Ash in the Wind

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Mark Roberts connects Ash Wednesday, Ecclesiastes, and the 1977 Kansas hit "Dust in the Wind" (which Mark wrongly lists as 1978). The song isn't even remotely representative of the group's symphonic and progressive rock sound, with its complex time signatures, textured and layered sound, and classically-influenced stylings mixed with classic American blues. Still, it's a well-done acoustic guitar tune with a nice violin solo, and the lyrics really are similar to some of the themes in Ecclesiastes. They were actually based on Native American poetry, but Kerry Livgren did later become a Christian, and now he does connect them to Ecclesiastes' themes. I find it interesting that John Elefante, the singer who took over for Steve Walsh when he left the group in 1981 and turned out to be a Christian, refuses to sing the third verse when he does the song live now. My guess is that he finds "nothing last forever but the earth and sky" to be blasphemous.


I read Kerry's autobiography, Seeds Of Change, which I enjoyed. Interesting that he is mostly a farmer these days, albeit a farmer that still does a lot of music. I have all of his Christian CDs. I agree, his music is often complex and not for background listening, but active enjoyment.

I think he spends more time on his music than would count as a hobby. He's been doing almost an album a year since he moved back to Kansas from Georgia, which is all the full-time musicians tend to do, though some of these have been reworkings of older albums (albeit with much reworking, remixing, and remastering). The full-timers do tour much more than he does, but he's been increasing his frequency of live performances with Proto-Kaw (and occasionally with Kansas) to the point of agreeing to a national Proto-Kaw tour this year, with at least one major trip per month.

Popular music is so much about expressing a certain mood or concept, not necessarily even trying to produce great music yet it sometimes does and history will be the judge.


I think there are many stories like mine, but here goes...

To me...

The entire purpose for the song "Dust in the Wind" was so that this very young teenage girl could fall in love with her future husband by getting overly impressed with his ability to play the song on a gorgeous Guild D-25 with a cherry finish.. once upon a summer day, 1981.

Sorry to muss up this scholarly blog with such sentimental twaddle....

But really...pop music is really good at helping us all peg our memories down. Just about anywhere you go you find Kansas/Livgren fans (perhaps not so full of knowlege as Jeremy here). So it serves a very high function in society if you want to talk sociology I'd be glad to...but I think I will go back to lurkdom...

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