Phil Keaggy: Christian music legend presents dinner concert

Christian music legend Phil Keaggy, a Youngstown native, presents a dinner concert at Christian Life Center in Dayton on Friday, Feb. 17. CONTRIBUTED
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Christian music legend Phil Keaggy, a Youngstown native, presents a dinner concert at Christian Life Center in Dayton on Friday, Feb. 17. CONTRIBUTED

Phil Keaggy has been recognized for his guitar prowess since the Youngstown native was gigging around northern Ohio with his band Glass Harp in the early 1970s. Today, the pioneering contemporary Christian artist can still engage an audience armed only with his guitar, digital looping station, talent and enduring faith in God.

Keaggy, 65, is performing in a dinner concert presented by Faithandfriendsradio.com at Christian Life Center in Dayton on Friday, Feb. 17. He recently discussed his approach to music, speaking over the telephone from his home in Nashville.

Musical vessel: "When I get a guitar in my hands, music and melody just want to come out of me and we're there to share that experience with other people. There are thousands of us out there doing it so you can't get a big head, especially as a musician in the genre I've been in for most of my life. We're all in this together. We just keep making music and keep praising the Lord with our hearts and our songs."

Layers and loops: "Eighty percent of the time, I'm going out and playing acoustic with my loop pedals. I try to make as much noise as I can with one guitar. I like to do a progression and then build on that progression and play along to that. I can multiply parts on top — layering bass bits, percussion, lead parts and harmonies — and that makes it interesting. I don't like it to be gimmicky. I try to make it as musical and natural as possible to the extent that some people think I'm playing along with tracks until I explain what I'm doing."

Songs of praise: "The main thing is to make the audience comfortable and let them know I'm grateful to be there and let them know that I've got good news to tell them through my songs. I really want people to have hope, feel joy and feel the love of God and know the love of God and to be introduced to Jesus. We need the Lord every single day and music really is a great way of communicating our hearts and our faith."

DIY life: "I've been an indie artist since 2002, so 15 years now. My Web site and my concerts are my main distribution and that's it. You have to just keep going, keep working and singing and playing, and stay enthusiastic and grateful. I'll keep on going as long as God enables me."

WANT TO GO?

What: Faithandfriendsradio.com hosts a dinner concert with Phil Keaggy

Where: Christian Life Center, 3489 Little York Road, Dayton

When: 6:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 17

Cost: $45 includes dinner and concert

More info: www.faithandfriendsradio.com

Artist info: www.philkeaggy.com