Thursday, March 30, 2017

GUITAR GODS: Phil Keaggy

This is abnother of our "Lost Interviews" from 2008. This one is the amazing Phil Keaggy! Honored to have the opportunity to share this one again!

Be sure to visit Phil on-line at his web-site.

Monday, 05 May 2008 23:49
Johnny Carson: "Jimi, how does it feel to be the world's greatest guitar player?"

Jimi Hendrix: "I don't know, you'll have to ask Phil Keaggy."

This story is not true, it's one of those persistent myths. Another version is Dick Cavett speaking to Eric Clapton, and another still of Eddie Van Halen responding to a Guitar Player Magazine writer after he won the "Overall Best Guitarist" award in the early 1980s. Phil Keaggy himself brushes it off: "I don't think there is anything to it at all. I doubt that Jimi ever heard me play..." and other such statements.

But why on Earth would such a myth continue?

The simplest answer is because it's something any of them might well have said. Phil Keaggy is not a household name, but among guitarists he is considered legend, with dazzling technical skills, boundless imagination, and a humble spirit. His career has spanned some 4 decades - from his garage band days in the 1960s to his Glass Harp days in the early 1970s touring with bands like Iron Butterfly, Traffic, Chicago, Yes, and others, to being a hired gun in the late 70s to signing with Contemporary Christian label Sparrow Records in 1980 (and the release of his first Dove Award winning album "The Wind and the Wheat") to his loop-inspired live jams in the 1990s to the reunion of Glass Harp in this decade.

PhilKeaggy hangs with the best musicians in the world. He's jammed with Paul McCartney and played gigs with Muriel Anderson, Tommy Emmanuel, Randy Stonehill, Jason Truby, and others..and along the way pulled down SEVEN Doves and several Grammy nominations.

Wow! You can learn more about him, listen to his music, keep up with tour dates, and more at his web-site, PhilKeaggy.Com

I had a chance to speak briefly with Phil recently. Check it out!


1) What are your current projects?

I have a new instrumental CD coming out in a few months called Phantasmagorical. It is my Master and The Musician of the new millennium. It is a very deep project with many textures and melodies.

Also, coming out in the near future is a rock album I did with CCM veteran Randy Stonehill called Meet Clarence Oddbody. It is a total flashback to the 60s stylistically. It also has some Sunday's Child (1988) overtones. Currently I am on tour with a 7 piece band performing The Master and The Musician album. It is the 30 years later tour. I am playing with really great musicians: Ric Hordinski, Tom Shinness, John Sferra, Joel Jiminez, Melissa and Bryan Lautenbach.

2) How does this (do these) differ from your past work?

Actually, my new releases are reminiscent of my past releases, but obviously new material. I like to move on to fresh places and at the same time quote the good moments from the past.

3) Do you have one project that you are most proud of as a guitarist?

I have a few that really stand out. They would include The Master and The Musician, Beyond Nature and The Wind and The Wheat. The new CD Phantasmagorical would be right up there with the others mentioned.

4) Can you give our readers a run-down of your basic gear (live and/or studio), and do you have a favorite piece of gear?

On tour, I'm playing an Olson acoustic guitar, a Gibson Les Paul, a Ramirez classical, a Langejans acoustic guitar and a Brunner 12 string guitar. I'm playing through an old black face Princeton Reverb amp. It really sounds sweet!

As far as effects go, I am playing electric through a Boss Bassman pedal, a Visual Sound Route 66 and a Line 6 DL4 pedal. My acoustic is going through a Peavey 2 channel multi processor, a Lexicon Jamman, Boss peadals Tremelo and Dimension C.

Sometimes I'll play solo dates through all of this gear or just the Line 6 DL4. Sometimes--nothing at all but a DI.

When I record at home, my present recording system is a Digi Design Pro Tools LE 002. I have very simple mic pres and Mackie self powered monitors. I have various outboard gear as well that I've held on to for the last 28 years.
Keaggy Live
I still have my old Zion Guitar--the white one and a Parker Fly, an old Fender Strat, and my brother Dave's Gretch Anniversary Model.

Recently I was given a cool strat type guitar called --now get this --Jesus Praiseworthy guitar! No kidding-It sounds great.

I also use an old Vox AC 30 in the studio as well as an old Deluxe Reverb amp. Once in awhile I'll use the Line 6 Pod for various tones. I find use for all these instruments.

My bass is an old Gibson G3 (Ripper). I use as well a Yamaha fretless.

5) Who would you cite as early influences, and who are you favorite new players?

Scotty Moore, James Burton, George Harrison, Paul McCartney, Michael Bloomfield, Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, John Renbourn, Anthony Phillips. There are so many - Holdsworth, Metheny, Martin Simpson, Eric Johnson, Michael Hedges--the list really just goes on..........

6) Can you give a few tips to aspiring players?

Keep playing--don't stop!

7) What are your future plans?

Get off the road!

8) Thanx for talking to us, Phil

Thank you. Blessings.
If you'd like to support my work...


  1. Saw Phil Keaggy last night in MN. I can remember 4 or 5 times since I started going to concerts in the early '70s that I caught myself thinking; "I can't believe I'm sitting here seeing this!". Last night was one of those times!

  2. Saw him play on main street in girard ohio when I was a kid

  3. Caught Phil (2) nights running, fair recently, in Egan, MN. Good as two wholly different shows, short of 2-3 crowd favorites he shared early before going into largely Instrumentals, 2Nd eve. Such not ‘the norm’. SO good to hear, the many early years; including especially, ‘The Wind And The Wheat’!

    SO MANY Tunes in half some Century and my last hearing that much, “Wind ‘n‘ Wheat” since year it was first Recorded. “Sunday’s Child’; bit with Stonehill, out fair near same time. SO many Styles, SO MANY Guitars fare well ‘Mastered’... and past decades, all the more Recordings with Friends...

    WAS so GOOD, the recent (2) nights runnin’... like said, good as (2) different gigs, no ‘repetition’. Phil’s SO MANY Gems to choose from AND yet busy, even yet, much composing. So much YET leaps/flows nimbly from his fingers. SO very much ‘in his head’.

    Music, an obvious Joy to Him.
    As well... so good to hear, Phil, in MN ; )!