Second Chapter of Acts, a contemporary Christian group that consisted of Matthew Ward and his sisters Ann and Nelly. Phil Keaggy has recorded, by Wikipedia count, 47 records spanning over 35 years. When I purchased his 1978 album “The Master and the Musician” I was totally hooked on Phil Keaggy. Since then I have collected only a small portion of his many recordings.