The Unbreakable Glass Harp – Opinion

As rock’n’roll exploded with creativity and virtuosity in the 1960s, the genre borrowed a concept from jazz to better showcase this growth. The trio format is the best example of this. The combination of a single guitar (or, in the case of The Nice, keyboards), bass, and drums provided maximum breathing room for soloing and experimentation without getting in each other’s way. You might occasionally add a vocalist to the mix. This was the case for The Who and Led Zeppelin. However, most often it was just the power of three. You had Cream, with Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce, and Ginger Baker furiously blasting away on their respective instruments when they weren’t furiously blasting away at each other. Although the Jimi Hendrix Experience was unquestionably Hendrix’s vessel to boldly go where no Stratocaster-wielding wizard had gone before, the contributions of Noel Redding and Mitch Mitchell provided a vital foundation to Hendrix’s power and range. Rory Gallagher’s Taste was less well-known but equally artistic. Joe Walsh was the leader of The James Gang. Glass Harp was second only to Joe Walsh.

Glass Harp, which included Phil Keaggy as guitarist, John Sferra as drums and Daniel Pecchio (bass), was never short of firepower. However, it had a tendency to be subtler than swing a sledgehammer. Before going on their own, the band released three albums for MCA beginning in 1970. Keaggy entered into a decades-long career as one of contemporary Christian music’s most celebrated artists. Pecchio was also a long-term collaborator with Michael Stanley (a Cleveland roots rocker). Sferra, Pecchio, and Michael Stanley became Christians over the years. The trio performs occasionally in Youngstown and Ohio. With the band’s studio catalog, including 2003’s HourglassYou can now re-discover the band and listen to live recordings that were recently added on Bandcamp.

Even Keaggy’s extensive solo work’s most ardent fans have never heard him as he was and is with Glass Harp. Glass Harp is the embodiment of the word jam band before anyone else. While its studio work was of high quality, it was also melodic and progressive early rock that had a noticeable bit. The band was a joy to see live. Keaggy’s inventive liquid fire was a revelation, and when he stretched out with Sferra and Pecchio’s ample assistance, Keaggy turned his Les Paul into a wondrous storyteller.

Glass Harp might also be sweetened and pungent.

For a deeper dive into Glass Harp’s studio work, the latest episode of Cephas Hour provides a solid sample of the band’s multi-faceted skill.

If one is willing to look, quality new music can be found (may I recommend Five for Fighting or Glass Hammer?Finding out that someone forgot the first round is always an unexpected treat. Grab the Glass Harp, and get to jamming. You’ll be a blessing to your ears.

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