Glass Harp on the road for the first time since the Nixon administration:
- The legendary Ohio band, Glass Harp, has reunited and will return to the road for the first time in 32 years.
Building on the success of recent albums “Strings Attached: Live w/The Youngstown Symphony Orchestra” (2001), and “Hourglass” (2003), Glass Harp has rekindled interest amongst longtime fans while finding an entire new generation of listeners.
Formed in Youngstown, OH in the late 1960’s, guitarist Phil Keaggy, drummer John Sferra and bassist Daniel Pecchio found themselves at the onset of what is now known as the “jam band” scene. Although Glass Harp released three studio albums on the Decca label, it was the band’s highly energetic and wildly improvisational live concerts that fueled the band’s legend. Concert goers from the Fillmore West to Carnegie Hall were turned to instant fans; an ongoing tale even has Jimi Hendrix citing Phil Keaggy as the greatest guitar player he had ever seen.
Today, Glass Harp’s music has been cited as an influence over an astounding variety of artists, from guitar heroes (Joe Satriani, Eric Johnson, Rick Derringer) and jam bands (Derek Trucks Band, Ekoostik Hookah, Col. Bruce Hampton & The Code Talkers), to progressive rock (Kansas, Adrian Belew, Mike Keneally, Spock’s Beard) and even heavy metal (King’s X, P.O.D.).
Glass Harp will be releasing a triple-live album “Stark Raving Jams” to coincide with the 2004 tour dates. The album is a collection of improvisational material recorded mainly at the band’s live shows over the past four years.
The scheduled shows at the time of this release are:
June 3- Milwaukee, WI (Shank Hall)
June 5- Grand Rapids, MI (The Intersection)
June 17- Canal Fulton, OH (Alive Festival)
June 23- Nashville, TN (Exit/In)
June 24- Lexington, KY (The Dame)
June 25/26- Dayton, OH (Canal Street Tavern)
For more info, free music and video downloads, photos and tour dates visit www.glassharp.net
More on the band, written last summer:
One of the most important, celebrated cult bands of the ’70s, Glass Harp, has reunited for its first studio album in 30 years. Hourglass, to be released in August, is 16 brand-new songs convincingly updating a timeless sound.
A classic power trio and one of the original jam bands, Glass Harp is world-renowned guitarist Phil Keaggy, bassist Daniel Pecchio, and drummer John Sferra. All members sing and write, crafting a unique sound equal parts Cream, CSNY, Allman Brothers, James Gang, and Traffic with the talent and chops to transcend the comparisons and a profound spirituality to nourish the soul.
The group-penned “7 in a Box” leaps out with a charging guitar riff, blistering lead magic from Keaggy, tasty three-part group vocals, even moments of aggressive dissonance – a ripping return.
The track ends abruptly and before you can say “cool,” Pecchio’s “What’s In Your Heart” drives straight south with a delta rock groove, Keaggy’s swampy slide, and the world-class Memphis Horns adding their signature soul punch. The track goes out with a feverish jam highlighted by Keaggy’s jaw-dropping jazz-rock runs.
Next, Keaggy’s beautiful, Byrdsy “You Whisper Something” (MP3 sample) is wonderful power pop, with heart-warming harmonies, a classic melody and jangly, jangly guitar.
The sampler concludes with Sferra’s “Everlasting Light,” a smiling jam band festival of a song with warm acoustic guitars, punchy rhythm, and a soaring 3-part harmony chorus. Forget the past, this band is HERE and NOW.
Speaking of that past, Daniel Pecchio writes:
Glass Harp (Phil Keaggy, John Sferra and I) came out of Youngstown, Ohio in the early 70s. We were a power trio in the tradition of Cream and Jimi Hendrix Experience that also did an acoustic set like CS&N with lush 3-part harmonies. We honed our skills in the same cellar bar in Kent, Ohio that spawned The James Gang and The Raspberries. Through the efforts of our manager Chip Killinger, we connected with Lewis Merenstein, and with him, recorded three albums in the early 70s for Decca/MCA. We toured with Alice Cooper, Humble Pie, Yes and many more. We did venues like Fillmore East, Carnegie Hall, Winterland, etc.
Just before we did our first album at Electric Lady Studio, Phil’s mother was killed in a car accident. His older sister came for the funeral and before leaving brought Phil to Jesus Christ. By the time we finished the third album Phil decided to leave the group. Phil left the group so he could study and personally grow in his faith and be able to adequately represent his beliefs, yet there was never a conflict between group members or the record company, management, venues or fans regarding lyrical content.
As Phil grew in his faith so too did the beginnings of Contemporary Christian Music. It’s within this scene that Phil found a home. The end of the group came in 1973, but in the ensuing years have joined Phil on stage at concerts in the Cleveland area, as well as several sold-out Glass Harp reunion shows.
In 1997 we acquired the Live at Carnegie Hall show that we had recorded opening for the Kinks in 1972. This sparked a show at The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 2000 we got together for a show in our hometown of Youngstown, Ohio (our first home show in 30 years). The show was recorded and released in 2001 on our own label. Response the CD was great and created more opportunities to play live.
Finally in 2002 we began work on our first studio project in 30 years. We recorded 16 songs at Blue Desert Recording on “The Row” in Nashville and in Phil’s home studio. We mixed in Ohio and mastered in Nashville with Richard Dodd.
Phil has been a major influence in the building Contemporary Christian Music, garnering 5 Dove awards, 2 Grammy nominations, 2 Nashville Music Awards, and he has finished #2 and #3 twice each in the annual Guitar Player Magazine poll (see philkeaggy.net).
As a trio, Glass Harp’s musical style is eclectic in the studio. In concert, Glass Harp exhibits a deeper exploration of their studio material, turning it into improvisational journeys of epic length and technical fireworks. This explains the recent growth in numbers of young people attending Glass Harp shows and buying our CDs. Through the Internet, MP3s of our jams (both past AND current) are being discovered by a new audience (see glassharp.net).
Recently I met Derek Trucks through My son Ted who played with Col. Bruce Hampton. I gave Derek the “Live Carnegie Hall” CD and the recent double live “Strings Attached.” After listening to the CD Derek gave me his manager’s number and asked that we try to do something together. We recently played with Ekoostic Hookah who has a large following in Ohio and the jam band scene. Hookah and the festival crowd gave us a great response. On a different musical plane entirely, Phil just finished three tracks including one solo, for the upcoming POD CD.
Glass Harp is not a nostalgia band. Despite what the mirror tells us, the songs, harmonies and playing on “Hourglass” offer young hearts, voices, and spirit.