The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame + Museum

Cleveland's Glass Harp band

Monday, May 10: 10:32 a.m.
Posted by Jim Henke

Glass Harp is widely acknowledged as one of the most innovative rock bands to have ever emerged from the Cleveland rock and roll scene. Formed in Youngstown in the late Sixties, the band – Phil Keaggy on guitar, Daniel Pecchio on bass and John Sferra on drums – was a power trio in the tradition of Cream, the Jimi Hendrix Experience and the James Gang. But the group – which is currently represented in the Museum’s Ohio exhibit -- went beyond the blues-based stylings of those bands to create a sound all their own. At the center of Glass Harp’s sound was Keaggy’s lyrical, inventive guitar playing. So admired was Keaggy that, when asked who his favorite guitarist was, Jimi Hendrix cited Phil Keaggy. Glass Harp released three critically acclaimed albums and was on the verge of breaking big on the national scene when, in 1972, Keaggy left the band to pusue a career in Christian music. Twenty-five years later, in January 1997, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame opened an exhibit called My Town, which focused on Cleveland’s rock and roll history. I contacted the band members, and they agreed to re-form the original Glass Harp for an appearance at the Museum. Since then, the band has reunited from time to time, playing various shows and festivals. In late 2008, I contacted the group again and asked them to play a benefit show at the Beachland Ballroom in Cleveland. The benefit was for an organization called Roots of American Music, which takes musicians from the Cleveland area into local schools to teach the students about the blues, folk music and other styles of music that played a role in the development of rock and roll. Glass Harp agreed to play the show on November 1, 2008, and it was amazing. I’ve seen the group countless times over the last 40 years, and this show ranked right up there with their very best. The band taped the concert ,and it has just been released on CD. Glass Harp Live at the Beachland Ballroom 11.01.08 is available on the group’s website. It’s worth checking out. This band is one of the best to ever emerge out of the Cleveland area, and it’s truly wonderful that they are once again back together and at the peak of their performing powers.

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