A musical journey to a place where heaven and earth truly meet, this masterful recording was inspired by Keaggy and Johnson's experience at Laity Lodge on the Frio River in Texas. Full of rich, lyrical, haunting melodies of beautifully textured guitars, piano and keyboards, these original instrumentals were produced as part of a collaboration with visual artist, Kathy Hastings.
Phil Keaggy: Acoustic & electric guitars, Bass fretful & fretless
Jeff Johnson: Keys, percussion & vocal
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.
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.
– Luci Shaw
Poet, author What the Light Was Like,
© 2009 Used with permission
Music Reviews –
From the first piano notes to last guitar strum, Jeff Johnson and Phil Keaggy have created a nearly perfect album of deeply moving chamber music on Frio Suite. . . an album that's sounding deeper and more immersive everytime I listen to it. Johnson is a master of keyboard orchestration, in fact, raising the bar for electronics in an ambient chamber music setting. And Keaggy is simply a wonder on guitar, mixing acoustic and electric guitar, merging styles into his own mult-stringed arrangements.
– John Diliberto / NPR's Echoes CD of the Month Review
Read & hear the complete review here: www.echoesblog.wordpress.com/2009/10/01/echoes-cd-of-the-month-jeff-johnson-phil-keaggys-frio-suite/
That these two artists have at long last produced a piece of work in tandem is the fulfillment of the dreams of untold numbers of instrumental music fans. The really wonderful thing is, as good as these two artists have been through the decades, they've never been better than they are right now - and it shows on Frio Suite.
– Bert Saraco / Soul-Audio
On first through third end-to-end plays I had tingling chills through me, right to the end, such was the exquisite beauty of the music - and does it chill! I have not heard a disc all year that quietens like this one.
– Derek Walker / The Phantom Tollbooth
...this lovely music is introspective and pastoral in turns, somehow managing to sound both lush and delicate at the same time. Johnson's pretty keyboard themes and melodies merge perfectly with Keaggy's gorgeous guitar textures and evocative melodic figures. Rich acoustic chords and counterpoint lines, subtle volume swells and tape-reverse effects, perfectly placed harmonics, intriguing loops and ultra-tasteful acoustic and electric soloing make this instrumental new age/ambient recording one of the most satisfying and sophisticated in the genre.
– Barry Cleveland / Guitar Player Magazine
I've been listening to the music of Phil Keaggy and Jeff Johnson for over twenty years, and so I know their respective styles very well. I think the highest praise I can offer this album is that, while on one hand it weaves together melodies and sounds that are distinctively and recognisably "Keaggy" and "Johnson," it also fuses their musical visions together in such a way as to sound fresh and new and different from what they've each done before. They've taken each other, and thus us their listeners, to a new place, for which I'm very grateful. Highly recommended.
– Robert MacSwain
released October 6, 2009
Produced, recorded & performed by Phil Keaggy & Jeff Johnson at Kegworth Studio; Nashville, TN & The Ark; Camano Island, WA
Mixed by Jeff Johnson at The Ark; Camano Island, WA
Frio River sounds recorded on location by Ark Mobile.
Mastered by John Golden Mastering; Ventura, CA
℗ 2009 Phil Keaggy & Jeff Johnson released by Ark Records, Inc. / ArkMusic © 2009 Sebastian Boy Music (ASCAP) / Sola Scriptura Songs (BMI) administered by www.MusicServices.org
Cover art by Kathy Hastings © 2009 Used with permission. www.kathyhastings.com
Design by www.pattonbros.com
This music is dedicated to everyone associated with Laity Lodge and their gracious spirit of hospitality, and to the members of the Chrysostom Society, whose words have taught, inspired and enriched both of our lives over the years.
Also, with much gratitude to our wives, Bernadette & Susie; Kathy Hastings & Luci Shaw; Howard, Jr., Barbara Dan, Deborah, David & the H.E. Butt Foundation; Matt Dickerson, Tic Long, David Friesen, Mark Lanier, Tim Tan, Eric Persing; and to God, who’s creation, love, sacrifice & grace continues to be the source of each of our inspirations.
Laity Lodge is a ministry of the H.E. Butts Foundation (www.laitylodge.org
Phil Keaggy: www.PhilKeaggy.com
"Frio Suite" is also available on iTunes and Amazon.