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Song For America

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gno
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I originally recorded this last summer. It's a long song but one of Kansas best. The vocals don't start until after 3min.

Kansas was one of the first prog-rock groups - coming on the scene in the 70's. What stands out about Kansas is that they had so many commercial hits which is kindof unusual in Prog Rock. This song wasn't really a commercial hit but is a favorite among Kansas fans.

Let me know what you think.

http://soundclick.com/share.cfm?id=11719220

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:) I enjoyed that. I couldn't stop there I had to listen to Ellenor Rigby and Anyway You Want it.

It's good to hear something from those who contribute to the Techniques forum.

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F'n amazing from start to finish. Wow.

And yes, it's rare for prog rock bands to have commercial hits. What I find amusing is when those who aren't fans of prog criticize the bands for not putting out "radio friendly" music, and believe it's because they can't. All I can do is shake my head and tell myself they've missed the point entirely.

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F'n amazing from start to finish. Wow.

And yes, it's rare for prog rock bands to have commercial hits. What I find amusing is when those who aren't fans of prog criticize the bands for not putting out "radio friendly" music, and believe it's because they can't. All I can do is shake my head and tell myself they've missed the point entirely.

Before Shannon Hoon died(vocalist for blind melon), he once made a reference to Dream Theater and had stated that the way John Petrucci plays guitar is stupid or something similar, in essence, disrespecting progressive music.

I am with you on this as anyone who listens to my CD can hear alot of prog influence....

I am also a lifelong Kansas fan, especially thanks to my bro for letting me borrow Two for the Show so many times when we were kids...I was also thinking of covering that tune, but I have many on the burner already and no time to record. Almost spring here and lots of house fixing things to do...after that...I will have many tunes to pump out.

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Mdew - thanks for listening!

Validar - thanks a lot! Yeah - prog rock musicians definitely can write hits - if they want - but they're usually after something a little more complex. I loved how Kansas could bridge the gap. Kerry Livgren is an incredible talent. His chord progressions are nothing short of complex but his songs are so well written that they appeal to a broad audience.

This song has 49 time signature changes!!! But everything flows so naturally.

George - thank you. Yes - I did the background vocals and everything else. I learned a great studio trick for background vocals - I'm using the HASS effect which kinda makes the background vocals "surround" you. You may already use this for some things. I really like it for background vocals.

Slstone - yeah some people just don't get it. I respect just about all kinds of music (with the possible exception of gangster rap). Your music is definitely prog rock influenced - and really good!

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Before Shannon Hoon died(vocalist for blind melon), he once made a reference to Dream Theater and had stated that the way John Petrucci plays guitar is stupid or something similar, in essence, disrespecting progressive music.

That's just asinine. John has had several critics over the years. Alexi Laiho trashed both Petrucci and Dream Theater in a Guitar World interview.

Another was Mike Stone. (former Queensryche guitarist) but in a less direct way. He tried giving John "tips" while they were on tour together, which John obviously wasn't quite open to. In fact, there's a line in their song "Take Me As I Am" that's directed toward Stone. (“Don’t tell me what’s in, tell me how to write”)

(shaking my head) Yeah, I bet Stone has some great putting tips for Tiger Woods, too.

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My brother, Scott, backs me up. I had every Kansas album, up to Vinyl Confessions and Audiovision.

I was going to say this was one of my favorites but I liked them all. It's funny, when Scott and I were teenagers, i was a Kansas freak, now, I sing a bunch of Led Zep songs.

Now, I need to catch up with Geno.

Did you do this arrangement yourself? That is an awe-inspiring feat, just by itself.

Singing, nothing I can tell you to improve or change. This was as perfect as I could hear it. And you sang with the intensity and backbone of Steve Walsh, rather than John Elefante. Nothing wrong with John, he had a light voice, like mine. Now, if you could just grow your hair out and whip your own face with it, like Steve did, back in the day.

I got to see Kansas in 1982 at the Reunion Arena in Dallas. But Steve had left by then.

Kerry Livegren (yes, more useless trivia from ronws) grew up with his grandmother, mostly. And she was into opera and classical music.

Then, Kerry heard the Beatles and Elvis and the seeds of "fusion" (later, to be known as prog) were born within him. As most evidenced on this and most of the first album.

Some of the more straight-ahead rock hits of Kansas were a result of a heavy Steve influence, who was more of a rocker. Even though his voice was "classical" enough to express Kerry's intentions.

As time went by, Kerry became a born-again christian and brought in more of those elements to the songwriting. Until Steve could do it no longer. Nothing against religion, Steve just didn't want to be a christian rock singer. So, he left halfway through the recording of "Vinyl Confessions" with his material, which was about half of the originally planned album. (Okay, Ron, stop it, just shut up ....)

Bravo, Geno, bravo. It would be cool, one day, to meet a genius like you. I've already met one, my brother.

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Ron - you are definitely one of biggest Kansas fans I know. Thank you for your kind words.

As for the arrangement, I scoured YouTube for various live performances of this song ( they changed the arrangement a lot over the years) and took my favorite parts and mixed in my own stuff like lead guitar instead of violin, and dropping the bass down an octave and doubling with power metal type rhythm guitars. I added and modified parts here and there. I borrowed a lot of the orchestral stuff from Larry Baird's orchestrations when Kansas plays with the live orchestra. I had to become proficient at using a pro orchestral library with the many articulations available.

Interesting trivia you have on Kansas - I always enjoy hearing the back stories. Kerry came up with the coolest rock guitar riffs. And combined with his classical influences...great prog. Yes I can see the Beatles weighing heavy on him. Although the chord progressions have that southern rock feel? Just a great combination of musical elements. There is just something really special about the music of Kansas, isn't there?

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And yes, most of the band members are from the south and the midwest. They grew and around Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. As I had mentioned in another thread, there were two previous versions of Kansas to the run of success that led to all the albums. The band that played on the albums from first to Vinyl Confessions was version III. And the primary difference that made version III a success was the addition of Steve Walsh. A singer who could span from classical to soul. And he could play keyboards a little better than Kerry.

One of my favorite Steve stories is how they describe getting their first recording contract. This was back when Don Kirschner was still out in the field, being an a&r guy.

The band was set to play at a club in Topeka and they managed to invite Don and he agreed to visit and see the show. During the week leading up to the show, the band made flyers of their appearance and in letters larger than the band name had written "FREE BEER."

The place was pack past capacity and local fire dept regulations.

They got the recording contract.

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