Who'd have thought that it would take a couple of Jersey guys to make a great Kansas album?

"Absence of Presence" features Immaculata High School, Somerville graduate Tom Brislin on the keyboard along with Jersey native Zak Rizvi on second guitar. The album was released on July 24 and it is currently #4 on the Billboard Current Rock Albums Chart and getting rave reviews. Overall Kansas has been around for nearly 50 years and has sold over 30 million albums!

Brislin, who's also performed with YES, Meatloaf and Debbie Harry came on my show to tell me what it's like being part of such an iconic band.

"It's pretty cool," Brislin said when he came on the show. "I mean I grew up with this music...it's been great."

Brislin is no stranger to filling big shoes. As part of YES he sat where Rick Wakeman once played, what was it like playing with YES?

"We were doing all the classic stuff and it was like there wasn't even time to get nervous, I just had homework to do. A lot of notes to play."

Brislin has either written or collaborated on 6 of the 9 songs on the album and talks about keeping Kansas current:

"I'd like to think it's the best of both worlds, or at least that's what we go for," Brislin said about the new Kansas album. "I feel that, someone like myself being a person who grew up hearing and loving Kansas music, I want to pay respect and homage to the classics. But you never want to retread and try to copy it. You wanna bring it to someplace new but still have that familiar vibe to it."

Kansas has a very rich history with eight gold albums, three sextuple-Platinum albums (Leftoverture, Point of Know Return, Best of KANSAS), one platinum live album (Two for the Show), one quadruple-Platinum single ‘Carry On Wayward Son,’ and another triple-Platinum single ‘Dust in the Wind.’

"The Absence of Presence" is available in stores now.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Steve Trevelise. Any opinions expressed are Steve's own. Steve Trevelise is on New Jersey 101.5 Monday-Thursday from 7pm-11pm. Follow him on Twitter @realstevetrev.

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