The Wind and the Wheat

by Phil Keaggy from the album, The Wind and the Wheat (1987)



Here is the main video, hosted on YouTube (or click here for the YouTube window):

Note: window is sized for 480p resolution.


About the Song

I was introduced to the amazing music of Phil Keaggy while living in Eugene, Oregon from 1989 to 1992 (highs in the fifties, lows in the forties, overcast and drizzly nine months out of the year, seasonal affective disorder, etc...). This song had a profound impact on me during a time of tremendous change (I abandoned my aspiration for a career in music and embraced engineering), and it evokes potent memories when I hear it.  For years I dreamed of playing it.  I dabbled in its easier parts (it was the first Keaggy piece I ever attempted) until about fifteen years later, when I became serious about the fingerstyle guitar, I obtained the sheet music (big thanks, Phil, for making it available!) and began struggling through the hard stuff. Shortly after that, I also got serious about the electric guitar and began to work up this version on the Taylor T5, which, with the aid of the Jamman looper, allows me to play both parts. 

About The Music

The T5 is what makes it all possible as it has a very passable acoustic mode (it is a solid wood top with an acoustic-style bridge) as well as a strong electric mode (dual humbuckers). In the first pass, I record the verse into the Lexicon Jamman, which, with its memory capacity of 32 seconds, just accommodates the verse. At the end of the verse, I hit a switch on the MIDI foot pedal (Behringer FCB1010) that sends a stop-recording message followed instantly by a pause message to the Jamman causing it to "hold" the verse for later playback.

When the solo comes, I switch the T5 to position 4 (bridge and neck pickups in parallel) and step on another switch which sends a play message to the Jamman (MIDI program change on channel 2) followed instantly by a MIDI CC message (on channel 1) to the guitar processor (Digitech GSP1101) which maps the message to several parameters that are changed for the solo. After the solo, another foot-switch stops the Jamman and reconfigures the GSP1101 back to acoustic mode while I flip the switch on the T5 back to position 1 (acoustic).

The video does not make it look as busy as it really is!  The crazy part is, the Lexicon Jamman is the ONLY looper available that will allow this (respond to the various MIDI messages as described), and it is an old, discontinued item. You can only find them on eBay. If you do, GRAB IT! 

I am not very pleased with my execution in this performance, but friends assure me I am the only one who notices the flaws, so I will not enumerate over them here. Still, I am not sure if I hope Phil sees it or if I prefer he never notices! LOL. Here is a link to his original song that inspired me.

Well...for the sake of laughs I will mention one: Notice I carry a pick in my mouth through the entire song knowing it is in quick reach for the solo. However, when the solo comes, I grab a different pick out of the headstock. Then, when the solo is over, I go to stick the pick back in my mouth and notice it is mysteriously already there and in my hand at the same time. In bewilderment, I toss it on the floor and scramble to maintain my concentration and composure!


P.S. Big thanks to Mike Kerby & Associates for video recording and editing.

Back To WillSongs Live
published 11-Apr-2011
updated 13-May-2011