Kerry Livgren - Seeds of Change (Kirshner/Sony) 1980
1. "Just One Way"
This was Kerry Livgren's first solo album after departing from Kansas in 1980. Most knew that some of the members of Kansas were Christians already, but Kerry makes it absolutely clear on this solo effort. What made this disc interesting for me is that Ronnie James Dio sings lead vocals on two tracks ('Mask of the Great Deceiver' & 'To Live for the King'). Dio has a phenomenal voice and proves on this disc that he is capable of singing more than just heavy metal. His vocal performance on "To Live For the King" is absolutely perfect. The album hosts a great list of guest musicians including Jethro Tull drummer Barriemore Barlow and three other Kansas members, Steve Walsh, Phil Ehart and Robby Steinhardt.
Musically, "Seeds of Change" is Kerry attempting to do something outside the Kansas sound. Since Kerry was one of the main songwriters for Kansas, he can never completely escape the comparisons. Album opener "Just One Way" could easily have been on a Kansas album. However, the gospel-blues song "Whiskey Seed" with it's harmonica opening and earthy feel is far outside the Kansas mold. As well, "Down to the Core" sounds like it could have been a Frank Zappa song. "Mask of the Great Deceiver" starts off as dark and brooding and sort of bounces around from a light, airy feel to the darker, moodier moments. This song was actually played on tour with Kansas for a while on the "Audio Visions" tour. "To Live for the King" is my personal favorite song on the album. The song is slow, moody, majestic and simply oustanding.