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Unread 01-08-2004, 03:16 AM   #1
Art
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Keaggy, Phil - Acoustic Sketches Vol. 2: Freehand

Tracks
1. Shigeo
2. Bela
3. Sign Language
4. Cajon Pass
5. Hatch of the Mayflies
6. Schemp
7. The Dance
8. Chester's Tree
9. Forerunner
10. Masa
11. Cinema Paradiso
12. Maturity
13. Renaissance Man
14. A Walk Home
15. Bodhran Brawl
16. Rubix Cube
17. Dream
18. Red Beans and Rice
19. Cosmos
20. Soakin
21. Driftwood
22. Solitude
23. The Dew Blanube

For more on Phil Keaggy, click here.

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Unread 08-23-2004, 01:22 PM   #2
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In 1996, Phil's fan club released an entirely acoustic instrumental album full of audio featurettes as well as completed pieces of music. Several of those songs, such as "Del's Bells", "Legacy", "Spend My Life With You" and "Paka" have come to be concert favorites. The album was re-released by Phil's record company, Sparrow, in 1998 and won a Dove award for instrumental album of the year.

Now, seven years later, the second installment recaptures the playfulness of the first album. Done on six different acoustic guitars (Taylor, Morris, Charis, Olson, Langejans and McPhearson), they take center stage, supported by Phil's stellar JamMan work, light percussion (often using the the guitar itself) and the return of that little plastic strip that made it's debut in Hymnsongs' "Prelude".

Like the first disc, there is a nice mix of short "sketches" and fully developed tunes. All of them were recorded "in the moment" and reflect the feeling and melodies running through Phil's mind at that moment. As such, the CD has more of a live feel than many of his other instrumentals. The pieces range from reflective and spiritual to uplifting, energetic and fun. They are culturally and stylisticly diverserse, moreso than the first installment, and it is hard to get bored listening to this CD. Spanish and Oriental influences meld with classical, Irish, folk and blues to make a wonderfully diverse collection of songs wihtout seeming thrown together.

Personal highlights for me are "Cajon Pass", which flows from style to style as if walking through an ever changing mountain range with it's mountains and valleys. The CD includes a video, playable on Mac and PC, of Phil performing this song in his studio. "Sign Language" is a play on the concert favorite, "A Sign Came Through A Window" and here Phil expands and extends it as he would during a live performance. "Bodhram Brawl" is an energetic Irish flavored piece while "Red Beans and Rice" has a bit of a country "cowpoke" flavor. "Rubix Cube" is a wonderfully fun tune that reminds you of a maze. "Schempp" at first seemed to me as an oddball of a piece, with it's sampled percussion and "I'm Too Sexy" feel. But the slapstick feel is enough to bring a smile to even the most serious musician.

To convey their feelings and emotions, writers use words and punctuation. Painters use brush and color and musicians use frequencies and timing. With Freehand, Phil once again treats his listeners to a musical expression of his feelings. But instead of walking through a museum full of paintings or a library full of books, we get a glimpse of Phil's musical journal; full of ideas, each in a differing state of development. It is a pleasure to thumb through these sketches and see a master at work from early early bits of an idea to a polished piece. With Acoustic Sketches 2: Freehand, we get the best of both.

-- Stephanie Bargenquast

(Originally published by me at PKfans.com on October 20, 2003 and reprinted with permission--because I can and I thought you'd like it!)
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Unread 01-09-2006, 06:36 PM   #3
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Talking Review of Freehand

If my teeth looked like this, they'd be smiling. So much so as to keep my ear drums open long enough to catch ever single note played by this tiny saint. Amen and Amen again. Phil is not only a saint. But a very entertaining and yes, witty musician.
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Unread 04-27-2006, 06:07 PM   #4
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I'll have to check this one out. I liked the first "Sketches"
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