RATINGS: A = must own B = buy it C= average D = yawn F = puke

Kerry Livgren - Seeds of Change  
Rock Candy Records

Rating: B

Kerry Livgren's songwriting will live on forever, as the songs he created with the band Kansas have gone down in history. We are talking iconic classics, including "Carry On Wayward Son," "Song for America," "The Wall" and "Dust in the Wind." 

The story of Seeds of Change, his first solo album, begins in 1980... a time when Kansas was consistently achieving Gold and Platinum status with every album they released. Despite the success of the band, Livgren had unrest in his soul and something inside of him began to change.  His lyrics with Kansas were of a man searching for a higher meaning and mission.  It was no surprise when Kerry discovered his lifelong spiritual path and accepted Jesus Christ as his lord and savior.  His solo album reflected his newfound beliefs.  The solo album was written and recorded during the time the band Kansas was preparing to record their album Audio Visions.  This would, of course, lead to his departure from the band Kansas.   

Seeds of Change contains moments where one can hear that classic Kansas sound. Kerry penned the tunes, so that is no surprise, but this is a true solo effort as the songs stop short of ending up mirroring something that would be at home on a Kansas album.  Kerry was writing from a ‘new place’, and the songs have a different vibe, incorporating bits of pop, prog and at times blues and jazz grooves.  The result of the album was seven Livgren songs, some of which are still some of his most celebrated solo tunes. 

Livgren called upon several of his friends in the industry to appear on the album . The most surprising was Ronnie James Dio, at the time the vocalist for Black Sabbath.  Talk about two worlds colliding!  The two songs Dio appears on are hands down the best two tracks on the album.  The song "Mask of the Great Deceiver" is very Kansas-esque and Dio's vocals on the song bring in a harder edge.  This is a song that time has forgotten... but now, thanks to Rock Candy Records we are able to rediscover it once again.  The other Dio sung tune is the eerily "To Live for the King."  Elsewhere, several members of Kansas appear on the album, multiple vocalists including the rich voice of David Pack, and drumming from Tull’s Barriemore Barlow. 

Rock Candy Records have done a wonderful job dressing up both the sound and the visual appeal of the release. This Special Deluxe Collector’s Edition is fully remastered, sound shaped from 24 BIT digital technology and includes a 12 page full color booklet, a 3,500 word essay, enhanced artwork, rare photos and a new interview with Kerry Livgren.

The seeds took root, and the changes Kerry made proved to be meaningful to his life quest.  He left behind this wonderful musical snapshot of that time.

This is a must-own for Kansas fans and a welcome addition to any rock lover's catalog. 

Track Listing:
Just One Way
Mask of the Great Deceiver
How Can You Live
Whiskey Seed
To Live for the King
Down to the Core
Ground Zero

By Jeb Wright