Lisa LaRue is likely misplaced in time, perhaps 35 years or more. She's a keyboard player from Oklahoma, in the heartland of America, doing neo-classical progressive rock, with definite influences from prog's early 70's roots.
It's likely you don't know her or know little about her. But she has garnered some attention over the years as she has quite the supporting cast on her latest independent release Fast and Blue. These include Mitch Perry (Edgar Winter Group, MSG, et al), Don Schiff (Rocket Scientists), Michael Sadler (Saga), Ryo Okumoto (Spock's Beard, GPS), and Maxi Nil (Visions of Atlantis).
I listened to Fast and Blue with some skepticism. The possibility of a totally keyboard-centric prog album simply turns me away. However, with the exception of one song, Fast and Blue is more a classic prog album than an indulgent platform for LaRue's synth twiddling. That extravagance comes on Prometheus. Like the hero of Greek legend, whose cunning stole fire from Zeus and gave it to man, the song inspires with movements both epic and grand where LaRue shines. Her skill is displayed and that's good, but it's hardly the best track (and it's unnecessarily long). But the rest of Fast and Blue is not like that.
There's only two vocal tracks. Fast and Blue is mostly melodic rock with little prog invention. The closing song, Recurring Dream, blends melodic AOR rock with prog similar to Canada's Saga. It's light, but stirring.
The real genius is in the middle of Fast and Blue. Tryptych (a work of art usually divided in three panels) offers a three part composition which involves piano, violin, and acoustic guitar. I'm hoping that this is not all keyboard or synth manufacture (the liner notes are not specific), and guitarist Steve Adams and others are invloved in the production. It's such a great piece, I would be disappointed about the collaboration.
Lament of the Cherokee/Ruins of Home explores some native american roots in a folk progressive rock context. There's great guitar work from Steve Adams and drums from Merrill Hale (Again the notes are note clear.). The significant piece here is Jam Jehan Nima. In this composition, LaRue is a player in the band, not the star. The arrangement involves every musician for an epic performance. This is pure neo-classical progressive rock and, indeed, 2KX at their most brilliant.
Relatively unknown, but deserving both attention and recognition, Lisa LaRue 2KX Fast and Blue is classic progressive rock re-imagined for a new day with tons of inspiration and inventiveness. Very recommended!
Relatively unknown, but deserving both attention and recognition, Lisa LaRue 2KX Fast and Blue is classic progressive rock re-imagined for a new day with tons of inspiration and inventiveness.
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