K A N S A S
Two voices alone in harmony ring out the anthem, “Carry on my wayward son. There’ll be peace when you are done. Lay your weary head to rest. Don’t you cry no more...”
Kansas in its late 1970’s early 1980’s shining glory. Ushered in by the two hit singles, “Carry on My Wayward Son” and “Dust in the Wind.” Personally, I see a great human success story here.
These were your typical high school “I’m in a rock band” guys back when technology was cassettes tapes and VHS. Talent and instruments were all that was required to dream big and do what you love. I bet they spent most of their free time in a garage writing music or playing in bars around the small towns of their home state. Makes me wonder how many times they heard, “…if you just studied as much as you played in your band…” from the adults in their life. I digress.
Kansas was a smorgasbords of other band’s young members playing a sort of “musician-musical-chairs” before the right group emerged with a different sound. Whatever their humble beginnings, they’ve certainly placed that sound firmly in the history of American Music. That is, in my definition, the great human success of the art they labored to create. Music that is played on classic rock stations. Music that conjures up a unique sound of the time of our history just with the first few lyrics. Music that, as an art platform, still inspires an emotional reaction from its listeners.
I find it interesting that in earlier interviews, Kery Livgren, who wrote a good portion of the first albums, had mentioned on various occasions (and I paraphrase) that the music they made was meant to be different and they’d like to continue that way. Different it was, but it’s influence was such that it would literally carry on to a wayward generation long after the band had split up and re-grouped with different members and dynamics. Maybe that’s why Kansas is still touring after nearly 40 years.
Ronnie Platt, the current lead vocalist for Kansas was just about 15 years old when his soon-to-be idols hits the spotlight. Little did he know, some 37 years later, he would be asked to take over for Steve Walsh. He began his music career not long after Kansas rose to fame and even opened for the band itself a few times in the 80’s. To see such a generational transition from a listener to a performer is truly one-of-a-kind. For fans who are very “intense listeners” as Platt puts it, they have been pleased to see he took the honor of maintaining a tradition and preserving the integrity of Kansas very seriously.
Now Kansas continues to carry on in the future with another successful tour advancing into 2017. Also, a fresh new album will be released this September so it looks like the iconic music will be anything but “dust in the wind” for many years to come. Avid Grand Junction listeners are getting geared up for the concert this Thursday at the historic Avalon Theatre. It’s sure to be a night of flashbacks and fantastic music. You won’t want to miss out on this nostalgic and just plain good Americana sound.