It's been ten years since your last holiday recording. What inspired you to record Welcome Inn?

Phil Keaggy: My friends and family said,"Phil, it's time for you to make another Christmas album." I always wanted to do a vocal Christmas album with mostly original songs.

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Having produced and recorded it all yourself, is this record more personal than past efforts?

Keaggy: Most everything I do in my home studio is very personal because it's a quiet atmosphere, so it makes everything sound a bit intimate. Most of my home recordings tend to be more acoustical, though I also do electric guitar, mainly for others' sessions.

This record is quite the family affair with your children, Ian and Olivia, contributing vocals. What role does music play in your family's holiday traditions?

Keaggy: Music is always going on. Bernadette [his wife] loves cooking to music. We love eating to music. I love creating music, but I also like quietness so I can enjoy music. 

Our daughter Alicia has sung on a number of my tunes and Ian can be heard on "Why" from the Dream Again CD. Our daughter Olivia debuts as a soloist on Welcome Inn.

With so many beloved carols, how do you choose?

Keaggy: I had a hard time choosing a lot of carols because so many people choose the familiar carols. My first instrumental Christmas CD Majesty and Wonder had many familiar tunes, so I thought I would try to create a Christmas album with original selections.

With the holiday's rich heritage of music, is it intimidating to add your original songs to Christmastime?

Keaggy: No, because there are millions of Christmas albums, so what's one more? But seriously folks, yes, in a way it is hard to make a Christmas album. There could be many comparisons if I had sung the old standards, so I felt that mostly original songs might make the album feel more unusual and personal.

What is the story behind the song, "Father?"

Keaggy: I wrote it 30 years ago in Paul Clark's basement for someone's Christmas compilation, and I chose to keep it to myself. It stayed in my mind and heart. It amazes me that at this time, 30 years later, it found just the right "home."

What is Phil Keaggy's Christmas wish this year?

Keaggy: I wish and pray for peace in 2010. I also pray that many will come to know the Christ I am singing about on Welcome Inn.