Kerry Livgren – Q.A.R.

Posted: 230822

Review Erik Neuteboom

 

After Robby Steinhardt his very tasteful and varied solo album Not In Kansas Anymore from 2021 here’s another ex-Kansas member, Kerry Livgren with his new solo album entitled Q.A.R. (2022). He plays keyboards, electric - and acoustic guitars, bass, drums and percussion, and has invited a wide range of guest musicians, including Deep Purple guitarplayer Steve Morse, former Kansas singer John Elefante and ex-Kansas member Robby Steinhard on violin (passed away in mid-2021).

 

To me this new Kerry Livgren solo album sounds strong, pleasant and varied, performed by experienced musicians. The short opener The Intelligence Theory delivers a folky intro, then heavy Prog rules featuring sumptuous Hammond organ and biting electric guitar, an exciting and promising start. The mid-long second track One Out Of One contains lots of changing atmospheres, embellished with flute, powerful vocals by John Elefante (along vocal harmonies), swirling Hammond extravaganza, a heavy guitar solo, and in the end a bombastic grand finale with a propulsive rhythm-section and fiery guitar leads, wow! Next the composition Everyone’s Home, what a tension between the mellow and bombastic parts, the colouring of the music is beautiful with classical orchestrations, moving electric guitar and crystal clear female vocals, the final part is very compelling, one of the highlights on this album.

 

Next a serie of catchy melodic rock songs (like AOR) with strong vocals and powerful guitar: Above This Night (instrumental break with guitar), Song Du' Jour (in the final part wonderful dreamy violin work by Robby Steinhardt) and the short Fire in the Boiler (fiery guitar runs).

 

Finally three varied, melodic and harmonic songs: The Days We Live (mellow atmosphere, dreamy vocals and moving guitar solo), Block And Tackle Blues (tasteful bluesrock, strong vocals, tight beat, finally a harder-edged guitar solo) and the wonderful ballad When You Walk: emotional vocals, tender and piano, orchestral strings, in the second part a sensitive electric guitar solo, fueled by a strong rhythm-section, goose bumps!