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Jordan Rudess

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Jordan Rudess The Road Home album cover
3.20 | 102 ratings | 21 reviews | 24% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 2007

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Dance on a Volcano (8:44)
2. Sound Chaser (12:54)
3. Just the Same (8:22)
4. J.R. Piano Medley (8:22) :
- i. Soon
- ii. Supper's Ready
- iii. I Talk to the Wind
- iv. And You and I
5. Piece of the π (3:05)
6. Tarkus (22:47)

Total Time 64:14

Line-up / Musicians

- Jordan Rudess / keyboards, Continuum Fingerboard, vocals (4)

- Neal Morse / vocals (1)
- Nick D'Virgilio / vocals (2)
- Kip Winger / vocals (2,3,6)
- Bert Baldwin / vocals (4)
- Steven Wilson / vocals (6)
- Marco Sfogli / guitar (1)
- Ed Wynne / guitar solos (2,3)
- Ricky Garcia / guitar (2,6)
- Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal / guitar (3,6)
- Rod Morgenstein / drums

Releases information

Covers of songs by Genesis (#1), Yes (2), Gentle Giant (3) and EL&P (6) plus an original (track 5)

Artwork: Derek Riggs

CD Magna Carta ‎- MA-9092-2 (2007, US)

Thanks to Corujolio for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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JORDAN RUDESS The Road Home ratings distribution

(102 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(24%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(38%)
Good, but non-essential (24%)
Collectors/fans only (9%)
Poor. Only for completionists (6%)

JORDAN RUDESS The Road Home reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Muzikman
5 stars Jordan Rudess has found his Road Home through music. The versatile keyboard player that was once a classical pianist entered the world of progressive rock with Dream Theater many years ago and has never looked back, except on this album where he stops to reflect upon the music that got him where he is today.

Rudess is prog-metal royalty now and it is obvious to me after listening to The Road Home that his love for this music has not waned at all over the years; on the contrary, it feels strong and poignant. The keyboard wizard makes every track his own by improvising and adding his special touch to give each one the respect it deserves while making sure his stamp is left everywhere in between. There are six tracks on this CD with the classic ELP track "Tarkus" running for nearly 24 minutes alone; it's packed with long stretches of keyboard virtuosity. This is what you want to hear if you happen to love the original tracks and appreciate the talent and genius of Mr. Rudess.

It is only fitting that Rudess surrounds himself with others from the same category to pay tribute to the music he loves. Jordan gets some first rate assistance from the prog world's best such as singer Neal Morse, who does a terrific job with "Dance on a Volcano," then Kip Winger and Nick D Virgillio (Spock's Bear) trade off on vocals with "Sound Chaser" and Steve Wilson (Porcupine Tree) contributes his fine vocalizations on "Stones of Years". On the instrumental side of the equation, the excellent drummer Rod Morgenstein (The Dixie Dregs, Winger) contributes heavily while Ricky Garcia and Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal (Guns n' Roses) peel off some scorching guitar solos.

On "I Talk To The Wind" Jordan turns in a surprisingly good vocal treatment. It comes as a surprise of course as he normally performs instrumental pieces and does not contribute vocals on the Dream Theater albums. So overall there are plenty of instances that alert your senses while taking The Road Home with Jordan Rudess. The album cover art is typically progressive and filled with fantasy, depicting Rudess following his path to the futuristic metropolis that sits in front of him with all its glorious architecture and power - much like the music he makes and the imagery it creates throughout this entire package. I could not have asked for a better solo project, and best of all it comes right from his very soul transported directly to your ears.

Review by chopper
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I don't know too much about the work of Jordan Rudess in Dream Theater but I was so surprised to come across this in a local shop that I thought I'd give it a try. A bit of a risky enterprise - taking on some of the great prog classics including the full Tarkus epic - but I would say he has managed to pull it off. Starting off with an excellent version of "Dance on a Volcano", featuring Neal Morse on vocals and some embellishments in an extended instrumental section, this shows Steve Hackett how he should have done it on "Genesis Revisited". He then takes a bigger risk with "Soundchaser" but again it's a success as he plays on the jazzier aspects of the song, replacing the Squire bass with a funky keyboard sound and using a similar bendy keyboard sound to Moraz. The guitar solo section (from Ed Wynne) is changed to more of a shredding solo and the ending section doesn't quite have the manic qualities of the original, but a good effort at what must be a very difficult number to cover. Good vocals from Nick D'Virgilio and Kip Winger. Gentle Giant's "Just the Same" from "Free Hand" gets a sympathetic treatment with a great synth solo.

The solo piano medley is a good idea, featuring melodies from "Soon", "Supper's Ready", "I Talk to the Wind" and "And You And I", but is far too over-embellished and unfortunately ends up sounding like Richard Clayderman plays prog. "Piece of the Pi" is a short but manic Rudess jazz-fusion number.

The CD ends up with the full version of "Tarkus", soon after Zip Tang attempted the same and, whilst more similar to the original than the Zip Tang version, the vocals are better and there's some excellent and occasionally surprising use of keyboard sounds here (although that has to be weighed against the also occasional moment where he veers alarmingly back towards Richard Clayderman territory). Steven Wilson is the lead vocalist on "Stone of Years"

Rudess has taken a risk and I feel he has succeeded on the whole. Although some of these versions are bound to come off worse in direct comparison to the originals because they're such classics, this is an enjoyable listen, well-played by a stellar cast of musicians, and a CD I will probably be playing quite regularly.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Great interpretations of the Titans!

When I knew about Rudess was about to release this album that contains a tribute to the legendary bands, I was not quite excited about it. But I received many prog SMS from prog colleagues in Indonesia as well as Singapore that informed me this is a great tribute album, I wanted really to proof it myself. Thanks to my prog colleague Koni, who has loaned me this album for my own experience enjoying the album. Well. it blew me away at first spin! It's fabulous! It's especially true for those of you who have been familiar with songs of prog in the glory days of 70s. Right away, I thought that this album would be a great "marketing tool" to educate young rockers or young prog lovers who mostly think that prog music equals to Dream Theater. Now, having enjoyed this album, the youngsters would get a complete horizon on the beauty of glorious music of the 70s. Hopefully they would collect the 70s prog albums like from Genesis, Yes, ELP and in fact Gentle Giant, King Crimson etc. I am enjoying this album with a very big excitement not that the old songs being tributed but with the fact that Mr. Rudess has great interpretations about old prog music and he has put different arrangements in some segments of the songs.

The cover art of this album with Rudess walking back to great castles representing great music of the past, it indicates two points. First, the music of the past who have been laid down wonderfully by pioneers of progressive music are gems that we need to maintain and revisit to give appreciation on their contribution. Second, it shows that Rudess is an open minded person that wants to explore the past gems created by the pioneers. In rock / metal scene, Yngwie Malmsteen has done it quite well when he released "Inspirations" album where he played songs by Deep Purple, UK, Rainbow, Kansas, etc.

Let's have a look in a bit details .

Dance on a Volcano which originally appeared in Genesis "A Trick of The Tail" album sounds like having nothing different from original version. But hold on .. this is happening only at the opening (intro) part where there were guitar fills in the original version - and being maintained so by Rudess. The only different thing is that the guitar fills are produced from Rudess' keyboard instead of real thing. But it's okay .. it sounds much modern, indeed. What makes the song interesting is on the music nuance with the use of (originally) Taurus bass pedals and is now replaced by his keyboard's bass pedals. It sounds so symphonic and captivating listening pleasure. You will get best subtleties if you play this song VERY LOUD in your decent home stereo set. WOW! It's great man! One distinctive nature of this composition is the music interlude where Jordan provides his full-fledge skills to make multi-layers keyboard work and making this song so powerful. It's really different from the original version. I really enjoy this masterpiece composition!

Sound Chaser which was originally appeared in Yes "Relayer" album with Patrick Moraz as keyboard player is delivered wonderfully by Rudess. The toughest part (I think) during the interlude part has been made in such a way that inquiring the mind of the listeners - be it a Yes fan or not. It's so powerful. In fact, since the opening part with ambient keyboard work plus dynamic drums work, it clearly indicates that this is a nice piece of composition. It's surprising to me that this song flows in a unique way but Rudess still can trace back the routes precisely and making excellent modifications on some segments of the music. The guitar solo in the middle of the track is made totally different with Mr. Howe's version in Relayer album. This interpretation is also a masterpiece.

Just The Same surprised me, really. It's not that this is not famous song by regular prog lovers. But, I cannot imagine and I have never thought before that Rudess paid attention in fact to the complicated band like Gentle Giant. Bravo, Mr. Rudess! I salute you on this. In fact, this song has been made differently in the interlude part - and not so much on the main structure / melody of the song. The choirs that appeared in the original version by Gentle Giant have been overcome beautifully by Rudess and it does not create any harm at all listening to this v=version. The interlude is so powerful and it moves to different style than what it supposed to be with bass guitar solo and guitar solo in addition to keyboard. It's truly a masterpiece! No doubt about it!

JR Piano Medley represents great classical music comprehension of Jordan Rudess. It's truly nice during the opening until "Soon" (Yes) being bluntly shown as melody and it then moves brilliantly to the opening part of "Supper's Ready" (Genesis). I'm sure that those of you who have adored the legends must enjoy this medley. At the end of Supper's Ready we are then surprised with the first verse of "I Talk To The Wind" (King Crimson). It's truly brilliant, my friend!

Beware of "musical" Multiple Orgasms!

Tarkus by Emerson Lake & Palmer interpreted brilliantly through this version. It starts similar as the original version and moves smoothly from one segment to another. It's quite surprising to me especially, hearing this song which has been more than 35 years, played with modern equipment makes the nuance enriched in such a way. Again, I never imagined Jordan would play this song as good as this one. With Tarkus as concluding track, Jordan wanted to show that this is the peak of his interpretations. As he acknowledged (thanks, Bang Ijal!) that he has been inspired by Keith Emerson, Patrick Moraz, Rick Wakeman, it's clear that he fully explores his talents and skills through this great composition. Beware of "musical" multiple orgasms when you enjoy this track because each segment creates WOW experience for me. Oh man .. .this is truly an orgasm for me. It blows me away! Jordan is great in making this song such interesting and powerful. I have spent two hours writing this review because I cannot help it . this record is absolutely marvelous!!! In each segments he provides acrobatic interlude demonstrating his dazzling keyboard genius! In fact, the guitar solo has been made differently and it sounds much better. Well, I'd better stop this review. Otherwise, you will be tired reading it. It's masterpiece man!

Overall, this album is a MUST for those who love legendary prog music and who have not been familiar with Jordan Rudess. He has been known for his pulsating keyboard talents in Dream Theater songs since "Scene From a Memory" album and he proves now that he can play legendary songs better. It's a true masterpiece of prog music. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED and A MUST! Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

A review by Rizal B Prasetijo

Right after writing the above review, my prog mate Rijal (Ijal) purchased the CD and last night (20 Dec 07) he wrote his views:

Jordan Rudess' The Road to Home by Rizal B Prasetijo

Under the influence of Gatot "Top Markotop" Widayanto (I should probably say, under his encouragement), I listened to Jordan Rudess' The Road to Home (Magna Carta 2007 pressing). The CD consists of Mr. Rudes' (his real born last name only has one s) interpretation on a number of his keyboardist idols' artworks, such as Patrick Moraz's Sound Chaser (Yes, Relayer, 1974) and Keith Emerson's Tarkus (ELP, Tarkus, 1971), as well as his fave bands, such as Genesis (Dance on Volcano, A Trick of the Tail, 1976) and Gentle Giant (Just the Same, Free Hand, 1975). Simply put, this is Jordan's' musical adaptation on the "golden era" of progressive rock. He collaborated with his old friend, Rod Morgenstein, the Dixie Dreg's left handed drummer (the band that Mr. Rudes was associated with before joining Dream Theater) in this album.

As other prog rock keyboardists, Jordan had initially a classical training in Juilliard School of Music when he was nine years old (He thanked his mom, Rita, for driving him taking piano lessons in the album sleeve). But what make him different to other keyboardists is his interest on synthesizers. By early 1970s (he was at his late teens by that time), Mr. Rudes has already played the instrument in the prog rock space. If you are a Dream Theater fans, you will notice Jordan' unique fast tempo complicated style using a lot of "pitching" techniques (electric slinky sounds), much more agressive than the one adopted by his idols, Messrs. Emerson and Moraz, in early 1970s.

The album started with Genesis' Dance on A Volcano. One thing immediately struck my ears is--thanks to John Gutch's great recording technique--Morgenstein's drumming is more powerful than Collins or Bruford's (when the song was played alive in Second Out) original drumming, while Mr. Rudes' digital bass pedal is also more forceful than Rutherford's original analog bass sound. Indeed, his digital bass pedal sonic boom gives the composition a new meaning, in my view, though you need to have a good sound system and sub woofer to really enjoy Jordan's sub 500Hz bass pedal sonics boom.

At 4:20", the original composition was altered completely, Mr. Rudes introduced his own notes, surprisingly somewhat similar to Moraz's alternate progressive jazz rock notes in Yes Relayer (comments welcome). One drag in this composition is Neal Morse's (Spock's Beard) vocal. I think his voice color failed to match Collin's theatrical singing style.

Having been somewhat set into Moraz's ambiance, Sound Chaser is an obvious choice for the next piece. Rod Morgenstein's drumming rhythm is richer than Alan White's original drumming, while D'Virgilio and Winger's duo color voices matched Jon Anderson's high octave voice at the beginning of the song. Unfortunately, Jordan's digital bass pedal failed to replicate the Squire's Rickenbacker 401 dynamic analog bass sound.

At 2:55", the composition changed completely. It was initially led by Ed Wynne's guitar solo, then followed by Mr. Rudes' keyboard, and closed by Ricky Garcia's guitar solo. The 5:35" "free interpretation" section is an exciting one. It definitely captures Moraz's spirit in experimenting his synthesizers (the bulk of his equipments were directly obtained from developers and were still in prototype stage) during the recording of the Relayer.

The composition returned back to its original format at 8:20". I also note that Mr. Rudes was able to make the "cha cha cha" chorus more lively than the original one. I wonder what Messrs. Anderson, Squire, Howe, White, and Moraz's comments will be having heard Jordan's interpretation on their own artworks.

Frankly speaking, I would rather not commenting in details the 8:22" third track, adapted from Gentle Giant's Just the Same as I have almost zero knowledge on the band. That said, you could hear some syncopation as well as hocketing techniques (especially in between 6:00" to 6:20") played by Mr. Rudes via his Korg Oasys and Radius rather than via two different instruments. Note that these two techniques are part of Gentle Giant Kerry Minnear's uniquenesses (comments welcome) in composing Gentle Giant's music.

The next track is called JR Piano Medley. The 8:22" composition is the combination of Yes' Soon, Genesis' Supper's Ready, King Crimson's I Talk to the Wind, and Yes' And You and I. The medley was beautifully played in the Steinway D Concert grand piano. Through his genius mind, Jordan was able to pick the "right" part of these songs, re-composed and played it in gentle and subtle manners. The quality of the composition is further boosted by John Gutch's recording technique, resulted in a clean reproduction of the brightness (the trademark) of Steinway D Concert grand piano in my sound system. Bravo!!!!

The 3:05" "Piece of the " is the only Mr. Rudes' own artwork in this album. It started with digital outer space sound, followed by the like of Mr. Moraz's progressive jazz rock sound in Yes Relayer, intermitted by a brief country piano, and closed by digitally wheezing liners (I thought something has gone wrong with my CD player). In my humble opinion, the album would be better without this track.

Finally, the album is ended by the 22:47" Jordan's interpretation on one of ELP's finest symphonic rock songs--Tarkus. This is the best track in my view as Mr. Rudes was able to distillate ELP's Tarkus war epic (the birth of half armadillo/half tank creature, called Tarkus, its fight against Manticore, and its transformation into Aquatarkus) in richer notes than its orginal song and, therefore, appealing for a wider audience.

I sense that Jordan's keyboard and bass pedal were more articulate than Keith Emerson's keyboard and Greg Lake's original bass, respectively, while Morgenstein's drumming was equivalent to Carl Palmer's in the "Eruption" section. But, what really makes the composition is richer than its original recording is Ricky Gracia's jazzy subtle solo guitar on "Stones of Year" at 2:40" to 3:40", followed by Steven Wilson's vocal (sorry to say, his voice is better than Greg Lake's) backed by Mr. Rudes' jazzy keyboard.

Jordan's keyboard and Rod's drumming adaptations on "Iconoclast" between 4:49" to 7:20" really blew up my mind. I've never thought that the composition can be played in a such beautiful manner. Winger came in and sang for the "Mass" section. My ears were further surprised by Messrs. Rudes and Morgenstein's abilities to revive the spirit of and to enrich ELP's Manticore and Battlefield notes and sounds between 8:00" to 13:10". Similar to the Dance on a Volcano, the usage of Jordan's bass pedal and pitching (listen to the booming sound at 9:30" and 10:38") made these section more lively than their original songs.

The track was finally closed by 11 minutes adaptation on "Aquatarkus". Ron Thal (Gun N' Roses guitarist) added a heavy metal touch on the section. But, the real climax is Jordan's last 2:47" play, in which he inserted the progressive jazz rock element as the "finale" part of his 22:47" interpretation on Tarkus. What a great ending!

While I would rather opting the original composition, no matter how inferior they were, Jordan Rudess' The Road to Home clearly offers you another perspective how these legend songs could be played. At the end, I wonder had these legend songs been recorded according to Mr. Rudes' way, what these songs would have been. Happy listening. Best regards, Rizal B. Prasetijo

Review by Negoba
2 stars Fair Novelty Album Showcases Chops on some Old Favorites

I came to Jordan Rudess' The Road Home trying to give him a fair shake as I've been a long sufferer of nostalgia for Kevin Moore era Dream Theater. Rudess has always seemed to be more of a shredder and less of a musical texture composer, simply a little less artistic to my ear. Given the fact that part of the appeal of DT was hearing remarkable players go off on their instruments, Rudess certainly fits in to the group.

The album in question did not change my opinion at all. It is pure candy, but you can't deny that both artist and listener get to share in some fun. Playing mainly covers of prog classics, Rudess combines with a variety of other heavyweights to create some fun, if uncreative music. Most of the songs are played quite faithfully early on, only to explore a bit during middle sections and then return to the original at the end. The renditions range from good to poor.

My favorite is Gentle Giant's "Just the Same" on which Rudess actually sings admirably. One of later GG's only weaknesses was Derek Shulman's strained vocals, and Rudess's timbre is coarse enough to add a new sound to the song, but actually more precise in execution. Rudess, as usual, overplays solos and adds way too many ornaments to an already complex song, but the cover catches the balance between fresh and original ideas better than any others on the disc.

The worst cover is Genesis' "Dance on a Volcano," which is extremely stiff, sounding as if the band is struggling to pull it off. Neal Morse's experienced vocals are worse than Phil Collins' rookie album performance, which is a very sad statement indeed. The powerful danger of the original is replaced by clinical precision, making one realize how great the old bands were in making complex time signatures groove and emote. More than anything else, this song already did what Rudess does best, which is make cool-sounding keyboard soundscapes. There was nothing he could improve. Most of all, the drumming on the cover simply highlights just how phenomenal Collins was at that point in his career.

The longer covers of "Tarkus" and "Sound Chaser" are mixed bags, with some nice nostalgia, plenty of wankery, and a few bad choices. Trying to fix the "Cha Cha Cha" section of the latter was a mission doomed to fail from the start. The former sports some interesting key sounds, but it may be truly impossible from a historic point of view to eclipse Emerson in that department.

Rudess composed two of the pieces himself, and they couldn't be more different. The JR piano medley is an overwrought mess utilizing parts of Yes' "Soon," and "And You and I," Genesis' "Supper's Ready," (what is the point of that song without lyrics???), and King Crimson's "I Talk to the Wind." The renditions add absolutely nothing to the ideas of the originals except self-indulgent speed runs. The purely original "Piece of the Pi" is just a fun prog key romp which doesn't aspire to much but succeeds in pleasing key and chops fans. Now that's something Rudess can do.

Overall, this album is a fun thing to sample but not worth spending any money on. I used up my on-demand streaming on internet radio, and that was probably more time than it deserved. Clearly two star material. Not unpleasant but good for novelty value only.

Review by jampa17
3 stars I'm not related that well with the original songs, so I hear it as with virgin ears, not comparing the album with nothing else... So, everything is fine with me, if you can handle a billion notes per second for an entire album, then maybe you can either...

The selection of songs he decide to cover are really odd... you know, pure master songs from the masters of prog rock... I found that the covers are great, the guess players are at the level of the Wizard, but sometimes I get bored with overplayed solos, here and there you get pure billion notes from guess guitar players or Jordan himself with his trademark keyboard-guitar- sound... I stil enjoy it... but to be honest, I think the piano medley is the real thing here... I truly believe jordan should take only a piano and quit with the synths... I know comparisons are bad, but Kevin Moore's sounds were better and fit great with the rock sound of DT (and those are 15 years dated...!!!) but being fair, I would say the album on it's own is great... as someother reviewer said, great fun, but lack of creativity... at the end that is something unfair because you know is a covers album... so I think we don't suppose to expect a lot more...

Is a good album to show that keyboards can rock as well as guitars... and to testify the limits of the instrument... is difficult to reach this amount of technic and quality of playing... so... my advise is that you should give it a try...

My favorites: "Dance in a Volcano" and "Jordan Rudess piano Medley"...

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Being a fan of Jordan Rudess' work with Dream Theater I wanted to hear how he would sound on his own and The Road Home felt like a plausible gateway to his work. The videos on YouTube where Jordan Rudess talks about the album definitely played an important part in that decision.

Well it's obvious that Jordan is a creative artist but somehow his work here rarely touches me in a way the original recordings of these compositions have done over the years. The only nice surprise here was the cover of Gentle Giant's Just The Same that, in my opinion, came close to sounding almost as good as the original.

The list of guest appearances is quite impressive but most of them result in somewhat uninspired performances that drag the album down for me. I'm also not that keen on the new sections (so called "original bits") that Rudess added to the compositions. It was definitely an interesting idea on paper but the results are far from impressive.

Still it's hard to hate the album for not trying so cheers to Jordan Rudess in hope of that his future recordings will be more appreciated by me.

**** star songs: Just The Same (8:22) Piece Of The Pi (3:05)

*** star songs: Dance On A Volcano (8:44) Sound Chaser (12:54) JR Piano Medley (8:22) Tarkus (22:47)

Review by Starhammer
3 stars Mapping the journey...

The eighth solo album from virtuoso keyboardist Jordan Rudess.

The Good: This is an album very close to my heart, as it was my personal gateway to the world of Prog. At the time I was obsessed with both Rush and Dream Theater (and had some interest in Camel), but other than that I knew little of what lay 'beneath the surface'. And so, like many people who run out of studio albums to listen to, I decided to investigate the band member's side projects and solo albums.

I had already listened to 'Feeding the Wheel' by Jordan Rudess and so the overall sound on 'The Road Home' felt familiar, what surprised me though was the quality of the compositions. The songs on this album were amazing! I think it was a full week before I noticed in the liner notes that the songwriting was attributed to other musicians. I knew Genesis and Yes from Land of Confusion and Owner of a Lonely Heart, and recognised King Crimson as 'the band that Tony Levin from LTE used to play for', but had never heard of ELP or Gentle Giant. Ah, to be young and naive! These were all bands that had influenced Jordan Rudess in his early years, and so this was a tribute of sorts with an all star line-up including Rod Mogenstein, Neal Morse, Steven Wilson and Nick D'Virgilio.

Nowadays my music collection has grown exponentially in all directions and features over 500 albums from some 200 artists, with the superb track selection on this disc being largely responsible.

The Bad: Despite some new material and interesting artistic interpretation, this is essentially just a 'cover' album and as such I find it hard to consider it an 'excellent addition'.

The Verdict: It certainly doesn't feel like four years.

Review by Neu!mann
3 stars Keyboard speed merchant Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater; The Dregs) assembled an impressive guest list for his '07 covers album, paying enthusiastic tribute to the Prog Rock heroes of our collective adolescence. Neal Morse and Nick D'Virgilio from Spock's Beard were both on hand; so were Ed Wynne (of Ozric Tentacles) and the ubiquitous Steve Wilson, plus several other players who weren't Tony Levin (the celebrated Stick Man must have had another dozen sessions scheduled that day...)

The good news here is the material itself. Honestly, who among us wouldn't leap at the chance to hear this all-star roster rummaging through the back catalogues of Genesis, Yes, Gentle Giant, King Crimson, and ELP? That instant familiarity is the ace up the album's sleeve: no effort is required to get into the music, especially when so little apparent effort went into the actual arrangements.

And that's the not-so-good news. These new versions stick uncomfortably close to the originals, typically adding little interpretation beyond (no surprise here) a lot of virtuoso soloing. Otherwise the structure of each selection is more or less intact, and too bad: a challenging song like "Sound Chaser" is crying out for an unexpected facelift.

"You better start doing it right", sings Neal Morse in "Dance On a Volcano", and it's a pity Rudess didn't take that admonition more to heart. Jon Anderson's mournful ballad "Soon", performed here as part of an extended solo piano medley, is a model of ostentatious over- embellishment, leading directly into a flamboyant abbreviation of "Supper's Ready", located on a scale of keyboard tackiness somewhere between Rick Wakeman and Liberace, minus only the candelabra. And the extended solo guitar spot during "Free Hand" only shows how resistant the music of Gentle Giant is to this kind of adaptation.

It's all fun stuff to be sure, and totally self-indulgent in a not altogether bad way: these guys have serious chops, and aren't ashamed to show them off. But it's too bad even a small crumb of subtlety wasn't included in their instrumental menu. With a little more nuance and a lot less grandstanding, Rudess and company might have touched real magic.

Still: it would be hard for anyone who grew up with this music not to respond to the dynamic production, and all the performance machismo. At its worst the album presents little more than a clinical display of cold virtuosity. But at its best it's an affectionate, often forthright stroll down memory lane.

Review by patrickq
2 stars The Road Home is an album of cover songs by Dream Theater keyboardist Jordan Rudess. Among the eight songs he reinterprets are three Yes and two Genesis songs, making this one especially interesting to me.

The strongest tunes here are the first three, 'Dance on a Volcano,' 'Sound Chaser,' and 'Just the Same.' Each adds some new interpretations to the original, although none is terribly interesting. Rudess, drummer Rod Morgenstein, and celebrity vocalists Neal Morse, Nick D'Virgilio, and Kip Winger - - all are technically very good, although the final results are a little clinical in my opinion.

Rudess's take on 'Tarkus' is OK; the problem for me is the choice of source material. Winger was the perfect choice to sing on the 'Battlefield' section - - who'd've thought? Of the non-cover song, 'Piece of the Pii' (which is how official sources tend to spell it), I'll just say that it's short and not as showboaty as it might've been.

My chief complaint, though, is with the piano medley. Mostly it consists of Rudess shoehorning about five times as many notes as needed into several classic prog-rock tunes. (To be fair, during 'I Talk to the Wind' it's only about three times.) Unlike 'Tarkus,' 'J.R. Piano Medley' has excellent song selection but poor realization. I saw Jordan Rudess play a solo concert once, and the guy is absolutely phenomenal. Technically, he must be in the same league as Wakeman and Emerson were in their respective primes. It just seems unnecessary to prove this, especially on a studio recording.

Speaking of using the studio to one's advantage, Rudess's vocals on 'I Talk to the Wind' are obviously sweetened, but why not? As others have pointed out, he's a decent singer (he even sang a verse or two at the concert I attended). But I guess his voice isn't suited for Dream Theater.

The Road Home is good for what it is: a chance for Rudess to pay homage to some of his all-time favorite progressive-rock songs and keyboardists - - and a chance to include an impressive roster of guitarists and singers as well. It was obviously a pet project for Rudess, and I think it's great that he reached a point in his career where he could record whatever he wanted, and have a nice album cover, without worrying what anyone else thought. It's cool that he can slip this one into the tape deck every once in a while.

Rudess's lack of concern for commercial appeal is refreshing, but it's resulted in an album that (perhaps not surprisingly) isn't very appealing. The Road Home is definitely one for Rudess fans and Dream Theater completists, but probably not many others.

Latest members reviews

2 stars Jordan Rudess has been around for more than 20 years in the prog-scene but I must admit I have always been on the verge of commenting his musical efforts as butteflying between some eclectic-crossover prog, jazz rock-fusion and progressive metal. Sometimes I strongly have the feeling that his true n ... (read more)

Report this review (#290589) | Posted by Lynx33 | Saturday, July 17, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Jordan Rudess'' 2007 "The Road Home" album showcases the Dream Theater keyboardist covering and reworking some of his favorite Prog Rock classics. Be warned, these are not your average "covers". Rudess re-arranged and transformed the songs into his own personal interpretations. "I wanted to play ... (read more)

Report this review (#263182) | Posted by LOUDTRAX | Thursday, January 28, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Admittedly, I've been a Yes fan much longer than I have been a Dream Theater fan, but in my attempts to branch out I thought I'd give this album a try. One thing is undeniable: Jordan Rudess has incredible talent. His technical expertise is unmatched (at least in my musical forays) by any othe ... (read more)

Report this review (#258651) | Posted by AmericanKhatru | Thursday, December 31, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Listen, I am not a covers guy. I avoid them like the sour milk. It is just not in my makeup to seek them out. Sometimes they are done well and I usually don't mind them as add-ons to proper albums. But a whole album of them? Forget it. But this is really good stuff we have here. Let the p ... (read more)

Report this review (#236298) | Posted by johnobvious | Tuesday, September 1, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars When talking about modern progressive rock genius, some names come pretty fast. Steven Wilson, Neal Morse, Nick D'Virgilio and of course... Jordan Rudess! The well known keyboardist decided to give himself a little gift with this epic six track cover album. After a brillant effort with his 2004 ... (read more)

Report this review (#173308) | Posted by Santerre | Sunday, June 8, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars A great tribute to the progressive roots of today's bands! I picked up this album after getting into Dream Theater, after which I was interested to hear more of Jordan Rudess' solo material. I was immediately intrigued by the tracklist which included some of my Yes and Genesis favorites. It was i ... (read more)

Report this review (#172361) | Posted by AdamantVision | Tuesday, May 27, 2008 | Review Permanlink

1 stars Do not waste your time and money: don't buy this album. Unless you have heard and enjoyed it. I didn't, and thanks to my personal politics about music (and the internet) I didn't buy this wanna-be tribute of prog giants. Don't like Dream Theater, but I didn't see any shadow of this group here ... (read more)

Report this review (#170181) | Posted by moodyxadi | Wednesday, May 7, 2008 | Review Permanlink

1 stars Don't bother to buy this, unless you want to complete your collection of albums from Jordan Rudess or Dream Theater or a list of keyboard players whose only talent is to play fast. This album is nothing but a proof that JR can play keyboards faster than anybody. His composition parts are totally ... (read more)

Report this review (#154753) | Posted by proglil49 | Saturday, December 8, 2007 | Review Permanlink

1 stars I don't know in other countries, but here in Brazil there's a lot of keyboardists wanting to punch Jordan Rudess. Why? Because he did a completely pointless and uninteresting album of covers. Jordan Rudess seems unsure if he's going to play like in the original versions or going to change them ( ... (read more)

Report this review (#138349) | Posted by Evandro Martini | Friday, September 14, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Jordan's best solo album by far, both for the tribute he pays to his inspirations such as Yes and ELP, and for the magically complex arrangements he has added that blend well with these compositions. Kieth Emerson himself has said of Tarkus: "Jordan's version...takes no prisoners, and handles it ... (read more)

Report this review (#132198) | Posted by KeysOnFire | Tuesday, August 7, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is another great release in this amazing year (07) of modern prog music. It's one of JR most diverse albums, that touches his classic prog loving influences & modern kb. wizardy from Dream Theater! And what a killer combination that is. You don't have the filling like listening to cover son ... (read more)

Report this review (#131800) | Posted by mp3killer | Sunday, August 5, 2007 | Review Permanlink

2 stars A keyboardist's album for keyboarders! I wouldn't suggest even giving this a chance if you're not a keyboard player. Rudess definitely plays like a champ but for anyone who's not interested in keyboards so much but in the music as a whole is going to get bored by this one. Some nice covers of cl ... (read more)

Report this review (#130400) | Posted by Tasartir | Friday, July 27, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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