Closet Chronicles – Kansas
“Closet Chronicles” by Kansas, an acoustic cover by Mike Massé.
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If you’re a Kansas fan, then you love “Closet Chronicles”, am I right? I’m no exception. The second verse of the song when it gets going, “Once proud and full of passion…”–man, that’s as good as music gets. This song feels like a mini-musical, the way the lyrics are completely linear, meaning they never repeat. The melody repeats, so it begins to feel like familiar ground, even as the story unfolds.
But this song for me is pinnacle Steve Walsh. The range, the colors, the expression…just the sheer beauty of his vocal performance. That is something to be proud of, my friend. And Steve Walsh is listed as the primary songwriter on the song. So to invent and perform something so stunning deserves recognition. And that’s one reason I chose to cover this admittedly deep track by Kansas: it’s just everything done right, and shows a band firing on all cylinders. I’m certain that I will expose some people to this song for the first time. I would encourage you to seek out a Kansas version and enjoy Steve Walsh in all his glory, along with the rest of Kansas. Plus, you’ll get to hear them jam out on some Yessy prog fun for a few minutes (that I wisely omitted).
Speaking of the other members of Kansas, I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Robby and Cindy Steinhardt recently during a family vacation near Tampa, FL. They could not have been nicer. And his band sounded great, too. If you’re ever near Tampa, you should stop in and hear them. Robby reached out to me, after he found my cover of “Dust in the Wind.” He said he loved it and my channel and would enjoy meeting. So we made that happen. Robby is a legend and a huge talent, and I’m glad to have met him.
And to the rest of Kansas, thank you for the music, gentlemen. You are a bright spot in the musical landscape of your time. Thank you for giving us something to enjoy and to think about.
I watched “The Aviator” for the first time, since I’ve been listening to this song a lot lately. It’s a really good movie, turns out. People were right. Heh. But it is interesting to think about Howard Hughes. He had everything he could ever want in terms of material wealth, yet that was not enough. He was still driven to set records and innovate, at great personal risk. He insisted on being his own test pilot at times, and to his great personal peril. And then came the isolation. He used
camp out in the top floor of hotels in various cities around the U.S. and the world. And when the hotel management eventually insisted that he leave, he would just buy the hotel. His wikipedia page is worth reading–you can skip a lot of the business details. Heh.
About this video: I initially recorded the piano to this song, and then the lead and backup vocals, and then the guitars, and then re-recorded the piano. I did not film the recording process, so this video is my best attempt at a recreation, but by upping the difficulty and performing the vocals and instruments at the same time.
I guess you could technically call this a lip sync, but I worked hard at being able to perform the piano part and sing the song at the same time, and that’s what I did. And to up the difficulty level further, I did it in sync with an existing recording that has a fluctuating tempo. Just sayin’….
So what you see is one shot on the piano/vocal performance, and three shots on the guitar. The beginning and the end use the same guitar in standard tuning. The middle section is detuned a half-step flat, so I switch guitars to play that part. And the “me” in the Robby shirt sings the Robby part: “Allow me to forget the life….” I’m not certain, but to my ears, it sounds like the rest of the backing vocals (the lower harmonies) were originally Steve Walsh. I think I read somewhere that Steve also sang backup on that song, but I think so did Robby. I’ll just have to ask Robby (name drop!) if he remembers. The rhythm pattern you hear at the end is borrowed from the Kansas live version ending, since the studio version fades out.
Thank you to Ovation for the guitars. I am an Ovation-sponsored artist.
I recorded the guitars and vocals with a Townsend Labs Sphere L22 into my UA Apollo.
I use Elixir Phosphor Bronze Nanoweb Light HD strings.
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