Cover of "Point Of Know Return"
Cover of Point Of Know Return

I can pinpoint the first truly American progressive rock band that I became a fan of, and the moment that I became a fan.  It was the first time I heard the song “Point of Know Return” by Kansas on the radio, and I heard the sound of a violin playing in that tune, and I thought, “I dig that.”

Oh, I’d heard Kansas before with “Carry On Wayward Son” and I liked that song well enough.  But hearing “Point of Know Return” and that Robby Steinhardt violin made for a “gotta have it” moment.  I’ve been stuck on Kansas ever since, seen them in concert several times — though the first time I was ever able to see them in person wasn’t until the mid-1990s, when they were “past their prime” but still putting on great shows.

Their music “speaks” to me in a very unique way, and it always will.

As we celebrate the birth of our nation today, at least one Kansas song leaps immediately to my mind, and I can remember how I was exposed to that as well.  It was a song that played every night as part of the intro to the local news broadcasts on one of the television stations in Idaho Falls.  To me, it was a great song for a news intro — it commanded your attention, it was powerful, it was majestic, it soared.

I didn’t know the name of the song or who did it until after I became a fan of Kansas and got deeper into their catalog, and there it was.

Cover of "Song for America (Exp)"
Cover of Song for America (Exp)

The music used for the local news intro was the opening to “Song For America.”  It just made me love Kansas’ music even more.

Some people may slam Kansas at times for the honest way that it portrays America, in tunes like “Song For America” or “Cheyenne Anthem,” looking at the kind of stewardship we’ve shown over the land or how the white man has treated Native Americans, taking a look at our country with a critical eye.  It’s that honesty that Kansas brings that makes me appreciate them even more.

They are a true American band.  Some might not always appreciate the statements made in their songs, but that’s what’s made Kansas a standout band for so many years, one that we can take lessons from and learn how to grow as human beings.

That should be the American way.


5 thoughts on “My music playlist for today (July 4, 2012 edition)

  1. Excellent post and so appropriate for July 4. I was so fortunate to have seen them 2-3 times in their glory days of the 1970s. Evidently, they move me the way they do you. Keep on rocking, John!!!!!!

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