Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Not my favorite rock band:

Styx. But I have to admit, I enjoyed the show that Dennis Deyoung (former lead singer) gave for PBS. He's such a geeky-middle-aged, white haired "Dad" looking kind of guy. But he's a fine musician and his voice sounded as good as it did when he was in his prime. Too many rockers -- because they tend to have little or no formal vocal training and because of years of touring and straining their voices -- don't sound the same as they get into their 40s and beyond. Some can get quite hoarse.

Groups like Boston, Toto, Journey, Styx: Bands that the critics panned (I think the style is referred to as "Album Oriented Rock" or maybe "Arena Rock") but they were composed of fine musicians -- literally some of the finest -- who wrote good songs (although not all of their stuff has been good -- of course I'd admit to that), and performed with a lot of passion (something that I think the singers on American Idol lack).

I don't include "Kansas" in that group, even though many people lump them into that genre. No, they are properly categorized as progressive rock with bands like Rush, Yes, Emerson, Lake and Palmer, and Genesis. Plus Steve Walsh in his prime was one of the greatest rock singers, bar none. From unique tone, to vocal chops, to passion and feel, he had it all. He's lost some of it, but still sounds pretty good. (And he's not a bad keyboardist either.)

Steve Hackett, former Genesis guitarist, once said that Steve Walsh possessed the "perfect, white rock voice."

Anyway, the highlight of the Deyoung concert was "Come Sail Away."

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