Phil Keaggy, one of the best guitarists you may not have heard of, is bringing his one-man act to Langley for a concert in support of Compassion Canada (International) on Saturday, Nov. 18.
Compassion International is a Christian child sponsorship organization which provides aid to more than 1.7 million children in 26 countries, such as Bolivia, Haiti and Kenya.
Hailed by Acoustic Guitar magazine as one of the top 20 acoustic guitarists of all time, his performances showcase an eclectic mix of classical and Celtic instrumentals, gospel originals and cover songs ranging from Bob Dylan to the Beatles.
Using sampling and loops along with his humour, concertgoers are always treated to a one-of-a-kind live one-man performance with Keaggy.
Keaggy broke into the music scene in the late ’60s as the frontman of Ohio-based band Glass Harp – a power-rock trio that opened for artists such as The Kinks, The James Gang, Alice Cooper, Humble Pie and Ted Nugent. On their way to stardom, the death of Keaggy’s mother changed the course of Glass Harp’s future, causing him to leave the band after converting to Christianity. Keaggy then forged a successful solo career in gospel music, mesmerizing live audiences for over 40 years with his unique blend of vocal and instrumental work.
Despite Keaggy’s talent, he has remained relatively unknown to mainstream music fans.
“In a lot of ways, I was too secular and progressive for the Christian labels, and I was too religious for the world,” says the Ohio native, who has long called Nashville home.
“And, you know, I understand that. When I got involved in the business of music, I knew that I probably could only go so far, because a lot of it has to do with marketing, imaging and merchandising. But just because you’re not a sellable commodity, it doesn’t mean you can’t be productive, and that’s something I’m grateful for.”
Keaggy’s impressive discography boasts more than 60 albums. He has garnered more than 27 awards and nominations, including seven Dove Awards for Instrumental Album of the Year and two Grammy nominations for Best Gospel Rock Album.
He has frequently been listed as one of the world’s top three “finger-style” and “finger-picking” guitarists by Guitar Player Magazine readers’ polls.
In 2013, he also was awarded the prestigious Golden Note Award from The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) for lifetime career achievement.
Although Keaggy has never achieved household name status as an artist, it’s of little concern to him.
“I’d rather be pegged as the religious guitar guy than not be associated at all with Him Who loved me and gave Himself for me,” he says.
Joining Phil Keaggy will be special guest, guitarist Jay Calder. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 18 at Church In The Valley, 23589 Old Yale Road
General admission tickets are $25. A limited number of Gold Circle Reserved premium seats are available for $35.
Tickets for the concert can be purchased online at frontofthelineproductions.com or by calling 604-788-3164.