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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.
Frio Suite
Phil Keaggy & Jeff Johnson (ArkMusic/2009) $11.00
Total time: 53:38

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.


Click here to view a new film shot at Laity Lodge on the Frio river in Texas documenting the creativity and creation behind Jeff and Phil's musical inspiration.

Frio River

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.

  ~ By Luci Shaw
Poet, author What the Light Was Like,
Writer in Residence, Regent College
2009 Used with permission

Reviews of Frio Suite:

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 
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Sounding at times like a deeply hermetic journey into musical spirituality - as opposed to being just your everyday archetypical modern studio recording masterpiece - the 2009 CD release from guitar icon Phil Keaggy and keyboardist Jeff Johnson makes for a completely lucid listening experience.
-Robert Silverstein /

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
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...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

...the music of Phil and Jeff flows together - sometimes in duet, sometimes in counterpoint - so well that your ear gets to chase multiple parts in and out like tapestry.
-Kirk Jordan / Wood Between The Worlds Blog
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This instrumental collection is engaging, inspiring, quieting, even haunting. It is an extraordinary collaboration of two wonderful artists...
-Mark Roberts /
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Keaggy's guitar playing, as to be expected, is as good as ever. Jeff builds gorgeous and delightful sonic environments that allow Keaggy's guitar to soar. I recommend the album highly.
-Bill Kinnon / Blog
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Every listening brings greater delight to the listener. This is a true gift to all who will seek it out. Those who seek will find everything and more in this incredible CD.
-Dr. Bryan Burton / Christus Victor Blog
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Following a river may take you anywhere, and new adventures may await just around the bend. Frio Suite will be welcomed by those familiar with Keaggy and Johnson, and who eagerly await each new release. But for those new to these artists, following this river may open up a whole new world of listening.
-Gord Wilson /
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Johnson and Keaggy ... invite us to a place "Between Heaven and Earth" where life is imagined in its varied possibilities, it's a pause on the journey to take in beauty, and let one's mind and spirit find rest in meditative reflection.  This is a mature, thoughtful rendering, with some amazing guitar work thrown in for your added pleasure.  One to be enjoyed for years to come.
-Brian Q. Newcomb / UCC Blog
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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 /

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