Legendary Gospel Music Hall of Famer and guitar virtuoso Phil Keaggy and multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter and producer Rex Paul (Rex Paul Schnelle) are the featured artists on the two latest back-to-back episodes of the influential Song Revolution Podcast.
"Meeting Phil Keaggy for the first time lived up to everything I'd ever imagined and more," says John Chisum, The Song Revolution Podcast host and founder of Nashville Christian Songwriters. "I'd always admired his musicianship, but he's also very genuine and sincerely loves Jesus. He's not in this industry just so people will admire his guitar playing."
"Interviewing Phil and Rex Paul was an absolute delight," Chisum continues. "Each of them are deeply devoted believers, as well as world-class musicians. The interview was so good, we had to break it into two parts!"
Both episodes are available now, and fans can access The Song Revolution Podcast from their favorite podcast provider, including iTunes, Spotify, YouTube, SoundCloud, Podbay.fm, Stitcher, Libsyn, and on nashvillechristiansongwriters.com (nashvillechristiansongwriters.com/phil-keaggy-and-rex-paul-schnelle-talk-with-john-chisum-about-the-songwriting-process-and-new-record-illumination-part-1/ and nashvillechristiansongwriters.com/part-2-phil-keaggy-and-rex-paul-schnelle-talk-with-john-chisum-about-the-songwriting-process-and-new-record-illumination/).
The duo has recently been heavily engaged in producing a series of music videos of songs from their stellar new rock album, Illumination. The first out of the gate was the classic rock anthem, "Time," which Keaggy originally released on his Love Broke Through album in 1977. Fans can watch the performance, which was recorded at Franklin, Tennessee's famed Dark Horse Studios, at facebook.com/watch/?v=476615636507822.
The video version of "Don't Hold Back" released on September 3, 2019, and can be viewed at facebook.com/watch/?v=400211787347183. "I Believe" released on September 9, 2019, and can be viewed at facebook.com/177262389019340/videos/2095441000752207.
|Guitar virtuoso Phil Keaggy (R) and multi-instrumentalist Rex Paul (L) talk with Nashville Christian Songwriters founder John Chisum (Center) about their stellar new rock album, Illumination, on the latest Song Revolution Podcast. (McCain & Co. Public Relations photo)
"At first, we weren't focusing primarily on completing video, but on playing a show for our Indiegogo patrons," Keaggy explains. "But when we heard and saw the footage, we were compelled to pursue completing the videos." "We are so glad we did," Schnelle adds. "They show us firing on all cylinders, in the spirit of flying by the seat of our pants. It was exhilarating, and we believe our fans will enjoy the ride." Fans of the new project have created a groundswell of enthusiasm for Illumination in a variety of formats. Keaggy notes that they've had to order more copies of the CD version to meet demand. In addition to the CD and digital album, Keaggy and Paul produced a limited edition release of Illumination on vinyl, which fans can order from philkeaggy.com/store. And for those who can't get enough of musician swag, the duo notes that a very limited supply of Illumination t-shirts are still available. Whether your preference runs to vinyl or digital, one thing is certain. Illumination is creating a major buzz among music fans as well as industry insiders. Most recently the project was hailed by respected faith music resource UTR Media as one of the Best Albums of 2019, citing the duo's "Killer production and an unabashed love for tight, polished, classic rock."
Illumination joins a plethora of chart toppers and fan favorites on UTR Media's Best Albums and Songs of 2019 list, including projects and songs by Joy Williams (formerly of The Civil Wars), Switchfoot, Kirk Franklin, Cindy Morgan, Hillsong United, T Bone Burnett, Mavis Staples, Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors, Sufjan Stevens, and more.
UTR Media's accolades join a growing stream of positive industry reviews, including Robert Berman of Christian Musician Magazine, who calls Illumination "...a supremely catchy arena rock/pop album recalling the '80s heyday of Survivor and Foreigner."
Writing for Sight Magazine in Australia, reviewer Marcis Cheong declares, "Illumination is a fusion of the skill, experience and faith of these two artists and the result is enlightening."
Bert Saraco, writing for The Phantom Tollbooth, says, "Illumination puts virtuosity in the context of relatable songs--songs that reflect the artists' hearts as much as their technical chops in a progressive pop format.... There's a freshness, an energy, a momentum, and an enthusiasm.... Don't let Illumination escape you--seek it out and enjoy a fresh cross-pollination of the classic and the new."
Reviewer Kevin Belmonte notes, "Some albums convey a special feeling, an atmosphere, that listeners want to experience again and again. Some recordings sound better each playing through, with more to discover. Illumination is just that kind of album."
"Illumination is art that encourages and refreshes us," declares Rex Paul. "There is an urgency to the music; it's aggressive in a good way. It's rock, but a special amalgam of classic, modern, and progressive rock. I think it harks back to the halcyon days of the Jesus Movement, when artists made the music they loved and imbued it with the message and style they believed in, without feeling the constraint to fit into some narrowly defined marketing agenda."
"It's like a triple shot of espresso," Phil Keaggy quips. "It's mature, but it sounds young. I think it will satisfy fans of prog rock, classic rock, and just plain old rock 'n' roll."
To purchase Illumination on vinyl or CD, visit philkeaggy.com/store or your favorite online music retailer.