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4.9 out of 5 stars44
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon June 19, 2001
Jimi Hendrix is reported to say that Phil Keaggy was the best guitarist around. Listen to this solo-acoustical album and you just might have to agree. Purely instrumental, this is every finger-picker's dream. If this is your type of music, than this is one album that is definitely worth tracking down.
Keaggy has been blessed with lightning fast arpeggios, a command of alternate tunings, and right hand slap/harmonic technique that all adds flavor to his music. "County Down" is a playground for him to use his repertoire of skills. The song is brilliant in it's own right. "Fair Thee Well" is built around a theme comprised of both right and left and tapping, add in some fast runs, and you have another great tune. There isn't a bad cut on this album.
Another neat item about this album is that Keaggy provides the alternate tunings that he uses for each song in the liner notes. For you finger-pickers who would like to emulate him, you at least have a place to begin. If you like guitar, especially solo-acoustic, then this is a must have. The majority of the album is soft and quiet, but it will have you listening intently.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on July 30, 2005
I first heard this record back in 93 and it has been, in one form or another, in my collection ever since. It is to my mind one of the finest guitar recordings ever produced. I am a fan of Andres Segovia, Michael Hedges, Leo Kottke, Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Mark Knopfler, and a host of other FS guitarists, so I hope you can appreciate what I mean when I say this.

What Keaggy manages to do here, and sadly only here, is to weave a collection of tunes that provoke the emotions as much as the ear. He has said that he intended the songs on this album to be in the Impressionist veign. And I cannot think of a better decription.

Listening to "A Place of Springs" for instance, one has the impression of a mind struggling with the wieght of the world and with it's own weakness. And in Keaggy's arrangement of Grieg's "Symphonic Dance" we not only hear but truly feel the elation of the instrument (as narrator) at some joyous moment we will never fully comprehend (though I like to imagine it's a wedding dance, or a childs first steps).

It's almost as though the record contains an anthology of songs that tell a story of a life from the guitar's point of view, with the guitar as it's own voice. As always, Keaggy intermingles this collage with his deep spiritual conviction--in fact, every note drips with it.

This is work of a tremendous artist, a musical virtuoso, at the peak of his powers, letting his instrument explore spaces at once too private and too universal for words. It is an amazing and breathtaking way to pass a rainy afternoon. And it rewards frequent replaying. I cannot recommend to highly.

Phil, we are in your debt for this masterpiece.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on March 1, 2004
This is one of those albums that has never really left my player since I bought it 4 years ago. Keaggy is truely a master of his craft and his songs bring a smile to my whenever I hear them. This is album calmed and relaxed me during some of the most stressful years of my life. Really beautiful and I cannot recommend it more highly.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on May 6, 2003
I love this album. Phil Keaggy is gifted in not only playing, but also writing wonderful instrumental music. This album is in the same lines as Master and the Musician by Phil. They highlight Phils guitar but also have other instrumentation such as violin, synthesizer, piano. The music is simple and beautiful, very melodic.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on May 29, 2001
When considering the many gifts and talents of Phil Keaggy, one must first recognize that this guitaist is an artist who can capture the musical intrupretation of a beautiful heartfelt emotion far better than most. His ability to create melodic themes that seep their way with repeated listening into your conscience and linger with pleasurable and quieting enjoyment, set him apart from the masses. I have owned, loaned or given away to "special friends", more of this paticular album than any other...... It has a unique way of draping itself around me when playing in the background, that sets my mood positive and allows my day to pass productively. I recommend this album to anyone who appreciates fluid acoustic guitar with infectious lilting melodies.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on December 21, 2001
I have been listening to this album for more than ten years, and the music held within has yet to dull or fade in it's effects on my spirit and conscience. Keaggy masterfully crafts deeply moving and fabulously rich music without becoming ostentatious, without becoming busy or flashy. Simple yet complicated, still yet flowing, grand yet approachable, the rich acoustic rhythms offer moments of deep reflection and intense exhilaration. This is by far the VERY BEST acoustic guitar album I have, I also dare write that it may be one of the best albums I have. Keaggy's gift approaches that of the 17th & 18th century composers, whose music I love as well and whom also share in the characteristics I attributed above to Keaggy.
This is a must have.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on October 30, 2003
I saw Phil Keaggy in concert (in Knoxville, TN in the late 70s and again in Southern California in the 80s) and, like everyone, am quite impressed by his talent. THIS is the CD that puts it all together for me. Like MASTER AND THE MUSICIAN (another GREAT album) each song paints a mind-picture for the listener. This is one I listen to often and (some days) over and over. Another one of my favorites is his album LOVE BROKE THROUGH...a great example of Phil's guitar work and vocals in one of the BEST early Christian rock albums.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on July 2, 2005
This is one of my most cherished albums. It doesn't do all things, but what it does it does so very well. (There is also an instructional video out for guitar fans that contains many BEYOND NATURE songs that is also well done). For me, this album and his LIGHTS OF MADRID are his two finest acoustic instrumental albums. So if you are reading this and you don't have the ablum and have somehow not noticed that EVERY REVIEW IS 5 STARS, go buy this thing right now! It really is a treasure. I remember how one of my brother's friends in high school totally fell in love with this album; I've never seen anyone so moved in such a way by the beauty of music. So whether it is love at first site or something that works in you more slowly, please, for your own good, give it a listen.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 12, 1999
This album is the album to get if you want mindblowing acoustic guitar work. Speaking from the standpoint of one who plays Keaggy's works he is a true master. Favorite cuts: 5. I feel the winds of God today 3. Symphonic Dance
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on November 2, 2002
I am a die-hard acoustic guitar fan, and I think I know almost every great fingerstyle guitar CD. This one is in my personal Top Five. What more should I say?
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