Collaborations: Phil Keaggy & Jeff Johnson & Kathy Hastings & Luci Shaw

P1030098I’m a Phil Keaggy fan from way back. I can’t find my tee shirt from the “Love Broke Thru” tour, but I sure remember sitting in the third row on the left side in that concert, feeling awed by the music and amazed that anyone could coax a guitar to sing like that.  Since those early days, I’ve seen Keaggy in concert a dozen times or more. I was in Chicago recently, and it was a treat to see him there in concert, collaborating with Randy Stonehill.

Today this notice flitted across my FaceBook NewsFeed: another collaborative project, this one with Jeff Johnson. Phil Keaggy is one of the all-time biggest talents out there. He stays fresh and relevant and inspired by continuing to work closely with others.

The rest of us should take note.

In January 2009, guitarist, Phil Keaggy and keyboardist, Jeff Johnson shared their musical talents and ideas as part of the annual retreat of the Chrysostom Society – a group of writers and poets – at Laity Lodge in the hill country of Texas. They had met before on several occasions and had even sent musical ideas back and forth to one another on behalf of another producer for a book on CD. But it was in this place “where heaven and earth meet” that a friendship was born between the two musicians. It wasn’t long before a musical collaboration was also begun through the internet between Phil’s home studio in Nashville, TN and Jeff’s facility on Camano Island, WA. The result is this original recording in collaboration with images by artist, Kathy Hastings and a poem by Luci Shaw.

    Frio River

The river, up to the ankles,
invites our feet to test its depth and learn
through the skin of our soles
how water chisels limestone, first laying it down,
then knuckling it, leaving the long print of fluid
all along the stream bed. We discover
what it might be like to walk on water,
and how the stone itself supports the flow
as it composes its own fluid music,
a naked sound around us as we wade,
a lilt that lifts the heart.
Together, sun and stone and water write
their rippling continuo between the hills.
Sometimes the lens of water, like an eye,
deepens to a blue profundity, the way
music needs no words,
being its own language.

~ By Luci Shaw
Poet, author What the Light Was Like,
Writer in Residence, Regent College

For more information about this collaboration, check it out at

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