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Articles Home » 2009 Articles » Native Window - 2009 Native Window
Native Window - 2009 Native Window

ARTIST: Native Window
ALBUM: Native Window
LABEL: Star City Records
YEAR: 2009


LINEUP: Billy Greer - vocals, bass * David Ragsdale - violin * Phil Ehart - drums * Richard Williams - guitars

TRACK LISTING: 01 Money * 02 Still (We Go On) * 03 Surrender * 04 The Way You Haunt Me * 05 The Light Of Day * 06 Blood In The Water * 07 An Ocean Away * 08 Miss Me * 09 Got To Get Out Of This Town * 10 The Moment



Aah this is more like it. After listening to so much heavy metal lately, it's nice to have a change of environment. Billy Greer and his boys in Native Window provide just that, an escape route to a time and space which was part of my childhood growing up with Kansas and their many records. It's nice to hear the violin prominent in the mix, and David Ragsdale delivers some sweet lines that integrates well with the typical Kansas style, though Greer and his bandmates will tell you that they wanted to sound nothing like Kansas. Sure, Steve Walsh is not involved and there are no keyboards to speak of, but there are significant points of difference. I've always admired Billy Greer's vocal, his was the perfect high tenor counterpoint for Steve Walsh in Streets and Kansas, in much the same way that Tommy Shaw was to Dennis De Young in Styx. His own band Seventh Key is damned amazing in its own right, but Native Window is much more organic in nature, and really, they could go in any number of directions into the future.

The Songs
The album commences with the bright and breezy 'Money', which moves at a decent clip, and is populated by David Ragsdale's violin. A nice clean opener. Similarly, the same could be said for the closer 'The Moment', a happy-go-lucky moment indeed. 'Still (We Go On)' is a classic sort of song from yesteryear. It permeates a mid-west vibe, and the chorus reminds me of material from Kansas's 'Power' era. The best song on the album without doubt is 'The Light Of Day', which is simply the best ballad I've heard thus far in 2009. Simplicity amplified, it breathes beauty and grace with just an acoustic guitar and violin for accompaniment. Wonderful stuff. 'An Ocean Away' you will recognise as a Seventh Key track from 2004's 'The Raging Fire', though this version is much more stripped down, none of those fantastic Mike Slamer guitar runs to captivate our ear-drums this time around. A couple of tracks are very different. 'Blood In The Water' has this weird urban undercurrent happening, with a baritone vocal in the chorus. On the other hand 'Got To Get Out Of This Town' sounds as if it sourced from a bayou get together.

In Summary
'Native Window' is a varied album, and the band have tried to change things quite a bit, away from their stock in trade - Kansas. However, I think the boys have tipped the scales too far in the opposite direction, combining some quality songs with some filler. Admittedly, Steve Walsh and Kerry Livgren are the strongest songwriters in Kansas, but as both have publicly stated that they are not going to be writing any new material, it was left in the remaining members hands to do something about it. Native Window should be considered in it's own rights as a separate project, but they really do need to present a stronger batch of songs to be viable next time around.

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#1 | Jez on July 22 2009 01:49:42
Really liking this one so far since I got it. Very varied as mentioned, but the opening cut' Money' is superb and the quality of the rest of the album is very high. A nice little surprise this one, with regular plays guaranteed.
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