Although Steinhardt was always highly regarded for his role in Kansas, I actually feel he was hugely pivotal to their overall success and if it was not for him and songwriter Kerry Livgren, they would never have achieved the success they had. Not only was he an incredible violinist, but his vocals pitched against Steve Walsh were what made Steve really stand out. Listen to any of the albums from the Seventies, especially the live one, and hear just how important he is to everything which is going on. I always found it strange that he did not record more material with other bands or solo when he was not in Kansas, and it is strange to think that he had been recording his first ever solo album when he sadly passed away from pancreatitis.
This was always intended to be a lavish production, so while his playing and vocals are often front and centre, we also have Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull, Steve Morse of Deep Purple/Dixie Dregs, Billy Cobham of Mahavishnu Orchestra, Bobby Kimball of Toto, Chuck Leavell of The Rolling Stones, Liberty Devitto (Drummer on Billy Joel’s hits), Jim Gentry, Pat Travers, Billy Ashbaugh (Moody Blues/Pat Benatar), Lisa Fischer (longtime vocalist for The Rolling Stones), 1000 Hands members Michael Franklin, Tommy Calton, Tim Franklin, Jocelyn Hsu, Rayford Griffin and Benoit Lajeunesse and many others including Orchestra and Choir. The first time I played this I was listening to the song “Prelude”, thinking how it included themes from “Dust In The Wind”, and was somewhat surprised to find the next song was indeed that classic (which at one point was thought to be the most learned tune by new guitarists), which here is way more bombastic and (here comes the sacrilege) better than the original.
This album is a load of fun, with great performances from all involved, and only goes to show what we have missed out on with Robbie not releasing more during his lifetime. Apparently, he was planning to tour the album, so who knows what else could have happened, but all I can say is that if anyone enjoys the music of Kansas (and given they have sold millions, there are a few) then this is something which feels somewhat familiar with nods to prog as well as the more melodic rock stylings of the band (check out the delicious “Tuck Tuck”). This is an album I have thoroughly enjoyed playing, and one which I am sure many others will say the same.