Steve Walsh, the primary voice of Kansas, ventures out on his own for a diverse collection called Glossolalia — taken from the Greek word that simply means speaking with tongues. This is Walsh’s first solo album in 20 years, and by all accounts it may prove to be his most ambitious outing. Incorporating a palette of styles and disciplines, Walsh steps into some intense territory — drawing from a number of sources including personal rehabilitation, film and Indian rituals. In the process, he rises to the occasion of proving he still has the pipes and musicianship to compete on a contemporary plateau. When so many of his peers are playing it close to home, it’s refreshing to see someone like Walsh take some risks.
The title track explodes with a slamming guitar, more akin to Metallica than Kansas. For “Serious Wreckage,” Walsh simmers down a bit, but maintains the level of passion and drive. The textures set by keyboardist Trent Gardner, drummer Virgil Donati, guitarist Mike Slamer and current Kansas bandmate/bassist Billy Greer make for some enticing manifestations. This is especially apparent on pieces like “Kansas,” where the tone assumes an almost cinematic feel. It’s obvious that some of the sway and grandeur that Walsh put forth on the Bob Ezrin-produced and under-rated Kansas album, In The Spirit Of Things, has managed to wiggle its way onto this disc.
From the simple melancholy of "Nothing" through the cascading stances of “Haunted Man” to the daunting “Smackin’ The Clowns,” Walsh pounds down each tune as if it’s his last. With something like “That’s What Love’s About,” you can practically feel the frustration that Walsh must have had during the making of the last Kansas album, Somewhere To Elsewhere, where his role was somewhat negligible compared to Kerry Livgren. Maybe it can be said that wherever Kansas left off, Walsh decided to go one better. It is by no strange coincidence that the Glossolalia CD is one of the few newer releases by a veteran artist that actually shows considerable growth and modern susceptibility. Thanks to small custom labels like Magna Carta, artists of Walsh’s caliber can still venture out and explore what many others have abandoned.
~ Shawn Perry