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Phil Keaggy - Find Me In These Fields (1990)

Published on april 23, 2023 | by Jeff Miller (Flashback Friday Music Review)

Style: Rock
Release date: June, 1990
Format: CD, Casette
Tracks: 15
Label: A&M Records

1. Untitled - (Acoustic instrumental, recorded live)(0:19)
2. Strong Tower (4:14)
3. Carry On (3:14)
4. Untitled - (Acoustic instrumental, recorded live) (0:39)
5. When the Wild Winds Blow (5:39)
6. This Side of Heaven (4:18)
7. Find Me in These Fields (3:56)
8. Get over It (6:08)
9. Calling You (4:17)
10. Untitled - (Electric instrumental, recorded live) (2:32)
11. Gentle and Strong (3:37)
12. Final Day (3:57)
13. Untitled - (Electric instrumental, recorded live) (2:08)
14. Be in My Heart" (John Perry) - 4:40
15. Untitled - (Electric instrumental, recorded live) (1:00)

It was, for this reviewer, a long-awaited release. Well, it had been two years since Phil’s last vocal album, Sunday’s Child, and about a year since the re-release of The Master and the Musician. Come on, already, right?

By now, Phil had been an influencer in Contemporary Christian Music for nearly two decades––at this point considered a veteran and pioneer. His longevity had outlasted many of his peers, even still to this day. Not many are making music some 50 years later (this year marks the 50th anniversary of his first solo recording, What a Day).

So where does Find Me In These Fields find me? Here, he continued what he started with longtime friend, bandmate and producer Lynn Nichols on what would become the second in a trilogy that hearkened back to the good ol’ days of classic rock just before classic rock was a thing. For a teenager, this was pretty cool, but not as cool as it probably was to the many then-adult fans who related more to this 70s-stylings of rock. For me and my comrades, we had been used to the more current styles of (another group now celebrating 50 years) Petra, Whiteheart, DeGarmo & Key and others.

So the sound of Keaggy’s retro period struck a chord (pun intended) with some more than others. For those of us who were already fans, and awestruck by his guitar craftsmanship, we were ready to forgive what we thought (at the time) was a more bland approach, but now recognize this album as part of his most artistic period.

As with many albums, Find Me In These Fields starts with the some of the best material, a false-intro start straight into “Strong Tower” and then the deeply underrated “Carry On,” possibly among his top ten best rock songs of all time. “When the Wild Winds Blow” is one of those semi-bland songs for a teenager that we now-grown-ups have come to realize has plenty of artistic merit.

The following, more bouncy, “This Side of Heaven,” gives us a catchy Beatles-esque number before delving into the somber title track, another deeply underrated song among Phil’s oeuvre.

The next duo of songs–“Get Over It” and “Calling You” also embody the sleepy stylings that, when given a second chance, show us the artistic brilliance of the Keaggy-Nichols relationship, bouncing off of each other’s psychedelic musical influences. From here, the album ends with more radio-friendly pop/rock songs that nicely blend the old stylings with the new.

“Gentle and Strong” is a tender ode to Phil’s son, Ian; “Final Day” is a rousting call for end-times saints to get busy and fulfill the ‘great commission’; and “Be In My Heart” is a prayerful epilogue.

Another nice aspect to this project is that Phil weaves snippets of jam sessions throughout the album to kind of break things up a bit. Though, it might be nice to someday listen to these jam tracks in full, perhaps on an extended version?

And speaking of jam sessions and extended versions, it should be noted that Phil recently re-released this album (as well as others) on his Bandcamp page with two bonus CDs of demos, outtakes and whatnot.

In all, because of the classic-rock stylings of this project, Find Me In These Fields seems more artistically relevant now than it did when it was first released in 1990; and with the blend of simple instrumentation and nice production, it certainly hasn’t aged a bit. 

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