Kansas- The Prelude Implicit- Richard Williams, Phil Ehart, Ronnie Platt, David Ragsdale

When the band Kansas fires up that huge sound from the stage on their “Leftoverture 40th Anniversary Tour” in a major US city near you this Fall (tonight in Philadelphia), you are really in for a ride. Beside playing the entire Leftoverture album in order every night, something never done in the four decades since vaulting them into rock history, Kansas will also treat long-suffering fans to several impressive new songs from The Prelude Implicit, the first new studio album in sixteen years from America’s pre-eminent progressive rock band. Kansas “lifers” guitarist Richard Williams and drummer Phil Ehart are joined here In the Studio with me by singer Ronnie Platt and veteran violinist David Ragsdale.

The two Kansas “lifers” who have been on every band album and tour, Rich and Phil, reveal some of the past complications of loyalty; new inspirations for writing and recording; and powerful issues straight out of the headlines triggering intense emotions, including the new songs”With This Heart”,”Visiblity Zero“,”Refugee“(“It’s about human trafficking,”says Richard Williams,”the horrible heart of some people”); the progressive rock epic “The Voyage of 818“; and the achingly beautiful somber “Section 60“, a tribute sadly to the unfinished and ever-growing place in Arlington National Cemetery reserved for Americans who continue to die in Iraq and Afghanistan. And incredulously, do you realize that the band that sang “Carry On Wayward Son”,”Point of Know Return”, and “Dust in the Wind” is NOT in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? Richard Williams weighs in on the controversial gross under-representation of Progressive Rock bands in the Rock  Hall  nominations.- Redbeard