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Phil Keaggy Bio

"Phil Keaggy", born March 23, 1951, is a guitarist. He was raised in a small farmhouse in Hubbard, Ohio with nine brothers and sisters, and began playing guitar at age 10, on a Sears Silvertone guitar. In spite of the fact that he is missing the middle finger on his right hand due to a childhood accident involving a water pump, Keaggy is considered by many to be one of the best guitarists in the world, frequently listed as one of the top fingerstyle guitarists by ''Guitar Player Magazine'' readers' polls.

Keaggy began playing music professionally in the late 1960s with drummer John Sferra. The two longtime friends formed a band called Glass Harp. The band was signed to Decca Records and began to open for such artists as Iron Butterfly, Yes, Traffic (band)|Traffic and Chicago. At one point, guitarist Joe Walsh had considered joining the band.

In February 1970, Phil's mother was involved in a fatal car accident. He was heavily involved in drugs at the time, but his sister Ellen took the time to tell him about finding peace in Jesus, and Phil began a new life as a Christian.

Keaggy left Glass Harp in 1972, and released his first solo album the following year, entitled ''What A Day''. Keaggy married his wife Bernadette the following summer. He then took a brief vacation from recording on his own and only toured in support of other artists, like 2nd Chapter of Acts, Paul Clark, and Nancy Honeytree. Keaggy returned in 1976 with ''Love Broke Thru'', which included his cover of the Randy Stonehill/Keith Green/Todd Fishkind song of the same name. The summer of 1977 saw Keaggy on an 18-city tour of the western United States with 2nd Chapter of Acts and "a band called David". This was captured in the live triple album ''How the West Was One''. 1977 also featured the only release of the Phil Keaggy Band, ''Emerging''. In 1978, Keaggy released his first critically acclaimed instrumental album entitled ''Master and the Musician''.

The Keaggy family then moved to Kansas City, Missouri. Their first daughter, Alicia, was born soon after in March of 1980. Their second daughter, Olivia, was born on Valentine's Day, 1984, and in 1987, the Keaggys celebrated the birth of their son, Ian. Keaggy was signed to the Contemporary Christian music label Myrrh Records in the 1980s, where he released a string of albums including ''Town To Town'', ''Ph'lip Side'' and ''Play Thru Me''.

In 1988, Keaggy won his very first Dove Award for his second instrumental project, ''The Wind and the Wheat''. Keaggy's second Dove Award came in 1992 for his Celtic-influenced, ''Beyond Nature''. From 1998 to 2001, Keaggy has dominated the "Instrumental Record" category in the Dove Awards, winning awards for ''Invention'', ''Acoustic Sketches'', ''Majesty and Wonder'', and ''Lights of Madrid''.

In 1989, Keaggy teamed up with Randy Stonehill, Russ Taff, Derri Daugherty, Mark Heard, Steve Taylor and other musicians to create ''Phil Keaggy and Sunday's Child'', a tribute of sorts to 1960s bands like The Beatles. A few years later, Keaggy would perform at former Beatle Paul McCartney's sister-in-law's wedding. After the wedding, Keaggy fulfilled a lifelong dream by jamming with McCartney in a hotel room.

In 1994, Keaggy released ''Crimson and Blue'', a bluesy rock album that included a cover of Van Morrison's "When Will I Ever Learn to Live in God". That album was also remixed and reissued as ''Blue'', with the added Badfinger cover "Baby Blue". Keaggy enlisted his old friend John Sferra of Glass Harp for the tour that followed. (The tour also featured Wade Jaynes from Chagall Guevara on bass and Phil Madeira on hammond organ.)

As of 2004, Keaggy continues to record and tour heavily, and has moved back to Ohio with his family.

Rumors have followed Keaggy for years that Jimi Hendrix had supposedly named him as his answer to the question "who is the best guitarist in the world?" while making an appearance on ''the Tonight Show''. Sometimes the rumor is that it was Eric Clapton, or that it was on the Dick Cavett show. Keaggy himself thinks that these rumors are probably not true, but due to the fact that many of these shows did not keep archives of all of their early shows, it is nearly impossible to either confirm or disprove the rumor completely. Some fans have claimed to have seen the show in question, but to date, no one has presented a tape or any kind of evidence to confirm it. Snopes has an article regarding the "Tonight Show" appearance.


* ''What A Day'', 1973 debut album
* ''Love Broke Thru'', 1976 album
* ''Emerging'' Phil Keaggy Band, 1977 album
* ''How the West Was One'' (with 2nd Chapter of Acts and "a band called David") 1977 live album
* ''Song In The Air'' Phil Keaggy and Glass Harp, 1977 album
* ''The Master and the Musician'', 1978 instrumental album
* ''Town To Town'', 1980 album
* ''Ph'lip Side'', 1981 album
* ''Play Thru Me'', 1982 album
* ''The Wind and the Wheat'', 1987 instrumental album
* ''Prime Cuts'', 1987 "best of" album
* ''Phil Keaggy and Sunday's Child'', 1988 album
* ''Find Me In These Fields'', 1990 album
* ''Beyond Nature'', 1991 instrumental album
* ''Revelator'', 1993 ep
* ''Blue'', 1994 album
* ''Crimson and Blue'', 1993 album
* ''Way Back Home'', 1994 album
* ''True Believer'', 1995 album
* ''Time, Volume 2'', [1995 album
* ''220'', 1996 instrumental album
* ''Acoustic Sketches'', 1996 instrumental album
* ''On The Fly'', 1997 instrumental album
* ''Invention'' Keaggy/King/Dente, 1997 album
* ''Phil Keaggy'', 1998 album
* ''Premium Jams'', 1999 compilation
* ''Brushstrokes'', 1999 instrumental album
* ''Majesty and Wonder'', 1999 christmas album
* ''Inseperable'', 2000 album
* ''Lights of Madrid'', 2000 album
* ''Cinemascapes'', 2001 instrumental album
* ''Hymnsongs'', 2002 album
* ''Freehand (Acoustic Sketches 2)'', 2003 instrumental album
* ''Special Occasions'', 2003, album
* ''History Makers'', 2003 compilation
* ''It's Personal'', 2004 album
* ''Philly Live!'', 2004 DVD

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