Phil Keaggy

Beyond Nature

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Phil Keaggy, the nine-fingered virtuoso, released this acoustic tribute to C.S. Lewis in 1991 to rave reviews from guitar aficionados and to a greatly disappointed CCM audience, who had wanted to hear more of the Beatles-influenced work he had explored with Phil Keaggy & Sunday's Child and Find Me in These Fields. This is a mature work -- he does not, in a Paganini fashion, write compositions solely to show off his incredible talent. This is a very musical work with beautiful pieces held together by strong craftsmanship and compositional prowess. Alternate tunings are the big experiment here, and are pointedly displayed in the liner notes where applicable. Many of the pieces are also augmented by string quartet or wind instruments, giving this body of work a grand or symphonic feel -- something listeners hadn't heard from Keaggy before. The finest moments are the ones with additional players, notably "County Down" (featuring Stuart Duncan on fiddle) and "Fare Thee Well." The most outspoken tribute to C.S. Lewis appears in "Brother Jack" (which opens with the nursery melody "Frère Jacques").

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