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Steve Walsh

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Steve Walsh Dark Days/Faule Dr Roane album cover
3.33 | 9 ratings | 3 reviews | 0% 5 stars

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Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, released in 2007

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Dark Day (5:35)
2. Faule Dr Roane (8:11)

Total Time: 13:46

Line-up / Musicians

- Steve Walsh / keyboards, vocals
- Joel Kosche / guitars
- Joe Franco / drums
- David Ragsdale / violin

Releases information

Digital - 2007

Thanks to ClemofNazareth for the addition
and to SouthSideoftheSky for the last updates
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STEVE WALSH Dark Days/Faule Dr Roane ratings distribution

(9 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(0%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(50%)
Good, but non-essential (25%)
Collectors/fans only (12%)
Poor. Only for completionists (12%)

STEVE WALSH Dark Days/Faule Dr Roane reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by ClemofNazareth
3 stars This disc is basically a single from Kansas keyboardist and frontman Steve Walsh, and as far as I know these are the first compositions he’s written in a few years, at least since his 2005 ‘Shadowman’ release. I don’t know if these will end up on a traditional label release at some point, but these are being distributed solely electronically by at the moment. This is a bit of a surprising release, mostly because Walsh has said more than once that he wouldn’t write for Kansas again, and because he hasn’t been exactly been prolific as a solo songwriter the past several years.

But we Kansas and Walsh fans will take what we can get, and as it turns out these are two pretty solid tracks. Walsh plays keyboards and provides the vocals of course, and is well-supported by Collective Soul guitarist Joel Kosche, Good Rats/Twisted Sister/ Widowmaker drummer Joe Franco, and once and again violinist David Ragsdale.

The music tends to the heavy side but is certainly not metal, more like the stuff Walsh did on ‘Shadowman’ and a bit more accessible and less dark than ‘Glossolalia’. The tempo is closer to ‘Shadowman’ or “Under the Knife” from the 1994 Kansas album ‘Freaks of Nature’, although less dark than that album as well.

Walsh’s voice is quite strong throughout, and the songwriting is very tight with substantive lyrics. “Dark Day” was written in reaction to Walsh watching the tragedy of Hurricance Katrina unfold, and particularly its effect on New Orleans. Beyond just the fact that Walsh is known for his charitable efforts for those less fortunate than himself, he also has a connection to New Orleans from the early Kansas days when the band found the town to be a sort of second home on the road. Plus he lives in the American South in Georgia, and most of those states saw the struggles and suffering in the refugees who escaped from New Orleans after the floods and resettled, particularly in the South. The lyrics tell of the despair of losing homes, loved ones, and even hope, but this is a compassionate reflection, not a bitter or accusatory one. Ragsdale is very aggressive on violin, and Kosche’s guitar work is tight and energetic. Walsh on keyboards is the most expressive and complex I’ve heard him be in many years. This is an excellent song that I hope finds some radio play, especially since Walsh is donating part of the proceeds to the Louisiana Association of Student Nurses to help reestablish the health care infrastructure that is so desperately needed there. Walsh and Kansas also donated a recording of “Song for America” last year for a compilation album for Hurricane Katrina victims.

I’ve tossed around possible meanings for the words in “Faule dr Roane”, but am probably wrong. This appears to be a lament about the social decay or a bellicose society or something like that – the lyrics describe battles and death and defeat anyway. I wonder if this is a pseudonym for the Fall of Rome, maybe as an allegory for the United States, or maybe some enemy of the U.S., not sure. The line “A king will lose his son in the battle of “Faule dr Roane”; O ye the barbarian tree, come to me, come to me” seems to suggest Rome anyway, although I suspect Walsh had something more contemporary in mind. I believe a ‘barbarian tree’ is also a weapon or something in the Civilization III video game as well though, so who knows.

Anway, “Faule dr Roane” is a little heavier and faster-paced than “Dark Days”, and on this one there can be no comparison to Kansas. This isn’t too far distant from some of the stuff Walsh has done with Trent Gardner and Explorer’s Club, except that the keyboards are much better and I don’t think Gardner uses violin much in his many projects.

So not really progressive music I suppose, but a nice little surprise from Mr. Walsh that I don’t believe anyone expected. So three stars and here’s hoping the creative bug bites him again soon, although who knows since the liner notes for this disk include this statement from Walsh: “’Dark Days’ and ‘Faule dr Roane’ are the last songs in my life”. Hopefully he meant to say “latest”.


Review by SouthSideoftheSky
3 stars A not so dark a day in Kansas

This EP/single by Kansas singer Steve Walsh contains two strong tracks and about 15 minutes of music in total. As far as I understand this was never given a physical release, but were only made available as MP3 downloads. But I do think that some versions of Walsh's solo album Shadowman had these two songs tagged on as bonus tracks.

Ironically, given the title of the first song, these songs are less dark and more melodic compared to the material on Walsh's solo album Glossolalia (I have yet to hear his most recent full lenght solo effort Shadowman) and more in line with his day job in Kansas. This is partly due to the strong presence of violin, here played by sometime Kansas member David Ragsdale, and partly due to the more Kansas-like song writing. These songs therefore have a more "classic" feel.

In addition to the great violin play we also have strong guitar work that is a bit more melodic and less aggressive compared to what we find on Glossolalia. The up tempo, five and a half minute, Dark Day features a strong melody and a good vocal. Steve's vocals are not quite what they used to be, but I still like his distinctive voice very much here. On some recent Kansas live recordings his voice was clearly a bit strained and he often tried to outdo himself with unnecessary vocal acrobatics. Here, however, his voice sounds just fine.

Personally, I enjoy these songs very much. For fans of Kansas, this EP is highly recommended. For the Prog fan in general this is a very good addition to your collection but - particualrly as it is only a short EP - not essential.

Review by Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I seriously hope Steve Walsh was lying through his teeth when he claimed these would be the last songs of his life. His skill as a musical craftsman has improved tremendously since the turn of the century, perhaps because the man had finally decided to discard the childish pretense of the arena rock star and concentrate his abilities into projects full of reflection and observation, thereby enabling him to compose music that is both lyrically and musically deep. Both Glossolalia and Shadowman are recommended (the former more so than the latter), and this surprise two-track EP will receive no less praise from me. The music is cumbersome and thick, but despite what the album artwork or titles might have one to believe, not altogether dark, as most of it sticks with a major key and remains fairly upbeat with great hooks and amazing execution. For those dyed-in-the-wool Kansas fans, these two pieces might have found an appropriate home on Freaks of Nature, as they boast a similar thick, edgy, raw sound, as well as swirling violin from David Ragsdale.

"Dark Day" I was not expecting the synthesizer tone that began this piece, but it establishes the main theme so that the majestic violin could take it over, playing it on top of dense overdriven guitar. Intelligent lyrics paint a nightmarish image in spite of a bright and wonderfully memorable melody (I'll be damned if I wasn't singing this song after the first time hearing it). The guitar solo is admirable- technical without overcompensating. Simply put, this is one of Walsh's most amazing pieces.

"Faule Dr Roane" Electric guitar churns out a crunchy riff that gives way to soft acoustic and lovely violin. While not as smoothly structured as its brother on this EP, this lengthier work is almost just as memorable, containing even more esoteric (yet seemingly historical) lyrics. The composition exists in the throes of progressive metal and symphonic rock. Robust and intriguing, the instrumental section incorporates several effects and new sounds (like that of a Mediaeval battle- one can hear the swords and halberds clash) before falling into a tight jam with many great guitar licks. Here lies another fantastic piece of music, but hopefully not a certain keyboardist's solo career.

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