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Glass Harp is a Youngstown, Ohio based power trio consisting of guitarist Phil Keaggy, drummer John Sferra and bassist Daniel Pecchio.
Phil Keaggy was a member of a mid-1960s garage rock band called the Squires; one of their songs, which he co-wrote, appears on the compilation album Highs in the Mid-Sixties, Volume 9. In 1967 he moved on to briefly record with the band The New Hudson Exit. At one point, the band had considered Joe Walsh as its lead guitarist. Walsh would later establish himself as guitarist for the James Gang before embarking on a solo career and work with the Eagles.
In 1968, Keaggy and longtime friend drummer John Sferra, along with bassist Steve Markulin, formed the band Glass Harp. The band gigged in and around the Youngstown, Ohio area, finding work anywhere from school dances to clubs. This incarnation of the band recorded several demos and released the single "Where Did My World Come From?" on the United Audio label in 1969.
Markulin left the group to join his cousin Joe in another successful Youngstown band, The Human Beinz. Keaggy and Sferra then recruited bass player Daniel Pecchio. Pecchio, formerly of the band The Poppy, was also a flautist, a talent that would later be showcased on a few of Glass Harp's songs. Having recorded a new set of demos and signing with new management, the band set out to polish their live act and shop for a recording deal.
The band quickly found a following in the thriving music scene of Northeast Ohio, particularly alongside contemporaries such as The James Gang. Glass Harp was especially popular at the legendary JB's in Kent, Ohio, playing to packed houses during the volatile days surrounding the anti-war demonstrations at Kent State University.
With their latest demos having found the ears of Grammy Award-winning producer Lewis Merenstein, Glass Harp began work on their first album for the Decca label in the fall of 1970. The debut album (as well as the two subsequent studio albums) was recorded in Jimi Hendrix's Electric Lady Studios with Merenstein as producer.
Following the release of their 1970 debut album, Glass Harp soon began getting more high-profile opening spots for the biggest bands of the day such as Alice Cooper, Chicago, Yes, Traffic, and Grand Funk Railroad among many others.
Contrary to the tight production and song-oriented nature of their studio albums, the band's live shows at the time demonstrated Glass Harp's ability to stretch out and expand the boundaries of their compositions. While Glass Harp could be very at home with the progressive rock bands of the era, they were in fact one of the pioneers of what would later be known as the jam rock genre, with songs many times reaching over 30 minutes in length with extended solo passages and group improvisation.
By 1971, Glass Harp became one of the most popular (if not one of the highest-paid) groups in Northeast Ohio. This led to both supporting and headlining shows nationally from The Fillmore East to The Winterland Ballroom. On November 21, 1971, the band played an opening spot for The Kinks at New York's prestigious Carnegie Hall, receiving a thunderous ovation at the end of their hour-long set. This performance was released as the Live At Carnegie Hall album in 1997.
1972 would be a pivotal year for the group. Having recently released a second album (Synergy) Glass Harp were asked to perform a live concert on PBS in February. This broadcast would become groundbreaking in that it was one of the first to be simulcast on both television and then-nascent FM radio. While an off-air recording of this performance was heavily bootlegged on video for decades, the master tape was later located and subsequently released on DVD as Circa 72 2006.
On August 6, 1972 (shortly before their third studio album It Makes Me Glad was released) Phil Keaggy played his final show with Glass Harp at My Father's Place, Roslyn, NY before embarking on a solo career. Having already written Christian-themed lyrics throughout his time in Glass Harp, Keaggy first found an audience in the burgeoning Jesus music scene, and later achieved worldwide fame as both a songwriter and instrumentalist as it evolved into Contemporary Christian Music.
With tour of East Coast colleges and universities having already been booked for September 1972 in support of It Makes Me Glad, Sferra and Pecchio replaced Keaggy with guitarist Tim Burks. In April 1973, violinist Randy Benson (formerly of Tiny Alice) was added to the lineup. The music of four-piece lineup took on a more progressive edge, similar to King Crimson and The Moody Blues (while studio and live radio broadcast recordings exist from this period, they remain officially unreleased as of 2012). This brief incarnation of the group lasted into October 1973, when they reverted back to the trio of Sferra/Pecchio/Burks following Benson's departure. Their last known concert before disbanding was on December 2, 1973 at Norwalk High School, Norwalk, Ohio. All three members immediately moved on to other projects. Sferra and Burks formed the short-lived group Hartship in 1974, while Pecchio became a founding member of the popular Michael Stanley Band.
May 30, 1972
02. On Our Own
03. What The Lord Will Do For You
06. Let The Bells Ring
07. Song In The Air
08. See Saw
09. The Answer
10. David & Goliath