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  Too Much Time on Our Hands: a Styx Tribute Album
Artist: Various artists
Label: Salt Lady Records
Length: 13/55:24

Salt Lady maven, producer, singer, songwriter, and all around good guy Jonathan Rundman has corralled his labelmates for an album that is all over the waterfront it terms of styles.  While one could question the need for a Styx tribute album, (who is next? REO Speedwagon? Night Ranger?) it is undeniable that those of between 30 and 50 will know every one of these songs, and will have memories stirred by the simple mention of their titles.

“Renegade” is done by Echelon, and gives it a quirky, acoustic-based feel. Tom Freund gives a Randy Newman (or perhaps Beck) spin to “Blue Collar Man”. “Boat on the River” (Jeff Krebs) is re-configured into a bluegrass, Americana number, as is “Too Much Time on My Hands”, performed by Dag Juhlin is almost a Miranda Stone-like folk punk mixture.

Like most tributes, some of this album works really well.  Beki Hemingway’s “Don’t Let It End” is a standout, remaining mostly faithful to the original. Lost and Found’s rendition of “Grand Illusion” is performed almost in a Simon and Garfunkel style, and sounds amazing.  Rundman’s reworking of “Come Sail Away” is a fun, banjo-driven tune.

On the flip side, the clunkers include “Lady,” done in a lounge/torch song styling by Alva Star.  “Babe” (Jim Roll and the Famous Authors) is difficult to gauge, with its ever-changing tempo.  Heart Beats Red’s version of “The Grand Finale” made me cringe.

Rundman’s approach was to have fun with this, and it shines through the project.  It would be interesting to see this become an annual even with Salt Lady, with perhaps a different artist every year.

Brian A. Smith
8 October 2003


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