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JFH Music News Report


New Project Named by UTR Media as one of the Best Albums of 2019 Alongside Switchfoot, T Bone Burnett, Mavis Staples, Joy Williams, Kirk Franklin, Drew Holcomb, and More

Legendary Gospel Music Hall of Famer and guitar virtuoso Phil Keaggy and multi-instrumentalist Rex Paul unveil the limited edition vinyl LP version of their vibrant new rock album, Illumination. Pictured (L to R): Keaggy and Paul sample the "tasty" new vinyl. (Ian Keaggy photo)

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July 25, 2019

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (July 25, 2019) - Digital music took the music world by storm when it was first introduced via the venerable compact disc (CD) in the early 1980s. By the end of that decade, CDs had overtaken LPs in popularity. The digital revolution continued to evolve, spawning MP3 files, digital downloads, and online streaming. But for the faithful music aficionado, there was still only one true format--the vinyl LP.

And so it was that when legendary Gospel Music Hall of Famer and guitar virtuoso Phil Keaggy and multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter and producer Rex Paul decided to collaborate on their transcendent new rock album, Illumination, there was never any doubt that this masterpiece would be made available on vinyl.

The wait is over. Keaggy and Paul have announced the limited edition release of Illumination on vinyl. Fans can order the album on vinyl now from

"There's something special about the needle drop and sound of playing our record the way I grew up hearing my favorites," Rex Paul declares. "It is like a meditation in sound. I am happy for the resurgence of vinyl records and turntables. They make listening to music a special event. I hope everyone feels the love we invested to craft this album!"
"I'm quite excited about our limited vinyl release of Illumination," Phil Keaggy adds. "I'm a fan of records and have been since my earliest days. There's just something about holding one of these 12 inch platters that contains music we've created together. Many boomers and younger listeners are rediscovering the sound and the feel of one of the great innovations of the last century. I hope record enthusiasts will enjoy the album Rex Paul and I made. The message is clear and the music is rockin'!" 
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 (So Far), citing the duo's "Killer production and an unabashed loved for tight, polished, classic rock." 
Illumination joins a plethora of chart toppers and fan favorites on UTR Media's combined list of Best Albums & Songs of 2019 (So Far), including projects by Joy Williams (formerly of The Civil Wars), Martin Smith (formerly of Delirious?), Kirk Franklin, Mike Mains & The Branches, Judah & The Lion, Cindy Morgan, Hillsong United, and others. The list also highlights songs by Switchfoot, T Bone Burnett, Mavis Staples, Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors, Sufjan Stevens, Kevin Max, and more. For a complete list, visit
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 or your favorite online music retailer.  
About Illumination:
"Don't Hold Back," the project's opening salvo, serves as a vision statement of sorts for the entire album, as neither Keaggy nor Paul hold back. Thudding drums, tasty electric guitar licks, and passionate vocals underscore the song's in your face message of living life to the full by not holding back. "Calling Us Home" showcases the duo's playful tag-team guitar artistry, and exudes a joyful, arena rock vibe. Then, Keaggy newcomers (and long-time fans as well) are treated to the thrill of a juicy, reimagined rendition of the Phil Keaggy classic, "Time." "Nothing Can Separate Us" boasts a McCartney-esque vocal vibe, undergirded by a bed of electric guitars and prog-rock sensibilities reminiscent of classic Yes.
"Glorify Your Name" is a straight up rock 'n' roll declaration of faith, while "Let Everything Else Go" ventures into sweet acoustic piano ballad territory. "I Believe" gives Keaggy and Paul the opportunity to riff off of each other in a song that had its origins in 1971 during Keaggy's Glass Harp days. "Spend My Life With You" is another re-make of a Keaggy classic, and the addition of Rex Paul's artistry makes it sound better than ever. Paul takes lead vocals on "You Never Know," a smoldering rocker that encourages listeners to be engaged with life, because "You never know who you'll meet on a bus."
"Full Circle" is another Keaggy classic that gets a breath of fresh air, before the groove-oriented rocker, "The Day of the Lord," closes the album.
With more than 50 solo albums released over a remarkable four-decade career, Keaggy is one of the most beloved and accomplished guitarists of the century. His incredible talent, combined with a relentless work ethic and unbounded innovations on the guitar, continues to create new fans while keeping his legion of existing fans clamoring for more.
Rex Paul is equally prolific, working behind the scenes as a multi-instrumentalist, recording artist, studio musician, songwriter, and producer. He has produced or played on over 3,000 recordings, including tracks with Jon Bon Jovi, Tim McGraw, Jerry Reed, Jim Brickman, Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings, Brooks and Dunn, Olivia Newton John, Randy Bachmann (Bachmann Turner Overdrive), Jack Blades (Night Ranger, Damn Yankees), and a host of other writers and performers.
About Phil Keaggy:
One of the world's most beloved musicians, Keaggy's solo career has spanned 40+ years and has included more than 50 solo albums, both vocal and instrumental, as well as several releases with his band, Glass Harp.

Widely recognized for his phenomenal guitar playing as well as his vocal and songwriting abilities, he has received numerous accolades and awards for his music, including seven Dove Awards and a Grammy nomination.

Keaggy was inducted into the GMA Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 2007, and was named one of the Top 10 best rock singers in Christian music history by in 2009. In 2013, Keaggy received the prestigious ASCAP Golden Note Award in recognition of his outstanding career achievements. In addition, Rolling Stone magazine has named Keaggy one of the "25 Most Underrated Guitarists," alongside Prince, The Beatles' George Harrison, Kurt Cobain, Neil Young and Fleetwood Mac's Lindsey Buckingham.

For more information on Keaggy, visit, follow him on Facebook ( or Twitter ( @Phil_Keaggy).
About Rex Paul:
Rex Paul is an artist, guitar player, singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer. He has contributed to more than 3,000 recordings on other artists' projects, and has recorded four albums as a solo artist, featuring guests artists such as Eric Johnson, Phil Keaggy and Dann Huff. Paul is married to Deborah Schnelle, a founding member of the Contemporary Christian Music group, Sierra. He credits his latest collaboration with Phil Keaggy with the creation of the best music and production of his career. For more information visit
About UTR Media:
UTR Media (formerly Under The Radar) is passionate about well-crafted, faith-inspired music. We are here to help connect artists and audiences so that lives are changed for the better. We believe that music has a unique way of speaking to our heart and soul, and music that is honest, passionate, excellent, beautiful, and brimming with the hope of the Gospel can help us grow as people. We produce podcasts, video presentations, articles, albums, & playlists that are designed to help you "rediscover your soul-connection to music." For more information, visit


For more info on Phil Keaggy, visit the JFH Artists Database.


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