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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Steve Walsh

Shadowman

Review by Greg Olma

I have always been a Kansas fan so it must come as no surprise that I find Steve Walsh's voice one of the best in prog rock. I have followed his career through his band Streets (and his solo material) and have never been disappointed. What I like about this album is that it does not sound exclusively like Kansas. It would be difficult to find a song that has no elements of Kansas in it (especially since that is a majority of his career) but Steve has managed to create an album's worth of music that is truly solo material. Sure, there are spots where I can hear Kansas, but the majority of this album steers clear of what you would expect from him. If this is the type of material Steve comes up with on his own, I certainly won't mind if he occasionally moonlights from his day job.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2005 Year Book Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Rise
A slow intro starts this song that could have easily been mistaken as Steve Winwood. I can hardly believe it but there are some Metallica type moments thrown in there also. It is a great way to start the album.
Shadowman
This is more of a typical rock number. Steve Walsh really shines on this one, putting in a great vocal performance. Some symphonic music is added towards the end for a really good effect.
Davey and the Stone That Rolled Away
This is the most Kansas-sounding track on the album. This is the safest piece on the album and shows that Steve can't always shake away the ghost of Kansas.
Keep On Knockin'
Steve sounds great on this typical rock song. The one is nothing special but the singing carries it past mediocre.
Pages of Old
This is a great acoustic number and it fits nicely in it spot on the album. The listener is given a bit of a break from the rock parts of the CD. The guitarist, Joel Kosche, adds a bit of Spanish style guitar work which elevates this one to one of the best on the album.
Hell Is Full of Heroes
This is the most interesting song on the album. It is a tough cut to pin down. I hear some ZZ-Top (Eliminator era) in it but just when you think you have it figured out, it changes. This is another high point on this album.
After
Here comes that old ghost again. The beginning has a Kansas feel but there are some Savatage sounding riffs thrown in there for good measure. Just to add another element, the mid section sounds like those Native American tapes you can purchase in the mall.
The River
The best way to describe this song is: Steve Walsh doing Bryan Adams. This is not a bad one but it is definitely the worst one on this otherwise great album.
 
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