Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Lights of Madrid
Genres: Folk, Pop, Christian
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An excellent new direction
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Phil Keaggy's music has spanned numerous styles: rock, blues, jazz, folk, and country. When I first listened to the songs on this album, I was amazed by their musical and emotional complexity--this is definitely the most "classical" sounding thing he's ever done. (Don't get me wrong--lots of Phil's stuff overflows with musical complexity. But this album is yet another level of the man's ability--it contains backing strings, and even includes all the sheet music on PDF files.) I suspect that this album will be his next direction, because he has said in interviews that he wants to learn to arrange orchestral music and apply that to future projects. Another thing--don't get fooled into thinking that this album is just a bunch traditional Spanish folk songs. There are a few of those in a purely traditional style, such as "Caliente", but most are a blend of Spanish style and Beatles/Romantic/Folk style (for lack of a better description). There are numerous moments that bring me goosebumps, and "Overture for Guitar and Strings" has brought tears to my eyes--a chronicle of pain, redemption, and reflection, it's an amazing emotional and spritual journey. My favorite Keaggy album in a long time (and that says a lot)."
Phil at his best!
Jason A. Hoffman | Fort Wayne, IN USA | 10/02/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In my mind, Phil Keaggy is one of the most inconsistent artists around. His albums range from timeless classics (Beyond Nature, Sunday's Child) to albums so bland they only received a few spins (True Believer comes quickly to mind and just as quickly is forgotten). His latest album, Lights of Madrid, happily falls into the former group with over an hour of compelling, well-crafted acoustic guitar instrumentals that span genres, techniques, and moods. As you may have guessed from the album title, many, but not all, of the pieces show a Spanish influence. Those familiar with Spanish classical guitar will not be disappointed as Phil very capably tackles the legato scales and technical playing required for this genre. Those familiar with Keaggy himself already know that he is a guitar player's guitar player with amazing technical skills, virtuoso skills which often take backstage to the melody and the structure of the song. His best work marries the two, as is evidenced here.The title track is, of course, very Spanish with an upbeat, catchy rhythm, excellent backing percussion, and a memorable melody that is worked into the amazing guitar playing. In stark contrast is the peaceful "A Field of Flowers" which is simply two acoustic guitars, a cello, and a beautifully emotive melody that would have fit perfectly on the phenomenal Beyond Nature. "Allgeria" consists of many layers of guitars, orchestral strings, and keyboards as a single melody is pursued by each. By combining contemporary songwriting with Hayden-era classical, Keaggy wrote the nine-minute "Overture" for acoustic guitar and chamber orchestra. Here the guitarist has created an amazingly mature classical composition with solid pacing and development of ideas, definitely on par or better than any classical piece written by his hero, Sir Paul McCartney. I could listen to music like this all day... and frequently have since this CD came into my possession. The album closes, aptly, with the return of the Spanish-themed "Caliente", energetic dance music with some ripping xylophone! The huge variety of tone colors, instrumentation, and melody makes this album so much more than an hour of naked acoustic guitar. If you order now, you'll get an enhanced CD that actually makes sense! Embedded in this CD are detailed tablature transcriptions of twelve of the fifteen tracks, complete with lead and rhythm parts with the solos painstakingly written out. Even without this bonus, however, this album is the best thing Phil Keaggy has written in nearly a decade: an instant classic for guitar freaks and lovers of quality music alike."
Keaggy Offers a Touch of Spain
Steve Vrana | Aurora, NE | 03/08/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Like 1998's Acoustic Sketches, this is an all-intrumental offering from one of the music world's best kept secrets. Known principally as a contemporary Christian musician, Keaggy has been recording since founding the power trio Glass Harp in 1970. Over the next thirty years Keaggy has been one of the more pop-oriented voices in CCM, with Phil Keaggy and Sunday's Child a Beatlesque masterpiece from 1988. Even on 1994's Crimson and Blue he does a stunning version of Badfinger's "Baby Blue."On Lights in Madrid, as the title would imply, this classical guitar outing brims with touches of Spanish folk music. [In fact, the album was originally released as A Touch of Spain.] Keaggy wrote or co-wrote all but one track and the 9-minute "Overture (For Guitar and Orchestra)" features violin and cello and was commissioned by the Nashville Chamber Orchestra. This enhanced CD also features transcriptions of ten of the fifteen songs.If you've enjoyed Keaggy's previous instrumental outings, you'll want to add this one to your collection as well. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED"