Kansas is widely recognised as one of America’s greatest bands. Rising to prominence in the 70s, a string of gold and platinum albums that included Leftoverture, Point of Know Return and Audio Visions propelled the band to superstardom, spawning hit singles such as Carry On Wayward Son, Dust in the Wind and Hold On.
This fertile studio work sparked huge interest and helped attract a legion of fans seduced by the melodic harmonies intertwined with killer guitar riffs. Kansas was hot property and concert promoters across North America, Europe and Japan jockeyed for position to book them.
As their popularity grew, the sold-out signs went up everywhere they played. The documentary film, Miracles Out of Nowhere, released in March, 2015 chronicles this period in the band’s history.
Internal conflicts coupled with incessant touring took its toll and in the early 80s Kansas’ band members began to drift apart. Numerous line-up changes followed, most notably the departure of songwriter/guitarist Kerry Livgren and latterly, frontman Steve Walsh.
Fast forward to 2016. The band, pictured below, comprises original drummer Phil Ehart, bassist/vocalist Billy Greer, keyboardist David Manion, vocalist/keyboardist Ronnie Platt, violinist/guitarist David Ragsdale, guitarist Zak Rizvi and original guitarist Richard Williams.
‘The Prelude Implicit’, their first studio album in 16 years, remains faithful to the band’s trademark sound. Intricate arrangements seamlessly merge keys, guitars, drums, bass and violins across ten tracks.
Ronnie Platt, who was selected as the band’s new lead vocalist and keyboard player, has proved to be and inspired acquisition. He soars on this album, particularly on the soulful ballad, ‘The Unsung Heroes’. The rest of the band is on metaphorical fire too.
As this superb album confirms, Kansas is a band that refuses to rest on its laurels. It represents a bold and confident statement, the classic sound is back delivered with passion and renewed vigour.
‘The Prelude Implicit’ is now available at all good record stores. The new album coincides with a nationwide tour to mark the 40th anniversary of Leftoverture.