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Kerry Livgren - Seeds Of Change CD (album) cover

SEEDS OF CHANGE

Kerry Livgren

 

Crossover Prog

3.49 | 24 ratings

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Epignosis
Special Collaborator
Eclectic Prog Team
3 stars Kerry Livgren had been saving some songs he'd been working on for a solo project, withholding them from Kansas after his conversation to Christianity in 1979. The music on this album is fairly diverse, and while there are many moments of brilliance, everything is pretty bland overall, especially compared to the amazing compositions he wrote for Kansas. There's an array of guest musicians, not the least of which is Barriemore Barlow of Jethro Tull fame and vocalist Ronnie James Dio.

"Just One Way" The first song from Livgren's debut has a fairly simple chord progression during the singing, but overall this song sounds like it was ripped right from the Audio-Visions sessions, especially the introduction. The soloing is good, but a little bland over the same chord progressions; what is missing are the carefully crafted sophisticated instrumental sections Livgren is known for.

"Mask of the Great Deceiver" The music here sounds rather different from Kansas, and Ronnie James Dio's gravelly voice alongside electric guitars give this song a somewhat heavier edge at times. It also has some subtle elements of R&B during the verses. The synthesizers in the instrumental section are intriguing

"How Can You Live" This, I believe, is the clearest "window" (no pun intended) that exists with regards to the question, "What would Kansas have sounded like if Steve Walsh hadn't left before the turn of the decade?" There's some slightly cheesier music that's riddled with pop-sounding melodies, basic chord progressions, and, of course, Christian lyrics.

"Whiskey Seed" Livgren is known to dabble in other styles of music from time to time ("Dust in the Wind," he admits, did not sound like anything Kansas would be doing). Here is a down home cornbread-and-biscuits blues song, with whiny slide acoustic guitar, harmonica, and this: Livgren actually takes to the microphone for once, and get this- the guy's voice sounds good on this sort of gritty, bluesy music. He actually sounds a bit like Greg Allman. This song is a curiosity more than fantastic music, but I take it for what it is.

"To Live for the King" Now this is something very different; if one were to ask (and I doubt I'll ever get asked this in my life), "What would it sound like if Livgren collaborated with Pink Floyd," I'd put this track on. The music, with that clean, chorus-laced guitar in the background, simple drumming, the choir piping in sometimes, the squealing lead guitar- take away the Christian lyrics, and what's left is something that would have fit right snugly in the middle of Wish You Were Here.

"Down to the Core" My least favorite song on the album is this one. The exaggerated vocals (which sound a little like those of the late Layne Staley from Alice in Chains, but in a bad way) are a little silly, and the music is nothing special. There are some good bits, but mostly it's boring and does nothing for me.

"Ground Zero" The longest piece is overall superior to everything else no the album. Finally, there's the elegant and more complex musical arrangements Livgren is so blessed with inventing. The piano playing throughout is very classy, and Kansas violinist Robby Steinhardt and drummer Phil Ehart join in. The music generally, however, sounds very similar to what Livgren would have on his instrumental album One of Several Possible Musiks.

Epignosis | 3/5 |

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