Kansas born and bred

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Ran onto a brief article on the 70s band, Kansas.  Still touring and so they should – they’re a talented bunch.  Playing piano since I was a tot I was a big Steve Walsh fan in the 80s.  He had roots in St. Joseph (about 20 miles from our family farm). 

I have a handful of stories about the guys – ran into Walsh and Steve Morse while buying their 1986 album, Power.  They were in town for a concert and were wasting some time on The Plaza while I happened to take a break from work to go to the record store.  The cashier told me they had just been in there browsing a few minutes earlier and suggested I walk around the indoor mall to see if they were still around.  Sure enough they were!  They were more than happy to sign my cassette.  Really nice and down to earth guys.

A couple years later Walsh’s parents neighbor shared a hospital room with my grandmother.  We had some good conversations about them.  Lots more little bits and pieces, but I have to say that I mostly admired Walsh’s onstage presence.  Whether you like the style of music they wrote you have to give them props on performance. 

I enjoyed those big side kicks Walsh would do while playing keys…and he wasn’t just playing a melody or chord.  They guy played some complicated runs – talk about coordinated!  It was always fun to try to duplicate what he was doing (on the keyboard – I didn’t worry about the kicks myself!) 😉

One of my favorite treats living in Kansas City is the ocassional play on KCFX-FM of a Steve Walsh classic called “Every Step Of The Way” which is a rare find.  It shows how much vocal range he has and it incorporates a gospel feel that you wouldn’t expect.  What a great track!  Give it a listen.

(Oh, and maybe Kansas (the band) played a subtle role toward my claiming Kansas as ‘home’.)

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