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PROTO-KAW

Symphonic Prog • United States


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Proto-Kaw picture
Proto-Kaw biography
PROTO-KAW is a version of KANSAS that didn't quite make it. Originally named KANSAS, and led by Kerry Livgren, this band started out playing progressive music in the early 70s but due to a number of reasons, disbanded before hitting the big time. Livgren then teamed up with Steve Walsh, Phil Ehart, Rich Williams, Robbie Steinhardt and Dave Hope to form KANSAS which became the KANSAS we all know (and love!). Thus their music sounds a lot like KANSAS, although one can also hear influences of other bands such as GENESIS, JETHRO TULL (with the flute) and ELP, though it is a little disequilibrating to hear KANSAS music without Walsh or Steinhardt at the vocals (which is not a criticism - the vocalist is excellent). PROTO-KAW members are Livgren, Lynn Meredith on vocals, Dan Wright on organ, John Bolton on sax and flute, Craig Kew on bass and Brad Schulz on bass. The liner notes pay tribute to former member Don Montre who passed away at age 39.

The first CD, "Early Recordings from Kansas 1971-1973", is exactly what it sounds like - Livgren dug out old recordings, cleaned them up as much as possible and released them on this CD. KANSAS fans will recognize many passages from later KANSAS CDs as well as some song titles, e.g., "Belexes" and "Incommudro". The band members and especially Livgren were so energized by this release that they decided to build on its success and, in 2004, a second CD of original music was released, "Before Became After." It contains Livgren's signature style and the musicians are amazingly up to the task, considering that it's been 30 years since they played together and some, at least professionally, have had non-musical careers. The effort has been highly acclaimed and is a great addition to any fans of American progressive music, and a must-have for KANSAS fans.

: : : John Johnson, USA : : :

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The Wait of Glory (Re-Mixed)The Wait of Glory (Re-Mixed)
Numavox 2016
Audio CD$10.95
Before Became AfterBefore Became After
Numavox 2014
Audio CD$11.55
ForthForth
Numavox 2011
Audio CD$39.95 (used)
Before Became After by Proto-KawBefore Became After by Proto-Kaw
Numavox
Audio CD$37.60
Early Recordings From Kansas 1971-73 by PROTO-KAW (2002-09-17)Early Recordings From Kansas 1971-73 by PROTO-KAW (2002-09-17)
Cuneiform
Audio CD$75.64
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PROTO-KAW discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

PROTO-KAW top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.88 | 132 ratings
Before Became After
2004
3.65 | 92 ratings
The Wait Of Glory
2006
3.13 | 52 ratings
Forth
2011

PROTO-KAW Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

PROTO-KAW Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

PROTO-KAW Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.75 | 48 ratings
Early Recordings from Kansas 1971-1973
2002

PROTO-KAW Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

PROTO-KAW Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Before Became After by PROTO-KAW album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.88 | 132 ratings

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Before Became After
Proto-Kaw Symphonic Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

4 stars The band Kansas actually had three different line-ups in the 70s with only Kerry Livgren being the sole member to transverse all the different incarnations of the band. The band formed as far back as 1969 and went through a few cast member changes before a second version now referred to as Kansas II emerged in the aftermath. This is the period when Livgren and company produced a plethora of progressive leaning rock that took a cue from all the greats of the era including but limited to King Crimson, Yes, Pink Floyd, Zappa, Deep Purple and beyond. After the positive feedback from releasing their archival "Early Recordings From Kansas 1971-1973" in 2002, the newly named PROTO-KAW felt a magical rekindling of spirits and decided to have a go at taking a stab at the unfulfilled desires which they abandoned thirty years prior. Due to legal restrictions on how the trademarked band name Kansas could be used, the band cleverly found a way of telling the story all in the context of legal loopholes. PROTO (original) plus KAW (name of the Native American tribe also referred to as Kanza or Kansa) produced a name that had an exact equivalency and finally at long last despite most members not even being in contact with each other for three decades cleverly named their debut album of completely new music BEFORE BECAME AFTER.

This newly formed line up of Kansas II aka PROTO-KAW consisted of six musicians and a few extras. The songwriter-in-chief and musical director was Livgren who also contributes guitars, piano, keyboards and served as engineer-in-chief to boot. Also on board is Craig Kew on bass, Brad Schulz on drums, Dan Wright on organ, keys and percussion and the proto-vocalist Lynn Meredith who gave Steve Walsh a distinct style to improve upon. John Bolton is also on board and contributes the sax and flute which were present on the early Kansas that were released archivally and are present on this updated version of PROTO-KAW which give this release a distinct if distant relative type of feel to the popular era of 70s Kansas. Rod Mikinski from the Kansas I era contributes bass to the track "Axolotl" and a couple extra background vocalists are included as well. All tracks are originals with Kerry Livgran serving as songwriter, producer and engineer however the track "Greenburg, Glickstein, Charles, David, Smith and Jones" is a cover of the 1968 song by The Cryan' Shames although properly processed in a progified manner to symphonically fit in with the neighboring tracks that surround it.

BEFORE BECAME AFTER sounds nothing like the unreleased tracks released two years prior. This is a fully updated band that took their stowed away musical mojo and fully unleashed it in the context of the early 21st century. While the early days showed an uncompromising trend to delve into many prog arenas covered by Yes, King Crimson, Genesis and even the most psychedelic arenas, the current PROTO-KAW is firmly placed in the symphonic prog realms and sounds most like Neal Morse and Spock's Beard if you need a firm comparison. This is particularly true of the first track "Alt. More Worlds Than Known" which is a dead ringer for a Morse solo effort but PROTO-KAW never gets stuck in a rut and the tracks while unified in a common overall sound do differ substantially. What keeps them unified is the fact that they revolve around strong melodic hooks, tend to engage in extended jams that exhibit a healthy dose of progressive rock attributes which include time signature deviations as well as extended polyrhythms. The positive Christian oriented lyrics also bring the Morse comparisons to mind however PROTO-KAW is a bit more subtle and refrain from ever delving into the repulsive pits of preachiness.

When all is said and done, BEFORE BECAME AFTER is an excellent set of strong melody oriented progressive rock tunes. Lynn Meredith has an extremely pleasant voice and although not quite on par with Steve Walsh at his peak has definitely maintained his vox box over the years and blows away the abysmal "Somewhere To Elsewhere" which was the Kansas album that attempted to be relevant in the brave new world. It is obvious that these guys had unfinished business and the passion is fully aflame like the glowing bison that graces the album cover. The guitar and bass lines rule the roost here with the drums supporting them, but the keyboards and symphonic touches quite tastefully add the frosting on the cake which make an extremely pleasant album, which to be honest, totally caught me off guard. I was expecting the usual "stuck in the past" approach for an aged cast of band members who lost their opportunity decades prior. Perhaps the reason this works so well is because despite the time that had elapsed, the unfulfilled members still had all those ideas pent up and once in cahoots with Livgren's music world expertise allowed everyone to cross-pollinate into some new musical beast. Whatever the reason, this is superb symphonic prog and although i find there to be a Neal Morse sort of connection seems more cohesive than most of his output. The flute and sax that add a touch of jazz-fusion also contributes to a richer sound. Love this one!

 Early Recordings from Kansas 1971-1973 by PROTO-KAW album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2002
3.75 | 48 ratings

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Early Recordings from Kansas 1971-1973
Proto-Kaw Symphonic Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

4 stars The band Kansas is well known for their phenomenally successful albums that graced the tail end of the 70s including but not limited to "Point Of No Return" and "Leftoverature" with their unique stamp on Heatland boogie rock mixed with symphonic progressive rock sophistication, but like many a band out there actually had some antecedents to their musical ascent. There were actually two versions of Kansas before the third version found a stable line-up that propelled them onto the world stage. Guitarist and keyboardist Kerry Livgren is the common thread amongst all the members who have come and gone in this Topeka, Kansas band that formed all the way back in 1969 and actually began under the name Saratoga before adopting the name of their home state.

After a few line-up shifts and a merging with a rival prog rock band called White Clover, the Kansas I phase of the band's history was complete but wouldn't last long. After another replacement of three members the band would find its second coming with the lineup of eight members and be later tagged as the Kansas II lineup which is the period that recorded the music on this archival collection of previously unreleased tracks titled EARLY RECORDINGS FROM KANSAS 1971-1973. Due to the legal entanglements of the Kansas trademarked band name, this material of which Livgren is the only constant member, had to be released under a totally new moniker thus the brand spanking new name PROTO-KAW was born cleverly taking the prefix PROTO (original) and placing it before the word KAW which is the name of the Native American tribe, who also recognized as the Kanza or Kansa tribe, provided the root word for the state name Kansas as well as the perfect legal loophole to pretty much say the same exact thing!

This version of Kansas turned PROTO-KAW will come as quite a surprise for anyone familiar with the more popular third version of the band as this sounds absolutely nothing (for the most part) like the catchy tunes and sophisticated progressive Heartland rock. While vocalist Lynn Meredith certainly provides a blueprint for which Steve Walsh would improve upon, musically speaking the material recorded during this period has a lot more in common with early King Crimson's progressive heft coupled Yes inspired compositional styles fluffed up with haunting Deep Purple-esque organ runs and rather original time signature frenzies that don't really bring any other influences to mind. The music for the most part is fairly eclectic with tracks sounding very distinct from each other making this an eclectic prog lover's treasure trove. The sound is quite rich since not only is there the usual guitar, bass, keys and drum layout but at this stage Kansas II aka PROTO-KAW had two flautists who doubled on electric and alto saxophones as well as having two drummers although i'm not sure if they actually played simultaneously or just traded-off duties. Lyrically speaking, the first versions of Kansas delved into the arenas of Christian rock and positive enlightening subject matter although at this point a more nebulous spiritual approach delved into Eastern religious mysticism as well.

While tracks like "Hegemonium," "Reunion In The Mountains Of Same" and "Nactolos 21" are crazy complex prog that are as far from the popular versions of Kansas as Krautrock, tracks like "Belexes" and "Incomudro" provided the blueprint for the more familiar Kansas sound with the first aforementioned re-recorded for the debut "Kansas" album and the second ditto for "Song For America." The track "Totus Nemesis" is the true gem as it spans across the prog gamut with everything from well structured prog compositional styles to a full-fledged psychedelic freak-out followed by a bona fide jazz-fusion frenzy not to mention some wild and unhinged electronic accoutrements. The album ends with two live (unreleased) tracks that give a good feel for the exciting prog energy that this lineup engaged in. "Cyclopy" must have been an early creation for it sounds more like a 60s psychedelic organ jam that would have found a home in 1967 San Francisco. My only question is why didn't these guys get signed during this period? Their music was as good as anything else that came out at the time with a completely distinct musical identity.

After this version of Kansas disband in 1973, most of the members with the exception of Livgren would leave the music world altogether and not even have contact with each other for the next 30 years until this compilation of archival artifacts was resurrected to great interest. Surprised by the positive response of this collection, the Kansas II line-up members would rekindle their friendships and musical passions and reform the band although they would carry on in more of a Neal Morse / Spock's Beard type of symphonic prog direction. This collection of ancient artifacts is a true gem and one that should not be missed since it points to the moment in history that shows exactly deep the early Kansas lineup dipped into some of the most adventurous progressive rock arenas and had both the creative chops and adventurous disposition to pull it off. Personally i wish that these guys would've released a few albums of this sort before jumping ship and creating a more accessible sound but the fact that they recorded this stuff and made it available for public consumption will simply have to be enough i guess.

 Forth by PROTO-KAW album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.13 | 52 ratings

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Forth
Proto-Kaw Symphonic Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

3 stars Their third album comes forth

This third full-length studio record from Proto-Kaw seem to have passed under the radar of many Prog fans, including - for a long time - my own, I must admit. For those who don't know the background of the band, Proto-Kaw was a band that existed in the very early 70's and was Kerry Livgren's pre-Kansas band. Nothing was released under the name of Proto-Kaw at the time, but recordings from 1971 to 1973 emerged in 2002 to coincide with the return of the band after some 30 years. Brand new material was then recorded and resulted in the aptly titled studio album Before Became After in 2004. A couple of years later came another studio disc in The Wait Of Glory. Both of these albums are very good and highly recommended!

Being a Kansas fan I naturally had an interest in hearing Proto-Kaw, but it must be pointed out that the two bands are quite different. I like to think of Proto-Kaw as the American counterpart of Jethro Tull. Like that of the latter band, the sound of Proto-Kaw contains heavy Rock with jazzy and bluesy elements and lots of flutes and keyboards. But also similarities with other early progressive Rock groups like King Crimson and Camel can be detected. Given the ancient roots of the band, the 'proto' in the name is very apt, not just because of the relation to Kansas, but also because Proto-Kaw could actually be seen as representing an alternative route that progressive Rock could have taken on the other side of the Atlantic (unlike Kansas which was perhaps more of an American take on British Prog).

Forth continues in a similar style to the previous two albums but perhaps one could say that this one is a little bit slicker compared to Before Became After and The Wait Of Glory. While some songs are every bit as progressive and almost as good as the material on those previous albums, there are here also a few more straightforward, bluesy rockers that I don't care all that much for. Though I agree with what seems to be the general consensus among those who have heard this album that it is relatively weaker compared to its predecessors, I do not agree that it is a weak album as such considered in its own right. Certainly a newcomer should best begin with Before Became After and The Wait Of Glory, but anyone who admires those albums will probably find something to like here as well. At least, I do.

 Before Became After by PROTO-KAW album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.88 | 132 ratings

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Before Became After
Proto-Kaw Symphonic Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Prog Team

4 stars I have been a Kansas fan for many years, but it was only recently that I became aware of something unusual in that band's past, namely that prior to Kansas there was a totally different band with the same name, the only link being that of songwriter/guitarist/keyboard player Kerry Livgren. Amazingly some old recordings of the original Kansas had survived and Cuneiform wanted to release them. Kerry agreed and got back in touch with the original band members. The result is a brand new album, with virtually the original band (second keyboard player Don Montre passed away at the age of 39, and bassist Rod Mikinski only had time to record one song and has been replaced by Craig Kew). Five of the songs are from the original period, with five new ones, hence the title. The band couldn't use the name 'Kansas' again but instead settled on Proto-Kaw as 'Proto' means 'Pre' and 'Kaw' is most likely the original, Indian, name of the territory Kansas is currently located at

Given that Kerry Livgren composed all of these songs, as well as most of those of the later Kansas there is little surprise that there are some similarities. However one major difference is that in the original Kansas there was no violin, but John Bolton provided saxophones and flute. This gives the music a very different feel, something that is described in the press release as "progressive jazz psychedelia". It is quite an unusual album to listen to in that it is so similar at times to the style of music I have loved for so long, but just different enough so that when I first played it I found that at times it strangely grated. But the twists and turns combined with Kerry's great song writing and Lynn Meredith's great vocals (apart from a small amount of work with Plastique, Lynn has not been singing for thirty years - incredible) have made an album that is an essential purchase for progheads.

Although this will be picked up by many due to the Kansas connections, this is an album that should be heard in its' own right ' I may not be playing it as often as 'Somewhere To Elsewhere' (when a certain K Livgren again wrote all of the songs) but it is one that I will often be returning to.

Originally appeared in Feedback #79, June 2004

 Before Became After by PROTO-KAW album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.88 | 132 ratings

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Before Became After
Proto-Kaw Symphonic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars The release of Proto-Kaw's early material gave the chance to Kerry Livgren to correct a historical abnormality.Although geographically difficult, he managed to gather the old core of Proto-Kaw for a possible reunion and Lynn Meredith (vocals), Dan Wright (keyboards), John Bolton (woodwinds) and Brad Schulz (drums) made this dream come true, while Livgren recruited also bassist Craig Kew, whom he had known during the recordings of his solo career.Four old Proto-Kaw tracks were reworked and along with five new compositions completed the new album of the group and their official comeback after 30 years.''Before became after'' was released in 2004 on Inside Out.

The albums finds the old rockers up-to-date with the recent prog stylings and a combination of vintage sounds with fresh and interesting ideas sums up Proto-Kaw's brand new face.However, most of the psychedelic influences of the past are gone, leaving their place to a more friendly sound, where Classic 70's Prog meets melodic and almost AOR-esque delicate musicianship.Additionally Proto-Kaw now sound a lot closer to Livgren's KANSAS.Even if some commercial touches are evident throughout the album, the compositions are kept to a very high level.Powerful organs and atmospheric synthesizers meet heavier electric guitars and the sweet vocal harmonies of the group to offer enjoyable and sufficient Progressive Rock with lovely melodies, tight structures and influences from Symphonic Rock, Melodic Rock and Hard Prog.The majority of the album is built around orchestral atmospheres, rockin' grooves with marching bass and pounding drums and virtuosic, proggy exercises, while the sax and flutes of John Bolton are still present, although rather kept in the background.The most efficient thing about Proto-Kaw is that they were able to produce some very dramatic instrumental parts and mix them nicely with clean melodies in the same track, creating some very majestic textures.

History does not repeat itself exactly in the case of Proto-Kaw.A group of maniac, vintage rockers achieved to deliver an album full of incredible melodies in the vein of KANSAS, keeping part of the group's old identity in the most complicated passages.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

 Before Became After by PROTO-KAW album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.88 | 132 ratings

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Before Became After
Proto-Kaw Symphonic Prog

Review by AEProgman

4 stars My re-intro into "new" prog....

Having left the prog world back in the late 80s and came back in the very early 2000s, I mostly listened to the prog sounds I remember from the 70s and the ones I had not listened to from that era. I began listening to one of those "satellite" radios and I heard a song from this album by Proto-kaw and my ears re-opened. Afterwards came an interview with Kerry Livgren and that led me to searchings of the current world of prog of which I was amazed to see it was still alive!

To me the first 5 songs are a very good opening set with Quantem Leapfrog being my favorite. It gets quite funky/jazzy and psychidelic. The closing 2 songs (as well as most of the songs) show Livgren's composing abilities which always make me smile, as just when I think I am used to the time signature or beat and ready to move on, he throws in the change, shift, or sound that brings you back in and hooks you. As usual his lyrics are thought provoking.

Before Came After, as well as the "original, original Kansas" release of the Early Recordings of Kansas are the best efforts of Proto-Kaw.

I give it a solid 4 stars. It led me into the modern world of prog and all the good bands still carrying the torch as well as this website!

 Forth by PROTO-KAW album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.13 | 52 ratings

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Forth
Proto-Kaw Symphonic Prog

Review by Morsenator

3 stars Proto-kaw's latest efforth (see what I did there) is a bit two sided album: on the other hand there are some great and classic tracks like the groovy opener "Daylight", "Things We Are Breaking" that wonderfully combines the best sides of 80's prog to some folky bits and the almost orchestral "On the Air (Again)". Besides those pieces (and a few others) there is a lot of average stuff that seems to say nothing special even after repeated listens. I don't know where Livgren dropped the incredible inspiration he had when writing albums like Before Became After and Prime Mover, but it sure didn't find its way here. That said, this is by no means a bad album. If you liked the two previous kaw albums you will probably like this as well, at least in pieces if not the whole thing.
 The Wait Of Glory by PROTO-KAW album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.65 | 92 ratings

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The Wait Of Glory
Proto-Kaw Symphonic Prog

Review by mohaveman

3 stars THE WAIT OF GLORY was released by the "Kansas old style" group of Proto-Kaw and has the advantage of containing Kerry Livgren on board. This album is much in the style of Kansas, mix of prog with straight AOR rock and synth rock and is not bad but is a pretty average 3 star album. It came with a disc of concert footage which I watched more than listened to the actual album. I would class this at about he level of Kansas with MONOLITH. Not great not bad, just good. 3 stars almost perfectly. I am glad this band is around though.
 Forth by PROTO-KAW album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.13 | 52 ratings

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Forth
Proto-Kaw Symphonic Prog

Review by stewe

3 stars After Kerry Livgren's stroke and a statement that he dissolved Proto-Kaw I had no big expectations to ever see new album from this original Kansas group. It came as a big surprise. Some 40 years since they firstly met together, these guys have all my respect. Music which again makes a pleasant smile on my face all the time.

Joyful, relaxing, dramatic on places however not taking the things very seriously, melodic and memorable. There are again woodwinds and lovely flutes throughout, as well as Livgren's excellent guitar licks, which didn't lose any power with the time. Despite Livgren's religious views, he can usually write lyrics beautifully with spiritual overtones, in the way that people who are not Christians can also easily relate to them (something I wish Neal Morse could do as well).

Lynn Meredith and Jake Livgren are trading the lead within the songs, quite equally - despite Kerry Livgren's nephew is mentioned here as backing vocalist. They're both excellent, soulful, with full, warm voice reminding somehow the power Steve Walsh had in 70s.

There are two tracks which fans of Livgren might be familiar with - new, more sharp version of "On the Air", which I do believe to be better on the Livgren's Collector's Sedition solo album. The other remake, Greek Structure Sunbeam, is very beautiful, however in a bit different way to its raw counterpart from early 70s. Interesting for comparison, it shows how Meredith's voice nicely matured. I'd say compositionally it is more similar to 'Before Became After' than 'Wait for Glory'. Some of my favorites-originals include upbeat "One to Follow", joyful and colorful "Pollex" and slower, impressive "Pilgrim's Wake".

Although I think the album run out of the steam a bit especially towards the end of the album, it is still very fine piece of music, which contains moments on par to Kansas's glory days. 3.5 stars.

 Forth by PROTO-KAW album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.13 | 52 ratings

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Forth
Proto-Kaw Symphonic Prog

Review by Epignosis
Special Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

4 stars Despite being a Kerry Livgren fan, I had no idea Proto-Kaw had released a new album until I saw it on the new releases section of the homepage of Prog Archives- last I'd heard, Proto-Kaw had disbanded. And I was further surprised to see they included "Greek Structure Sunbeam," a song from Early Recordings of Kansas 1971-1973, as well as "On the Air (Again)," which I immediately recognized as having something to do with "On the Air," from Livgren's solo album Collector's Sedition. Now Forth is just like its predecessors: Several excellent, wonderful songs among a few commercial blunders. But it would be a mistake to dismiss another admirable Proto-Kaw offering because of a few tracks of insipid filler. Musically, the band sounds as solid as they've always been: John Bolton and Dan Wright add complementary musical textures throughout that make each track shine. The vocals tend to consist of multiple layers throughout, with Lynn Meredith only occasionally singing alone- his is always a welcome voice. It's certainly great to see that Mr. Livgren's stroke had not robbed him of his technical skill or compositional elegance.

"Daylight" I knew right away I was in for a treat the first time I heard this opener. A well-crafted electric guitar riff with appropriate synthesizer accompaniment complete with a memorable vocal melody makes for exciting piece of hard symphonic rock- a great way to kick off what could be viewed as something of a comeback album.

"Pilgrim's Wake" Similar to "Words of Honor" from Before Became After, this second song is a stirring, inspiring, and above-all encouraging acoustic piece with a magnificent chorus. The piano and flute interlude are quite reminiscent of Kansas, very reflective (like the lyrics) and compositionally sound.

"Pollex" Had Rush employed a flute in the 1980s, it may have sounded like the beginning of this track, but soon Proto-Kaw begins sounding like a Kerry Livgren project again, with the Kansas-like vocal harmonies (one can be fooled into detecting Steve Walsh from his heyday in there). Flute and strings descend over a steady bass groove, with plenty of guitar and organ solos to follow.

"Cold And Clear" Lively in the beginning with plenty of flute, electric guitar, and bass interaction, the introduction gives way to slightly sadder piano and vocals before taking off (similar to "Curtain of Iron" on Audio-Visions). Over the organ, Craig Kew gets a bit of a bass solo before a well-structured lofty symphonic transition.

"Lay Down" A song about victory through submission (clear spiritual overtones on this one), "Lay Down" has pleasant music and vocal melodies, but is a tad mawkish, and the saxophone and keyboard solos lack charm or character. Overall, this is a good tune, but it does tend toward a contrived and hokey aspect that Livgren indulges in from time to time.

"Greek Structure Sunbeam" Here is a remake of a song the band did back in the 1970s. Whatever edginess the original had has been rubbed away here; this rendition is even mellower. The soft textures of keyboard and clean guitar, paired with Meredith's soothing voice just drift along pleasantly. It does eventually pick up with a rapid-fire guitar solo in double-time. This is an excellent reinterpretation of a great song.

"On The Air (Again)" Knowing that Livgren occasionally revisits and reinvents earlier works ("Icarus II," "Portrait II," and a few others), I was just as excited to discover what he would do with my favorite song from his solo albums. Unfortunately, "On the Air (Again)" does not live up to the original. The vocalist here, I believe, would be unable to have hit the higher notes in the refrain, and so sings the melody safely. Proto-Kaw does introduce a complex Gentle Giant-like vocal, and the strings are brilliant, but the lack of "soar" on the chorus and the uninspired instrumental section makes this a lackluster revisiting.

"One To Follow" A generic track, this song would be forgettable were it not for the pre-chorus., and the entreating lyrics come off as rather officious. I better appreciate Livgren's more introspective words when compared to his more intrusive second-person lyrics.

"Sleeping Giant" Another nondescript song with bland lyrics and musicianship, this may be the worst of the lot. This tune channels Chicago a wee bit with the brass and vocal harmonies, and the chorus is catchy, but not necessarily in a good way.

"Things We Are Breaking" A somewhat unconventional Proto-Kaw song, this second to last track consists of light, jaunty rock music that includes some electric guitar and flute interplay similar to Jethro Tull (an includes an accordion).

"Utopian Dream" Fortunately, Proto-Kaw ends on a very high note, with fine acoustic guitars and occasional discharges of electric lead. Meredith's warm vocals caress the melody and take it to resonant heights. The final song is well-crafted, capturing the hopefulness that is so pervasive in modern-day Proto-Kaw's consistent discography.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to NotAProghead for the last updates

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