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Jordan Rudess - The Road Home CD (album) cover

THE ROAD HOME

Jordan Rudess

 

Crossover Prog

3.18 | 93 ratings

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patrickq
Prog Reviewer
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.

patrickq | 2/5 |

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