Ever since the days he was singing and playing violin in the band Kansas, Robby Steinhardt always wanted to make a solo album. That album, “Not in Kansas Anymore” is now available, released posthumously, three months after his death on July 17, 2021. Steinhardt, 71, had just completed the recording when he was hospitalized with complications of pancreatitis of which he never recovered.
In an interview with Bill Shafer of Growing Bolder he explained his desire to make new music, “It’s actually a way to honor my time with Kansas,” said Steinhardt. “Those were the most defining and some of the best years of my life. It’s why we chose the title, ‘Not in Kansas Anymore.’ It’s about taking all I’ve learned and moving forward.”
He had hoped it would be the start of a whole new beginning, instead it is an intriguing glimpse of what might have been.
“I’m creating an album that I hope all Kansas fans will love,” said Steinhardt. “It is a way for me to show how grateful I am for the life I’ve lived and the support I’ve gotten all these years.”
“Not in Kansas Anymore” was produced by Michael Franklin of Solar Studio in Orlando, who had just completed the highly acclaimed, “1,000 Hands,” by former Yes vocalist and rock Hall of Fame member Jon Anderson.
Franklin used a similar approach with Steinhardt’s sessions, calling on iconic musicians such as Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson, Steve Morse of Deep Purple/Dixie Dregs, Billy Cobham of Mahavishnu Orchestra, Toto’s Bobby Kimball, Chuck Leavell of The Rolling Stones, Liberty Devitto, formerly with Billy Joel, Pat Travers who all appear on the album.
Steinhardt, a founding member of Kansas was known in the 1970s for hits like “Carry on Wayward Son” and “Dust in the Wind.” It was Steinhardt’s violin that helped give the band its unique sound and identity. He left the band in 1982 and moved to Clearwater, FL. He rejoined Kansas in the late nineties and left again in 2006.
“I had some health issues which is really why I left the group,” he explained. “It gave me the chance to do some thinking and writing, start a new life with my wonderful wife Cindy, and find my passion again.”
In 2013 Steinhardt suffered a heart attack that kept him hospitalized for 53 days. He said it was the warning shot he needed to appreciate each day of life. “It took me sixty-three years to realize that you just can’t live like you did when you were eighteen,” said Steinhardt. “Thanks to my wife I started taking better care of myself, and that included understanding what it means to truly live with gratitude. I have so much to be grateful for.”
Steinhardt added, “I am the happiest I have been in memory, I have love, great friends and a great album on the way. What could be better?”