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Non-Prog CD Reviews



Review by Gary Hill

Although the production on this disc is a bit flat at times, it is quite a listenable and entertaining release. The music here has prog leanings, but is more in a classic rock format. It covers similar ground as Boston and Styx, while not relying heavily on any one band.

The musicians on the album are Michael Layer, Kevin Shaw and Jim Wescott. They are joined on this recording by several guest musicians. Ordering info can be obtained at the website at

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: The Early Years Volume 4 at

Track by Track Review
Is There A Chance
A Yesish rhythm leads into a nicely progish keyboard section. This song is more classic rock than prog, but does have some solidly progressive moments, particularly in the keyboard textures. The instrumental break is a bit Hawkwind influenced.
Strange Fascination
Set in a rock ballad format, again prog leanings pull this cut above the limitations of that genre. The number features a tasty guitar solo. "A journey confined, in the mind, transcending through, worlds we can fly."
Based on a very pretty picked guitar mode, this piece really is a prog ballad. "Six degrees separate, madman and kings, in the end we all need one another, this is what I believe." This is a very nice cut, one of the standouts on the disc. It is very well written, arranged and performed.
Once Upon A Time
Another song with a classic rock orientation, Once Upon A Time really feels very much like Head East. The vocal arrangement on the cut is quite good, and this is another strong one.
God I
Jazzy textures begin this number. Once the intro gives way to the song proper, it becomes a rock ballad, again in a classic rock sort of mode. The chorus on this tune is definitely solid.
All in The Heart
The intro guitar here is Tullish, but the main song is dominated by a `70`s funk guitar sound.
California Dream
A late `60`s/early `70`s keyboard sound is present on this balladic piece.
All Alone
This is a very beautiful and sad composition about dealing with the age old question "why`d you leave me all alone?"
If Not For the Love
If Not For the Love has a very upbeat, poppish feel to it.
Fate of the Winter
Metallic textures start this piece. Although leanings of both Styx and Yes make appearances here, the Styx elements seem to dominate.
Forever and Ever
Another ballad based cut, this one has some wonderfully intriguing textures. "I watch as my youth begins to fade, as I clear my mind, I realize, There`s a lesson to learn with each new day." This is another standout number.
The Last Dance
A strong rocker, this song is not progish (except for a few moments of layering), but it is quite entertaining.
Hidden Track
This tune, tacked onto the end of The Last Dance, is a fun (and slightly progish) piece.
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